ISO Startup Guide Part 2: Exponential Growth with an ISO CRM

ISO Startup Guide Part 2: Exponential Growth with an ISO CRM

In part one, we discussed the basics of getting your ISO off the ground, and the significant amount of time, work, and money that goes into becoming a registered ISO. In part two, we’ll look at what happens once you’re registered and it’s time to start recruiting. As difficult as the registration was, the real work is in breaking through in an industry that is lucrative but crowded and extremely competitive. Undertaking that lofty task is made much easier with a good ISO CRM at your disposal, and the following is a breakdown of three ways that important software can help you establish an immediate competitive advantage and get the residuals flowing as quickly as possible. 


Filling the Sales Funnel

Finding your first merchants is of prime importance, as your new ISO needs to get a stream of cash flow established as quickly as possible. Luckily, an ISO CRM like IRIS CRM is the ideal tool to help you get your portfolio off the ground, thanks to the built-in lead collection and management features. From automating collection to helping you qualify and track your initial leads, your CRM is an invaluable force multiplier, especially early on when your agent roster isn’t established. 

Setting Up Automatic Lead Collecting

In the earliest days of your business, you’ll probably find yourself depending on purchased lists of leads to jumpstart your prospecting. Unfortunately, that’s an expensive way to operate, and the sooner you can begin generating leads organically, the better. Using your ISO CRM, you can turn your marketing materials into passive lead generators by linking them directly back into the CRM. 

When a prospect clicks one of your custom links or fills out a form, an account will be automatically created for them in the CRM. You can even link print materials using QR codes that take the prospect to a signup form when scanned with a smartphone. Connecting your marketing materials directly to the CRM will ensure that you have a healthy stream of leads entering the top of your sales funnel without having to depend on expensive paid lists any longer than necessary. 

Tracking and Categorizing Leads

With organic leads coming in, your ability to ink new deals will depend heavily on how well you can qualify, manage, and nurture those leads throughout the sales process. Your ISO CRM is designed specifically to help you do that through advanced automation.

Each time you interact with a prospect, whether by email, SMS, or even over the phone, the ISO CRM will automatically track the vital details of the interaction in the lead’s CRM profile. As a result, each time you speak with a potential merchant, you’ll be able to reference the details of all of your prior conversations to ensure you’re well prepared and can deliver more personalized service – a key differentiator when you’re new on the scene. 

The ISO CRM can also automatically move leads from category to category as they interact with your communications, set meetings, and more. That automatic categorization enables you to keep better track of each lead so you can ensure none slip through the cracks, which could be an enormously costly mistake when each merchant is so important to your early revenues. 


Attracting Top Independent Agents

Finding merchants on your own is fine in the very beginning, but your ISO won’t be able to truly grow until you build a team of independent agents who can go out and find merchants on your behalf. The problem is, when you’re new to the game, it can be extremely hard to recruit experienced, skilled salespeople – the exact type of agent you need to build your portfolio as quickly as possible. Luckily, a good ISO CRM like IRIS CRM can give you a leg up on the competition.

ISO CRM Technology Advantage

Your independent agents are themselves ISOs – just unregistered ones. They earn their own residuals, known as a split, which are paid out from your ISO’s residual on each transaction, and just like your ISO, their goal is to build as large a residuals portfolio as possible. Offering a valuable sales tool like IRIS CRM helps your agents manage their sales process and recruit new merchants faster and with less effort, and that’s worth something to them. If an agent has the choice between working for an ISO that offers them access to a top ISO CRM or an ISO that utilizes only more traditional tools, there’s a good chance they’ll opt for the technology advantage, and that can be a difference-maker for new ISOs like yours. 

Faster, More Accurate Residuals Payouts

Another big differentiator that can draw top agents away from the competition is faster residuals payouts. When residuals are published each month, it isn’t uncommon for ISOs to take a week or more to pay out agent splits, due to the need to manually combine reports and run calculations. Some ISO CRMs offer residuals management tools that significantly reduce the time it takes to calculate and payout splits. For instance, IRIS CRM automatically calculates agent splits as soon as residuals reports hit the system. Those splits – accurate to the penny – can then be paid-out right through the CRM using the built-in ACH payments system, which integrates with the Paya network. The ability to pay out agents faster – potentially as quickly as the day residuals drop – is a huge recruiting advantage that your ISO can only unlock with an ISO CRM.   


Keeping an Eye on Merchant Performance

Signing your first merchants and building a team of great agents are two key steps to sparking exponential portfolio growth, but once merchants are signed and onboarded, you still only make money when those merchants sell. When you work with experienced merchants, sales won’t be an issue. But, in the early days, when your ISO is new, you may find that your portfolio is more heavily weighted towards newer, less-experienced merchants, and those merchants might need more help than their more seasoned peers. One way you can maximize revenues is by keeping a close eye on which of your merchants are struggling, which are doing fine, and which are doing great. Doing so enables you to focus on keeping your top merchants happy while looking for ways to help struggling merchants do better. Equally importantly, it’ll give you a bead on which merchants are actually costing you more time, energy, and money than they’re worth so that you can cut the fat – a big part of keeping your operations lean during rapid growth. 

ISO CRM Reporting Tools

ISO CRMs offer advanced reporting tools that make it fast and easy to keep track of merchant performance. By combining the reporting from multiple processors into a single reporting dashboard, your ISO can easily track your entire portfolio in one place. And because ISO CRMs make it easy to custom sort data, you can always find the exact information you need, whether it be on a merchant-specific, processor, or portfolio-wide level, without having to sift through a sea of information you don’t want. WIth IRIS CRM’s reporting tools, you can see your top ten merchants at a glance right when you log in, and the “my merchants” tab allows you to generate in-depth reports on every merchant in your portfolio. You can also use the merchant tracker to quickly see which of your merchants have stopped processing transactions and for how long, enabling you to reach out and find out why. 



As a newly registered ISO, the biggest challenge you’ll face is breaking through in a highly competitive industry and getting your portfolio off the ground. The right ISO CRM will enable you to both land your first merchants earlier and supercharge your growth by enabling you to perform three key tasks better: lead management, agent recruiting, and merchant monitoring. 

To find out more about how IRIS CRM and its full suite of sales, productivity, and reporting tools can help your ISO achieve exponential growth, schedule your free guided demonstration of the platform today.

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