by Nicole Reeves, Solutions Consultant

An Independent agent’s relationship with clients is based on trust, transparency, and respect, with the goal of evolving strategically in areas that can benefit the IT infrastructure of their business. We build a mutual understanding of the business, listen to client’s specific needs, and create a roadmap of how those two fit together.

But what’s the difference?

Direct reps are solely focused on marketing and selling their products, which may or may not be a good fit for the client’s business. They have a quota to meet, and a defined product list to sell. They are compensated on how much they are selling and how quickly they can get contracts signed. And in many cases, before the proverbial ink is dry, the client is handed off to someone else for support.

Independent agents are your advocates who are focused on long-term relationships with all of our customers. We make recommendations based on tailored needs, with access to multiple providers to ensure the eventual solution meets very specific and detailed requirements. Through our 100+ vendor partnerships, we assure the right solution will be in place, with the right vendor, along with life-cycle management to allow clients to work with the same agent on an ongoing basis.

Here are three key benefits to working with independent agents:

1. Improved Economics

Every customer has a defined budget; therefore, we focus on successful price negotiations across all of our vendors to support a successful outcome. Being educated in each facet of the IT world on a daily basis, we know what pricing is truly market competitive.  We have experts in a broad range of technology disciplines, along with multiple providers in each area.  That allows us to provide options, which results in positive financial and contractual leverage in the selection process.

2. Productivity

One complaint frequently heard is how much time our clients spend managing their vendor’s direct reps, being that they’re constantly changing, or post-sale support falls short of what was promised. The upside to using an independent agent is their longevity and single-point-of-contact in all pillars of our engagement. We have access to all internal resources with every vendor relationship, and have escalation paths when commitments are not being met. Our ongoing management and support allows our clients to focus on what’s core to their business.

3. Life-Cycle Management

Needs are constantly evolving, and no one vendor can solve for every client need, or address all the various technology areas in their respective enterprises. We get educated on our clients’ business in a very deep and broad sense.  An independent agent is focused on keeping clients educated on new products and services, will conduct the proper diligence to determine the right fit, and keep the relationship consistent.  This ensures an efficient and productive long-term partnership, vs. a short-term “buying relationship”.

In summary, utilizing the expertise of an independent agent leaves clients with confidence that their needs are accounted for, and they have the proper level of advocacy through the entire process of discovery, selection, implementation, and ongoing support.