As an independent agent, you are on the front lines of the battle for market share. Your ability to effectively recruit new merchants makes you extremely valuable to the independent sales organization you work with. As such, you should never just settle on an ISO program, because not all ISOs are created equal. Maximizing your residuals means choosing the right partner, rather than just any partner. 

Commissions might seem like the most obvious driving factor when looking for a new ISO, but while splits are definitely important, they aren’t everything. In this article, we will look into some of the other factors that should guide your decision making when signing on to a new ISO program, namely the types of services your new partnership will enable you to offer and the technological backing the ISO extends to you as an investment in your success.  


Service Offerings

Payment processing is an industry with a relative abundance of choice for merchants. As an agent, that means your ability to stand out, to set your clients up with the right solutions, and to maximize your revenues depend largely on the pool of service offerings you have access to. When selecting an ISO program, consider the following four factors and look for an ISO that offers as many of them as possible. 


Multiple Processing Partners

The wider the range of processing services you have available to you, the more likely it is you’ll be able to put together the ideal payment solution for any given merchant and, in turn, the faster and more frictionless the sales process will be. This means it’s in your best interest to work with an ISO that partners with as many major payment processors as possible. More processing partners also means that the chances of placing a merchant are higher should they be rejected by your first choice for one reason or another – a big factor in maximizing residuals. 


Attractive Rates

There is a good chance your leads are shopping around, which means rates matter. While higher rates theoretically mean juicier commissions,  you may lose merchants to more competitively priced rivals if your ISO’s markup is too high or their processing partners too expensive, wiping out any potential benefit to your commissions. Look for ISOs that offer the most competitive rates possible, ideally through processors that work on an interchange-plus pricing model. Because price is the biggest deciding factor for many merchants, the ability to offer the lowest quote helps ensure healthy growth in your roster and, in turn, your residuals.


Next-Day Funding

ISOs that can offer merchants next-day funding are at a big advantage because most merchants hate the two or three-day standard holds imposed on them by most payment processors. The ability to offer a merchant access to their funds in as little as 12 hours is a juicy carrot that can make closing a deal much easier. 


Cross-Sales Opportunities

The vast majority of your commissions will be generated on transaction fees, but many ISOs offer cross-sales opportunities that can help pad those numbers. Payment hardware is probably the most obvious, so choose an ISO with a wide range of terminal and POS options. Another great way to boost commissions is through value-added gateway sales. Merchants operating online need a payment gateway to do business, and some forward-thinking ISOs partner with gateway providers to offer those services in-house. Offering in-house payment gateway services represents added convenience for the merchant and a new revenue source for you. 


Available Technology

The technology your ISO partner uses can have a huge impact on both your relationship with them and the ease with which you’re able to do your job. ISOs that are serious about recruiting top agent talent and growing their (and in turn, your) residuals portfolios understand that the right technology is an investment that pays huge dividends. The best ISOs understand that providing agents with access to that technology benefits everyone involved in the process, right down to the merchant. 

A perfect example of a technology that can be a huge boon to you as an agent is customer resource management software. CRM platforms are designed to make lead generation and management, sales, and relationship building as effective and efficient as possible through automation and advanced data handling. ISOs utilizing CRM systems have a huge advantage in prospecting and sales process delivery over competitors that do not. When access to that tech is extended to you, it makes your job easier by improving the quality of your leads and enabling you to deliver a smoother, more custom-tailored, more personal sales process.

Good CRM systems also offer advanced reporting, making it easier for you to track the health and performance of your merchants. In some cases, that built-in reporting can also get you paid faster. For instance, IRIS CRM, the payments industry’s leading CRM platform, automatically calculates residuals for the ISO down to the penny and provides a built-in ACH system enabling immediate payouts. When residuals numbers come in each month, you can potentially get paid out in a matter of hours rather than days or even weeks. 

IRIS CRM also includes TurboApp, a proprietary merchant boarding automation tool. TurboApp takes the boarding process from 30 minutes or more down to five or less by automating almost all of the manual data entry traditionally involved. The efficiency boost from TurboApp means you can spend more time generating new business and less time filling in forms. TurboApp also makes it far less likely that human data entry error will delay or sink an application, keeping the wheels turning and residuals growing.


All these benefits make it important to ask potential ISO partners what kind of technology and support they offer to their individual agents. ISOs offering valuable software like IRIS CRM are an easy choice, because it shows that they’re as invested in your success as they are their own.

To find out more about everything customer resource management can do for agents and ISOs alike, book a free guided demonstration of IRIS CRM today!