Not all middlemen are dirt
I just recently found this site and find this topic very interesting on several fronts. One, being a "broker" (though I dislike the title, we do broker deals) we provide a very valuable service to both clients as well as call centers. While I am sure there are unscrupulous brokers out there, lumping them all together is like people who lump all teleservice professionals together because the bad ones they have encountered. Let me explain our process and then address some issues that have been brought up.
We help our clients by profiling their campaigns in extreme detail. With this detail, we can match up a teleservice company from our database that best fills their requirements. We do this all at no cost to the client. Depending on the experience level of the client, this stage can take anywhere from a couple of hours to several days writing RFP/RFQ, justification documents, and other needs such as list acquisition, script writing, and other services they need. We explain tests, SPH, anything they do not understand. Once we have completed this profile, we then match up their requirements to our teleservice partners that best fit our client's needs. This is where we provide a service to the teleservice companies. We have an in-depth profile of our partners that is every bit as detailed as the one for our clients. With their input, we find out what the strengths of that teleservice company are, what types of campaigns they have been succesful with and what type of business they are most comfortable with. Yes, we charge a fee that starts at 10% of the revenue generated by that customer, but is on a sliding scale based upon total revenue for that customer. We sign NDA's and Referral Agreements that spell out all the terms and conditions. At that point, we contact the client and let them know we have found 3 or 4 centers (hopefully) that we feel match their needs and we ask our client for permission to provide their contact info to the TM company. We then follow up with the client and the TM companies to determine where they are in regards to placing the deal. Once placed, if our client so desires, we will monitor, interpet reports, anythin they want to make them feel comfortable with their campaign. At the conclusion of the campaign, we provide a report based upon feedback from the TM company as well as our client and campaign results. When the client pays the TM company, we get paid.
Now, to address some questions. Why do people approach brokers as opposed to the teleservice companies themselves? The majority of people we serve have no idea where to begin when they want to implement a teleservice campaign. Do a search on Google under "Telemarketing". You will get over 480,000 hits. If you are a business owner or marketing professional that has never dealt with teleservices, where do you begin? Telemarketing has a less than stellar reputation and because of that, non-Teleservice companies are wary and don't know where to turn. We provide them a service at no-cost to them.
Regarding revenue sharing. This ties directly into how we handle our clients. We do all the pre-sales qualification for our teleservice partners. Based upon their (TM companies) profile, we are able to qualify the clients and take that major step out of the sales cycle. Our goal is the same as the call center: run a successful campaign that will create a desire with the client to return and renew their campaign. As the revenues grow, our commission percentage drops based upon the sliding scale. So, in actuallity, the more the call center makes from a customer, the lower our commissions become. We act as additional feet on the streets for our teleservice partners.
Now, as for call centers not paying us. The 1:3 ratio is, IMHO, a bit high becuase the fact of the matter is this: If a call center refuses to pay us, the chances of us placing another deal with them is nil. We have legal recourse to get receive our payment, yet the best way to "repay" these centers is to not give them any more opportunities that come our way (BTW, we receive anywhere from 10-15 client requests a week or which, after our initial consultation, we continue the process with 3-4).
A final note, we do not sell dialers, software, training, etc. We strictly place qualified campaigns with what we feel are the best call centers for the opportunity.
I realize this reply is a bit long winded, but I truly feel that the service we provide is of immense value to both our client and our teleservice partners. I can appreciate how call center professionals who have been burned would tend to thing that brokers are the bane of the industry. We aren't and I appreciate this opportunity to speak my side of the debate and I look forward to reading more, learning more about the professionals here.