We're looking to build our brand recognition (for colocation/hosting business)... something we've done very ineffectively to this point in time, and we're looking at expanding our agent/reseller program. HOWEVER, some of the ones we are using are horrible and I'm not sure whether we should expand this capacity or even keep the ones we have. Any horror stories or good suggestions on what we should be doing to be more effective.
I guess the real question I am wondering is whether the high commission rates many agents want are actually effective in getting business in the door. I see a middle man process and am not sure it is worth us having to raise prices to offset the agent commission when all that happens is the agent say "HERE'S EVERYONE OUT THERE, NOW I WANT MY CUT". I know there is a premium to having someone find a client and lead them in the door, but how much should that be? Where is the cut off where it just doesn't make sense, because they won't come to you because you have a high price only because of this reason, and you might... just might, get the same business not working through this channel. As you can see I'm looking for the right balance to the situation.
I think it really depends on your own business' capabilities in marketing and sales. Some companies use agents/resellers to bring in most of their sales. That means they dont have the cost of hiring and managing a sales dept.
It sounds like your agents/affiliates aren't core to your business -- but its going to be different for everyone.
Can the outside sales agents hit verticals and niches that you can't on your own? You said you may get the same business without using a sales agent -- so what are they saving you? How much, if any, of your cost basis is for sales people and sales processes?
Just some things to think about. Everyone's situation is different.