As an independent sales agent, you may have seen a number of options available for ISO partnerships. However, the details can be fuzzy when it comes to what a partnership actually offers. If you are curious about getting involed with a partnership and wondering how it will help you, this guide will break down some of the pros and cons of joining a partnership.
What are Independent Sales Organizations and Partnerships?
In this case, the ISO serves as the face of the payment processor, interfacing directly with the customer, while the partnership is more of a back-end support structure.
As the name suggests, an ISO partnership is an agreement between an ISO and a partner organization to provide mutually beneficial services. Typically ISOs choose to partner with member banks or larger umbrella companies that offer things like 24/7 technical support and customer service.
Why Join an ISO Partnership?
For small ISOs, joining a partnership opens up a new range of services and products and allows the ISO to operate as a larger business. In addition, the partnership allows the smaller ISO to take advantage of products and services that they could not otherwise offer on their own due to cost or logistics. In exchange, the partner company receives a cut of the sales and may send leads out to their ISOs to help drive revenue and profits.
What is Included in a Partnership?
Each partnership is unique depending on the organizations involved in the formation. However, there are some common threads that you should expect to see in any partnership agreement. For instance, most partnership programs include marketing materials for the ISO to use to promote themselves and their partner's products. In addition, ISOs are usually able to choose their preferred compensation model and front-end technologies from a list of supported options provided by the partner. This system ensures continuity and dependability for the customer from start to finish.
Another important part of the partnership is gaining access to the partner company's customer service team. For the sake of your clients, being able to offer 24/7 phone and web-based support is a must-have. Their teams are able to solve problems that you cannot get to on the front end, and provide more in-depth support for specific products. This may be the single greatest advantage you gain from your partnership because it affects your customers directly.
Finally, joining a partnership also involves better backend technology and reports. If you have struggled to track your sales and performance numbers, your partner can help you implement a more thorough reporting system and set up basic parameters to get you started. These reports are an invaluable tool to help you cut down on inefficiencies and highlight your strengths.
How to Choose a Partner
The real question ISOs need to answer is who they want to partner with. There are a number of national partner organizations available with differing partner programs. Typically, ISOs choose to partner with companies that are familiar with their local area, and those that are invested in their success. In general, you should keep an eye out for any sign that your partner may be giving you the short end of the deal if you are a smaller organization. Some partner programs are really designed for well-established ISOs only and do not do much to help upstarts. You need to find a partner that has a culture of helping ISOs succeed, no matter how big or small.
You can easily compare many different partner programs online. Make sure to ask specific questions about what marketing materials are provided, what kinds of benefits they offer to ISOs like yours, and whether or not they have industry and location specific products that will serve your customers at the highest level. Independent sales organizations and partnerships are playing an increasingly important role in the continued growth of the payment processing industry today.