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The power of numbers

An abundance of money and string of opportunities are key components to making a company and its partners successful. Sage Payment Solutions takes that to heart.

SPS is a division of Sage Software, a company that has access to large amounts of capital, and comprises a network of software enterprises servicing the business processes of merchants who need credit card processing solutions.

ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) who work with SPS can have access to funding, as well as leads to develop more business.

These two factors help the company fulfill its mission to exceed customer expectations by simplifying payment solutions, building strong relationships and delivering value.

A solid background

SPS has been in business for almost two decades. Last year, the company processed $10.2 billion for more than 100,000 merchants.

The company provides merchant accounts and payment processing to traditional card present merchants, as well as MO/TO merchants and e-commerce businesses.

SPS also serves utilities, government agencies, trade associations, financial institutions and medical institutions. Other offerings from SPS include electronic check services, credit card receivable factoring, gift and loyalty card programs, equipment, Internet payment gateways and shopping carts.

The strongest asset

SPS sells its solutions through the ISO/MLS channel. Partner benefits include training, online reporting and loans.

The company also offers a click-through application with no signature or additional documentation required, as well as same day automated approvals.

"We have proven success building strong relationships and delivering value to our ISOs and customers," Matt Clyne, Senior Vice President of Sales, said.

"Working with Sage Payment Solutions is quite beneficial for ISOs/MLSs as we value our relationships and identify that these partner organizations are our strongest asset."

Membership privileges

Sage Software has companies in three other divisions that focus on providing business management services to the construction, real estate, health care and nonprofit sectors.

This means SPS has a strong relationship with a large number of companies that need processing services.

According to Bill Wade, President of SPS, partners will flourish from the benefits of a larger clientele. "Our view of the future for ISOs and reps is if they align themselves with us, opportunities come to the surface," he said. "We will have lots of customers who will need servicing, initially in North America, and ultimately globally. It will be a natural fit as time marches on."

Investment in training

SPS's agents receive straight interchange, as the company wants them to have a competitive edge in their market. "Our philosophy has been that our agent can be the cheapest vendor if he needs to be," Clyne said.

"Our goal is to help position our MLS/ISO partners so that other factors beyond price help them win the sale. For example, with our integration to the Sage Software merchant base we can offer a competitive advantage that is unique to Sage and our agents."

While the agents have the ability to price their services as they wish, the goal is to educate their sales force so they don't have to compete on price. "We have proven success building strong relationships and delivering value to our ISOs, agents and merchant customers," Clyne said.

"Our superior ISO program includes training, revenue share and an online merchant application. We communicate with our merchants with newsletters twice a year and survey our customers frequently to drive improvements in services."

One way SPS helps agents reduce the need to compete is through training. "We make a significant investment in training. From my experience, we are far above the average," Clyne said.

Every four weeks, SPS offers training tailored to the attendees' specific needs.

Topics include what drives business, how to target specific unique niches and how to handle a sales call.

SPS also offers Bankcard 101. The class covers interchange, prospecting and pricing. "We also talk about unique product marketing and niche marketing," Clyne said.

The course walks agents through appointments and instructs how to cold call, as well as explain the sales fundamentals with field agents.

SPS covers most of the training costs because it believes the investment is worth it.

"While it can appear that the training expenses are not directly revenue generating, the return is building more loyalty with the agent or organization," Clyne said.

Wade noted that training helps retain customers and keeps attrition low. "We and our partners benefit by having long term, larger merchants," he said. "They stay longer and create more revenue for themselves. It's a win-win."

Moving up-market

In addition to training, SPS also invests in technology and communication. The company's goal is to help ISOs and MLSs help themselves and SPS.

"We are trying to help them move up-market," Clyne said.

The company gives assistance to merchants and agents through its Virtual Reports and Virtual Terminal programs. "It's proprietary.

We built it, and we own it," Clyne said. The online tools include transaction data and statements, which can be exported to other programs.

Access to capital

To foster ISO business growth, SPS provides loans, portfolio purchases and other creative ways to access capital. "With Sage's balance sheet, we have a lot of cash available to us. We help ISOs grow by giving them money through loans or a residual purchase," Clyne said.

The company offers loans with the ISO's portfolio as collateral. The loan amount and term are based on the overall portfolio performance, future volume growth produced by the ISO and other negotiable factors.

SPS does not emphasize credit history or other traditional lending measurements but is more focused on the partnership and the ISO's business plan. "It's all negotiable," Wade said.

The company also purchases portfolios for ISOs interested in selling them.

Loans from SPS differ in how they provide money to ISOs. "The other companies usually leverage against debt," Wade said.

"We are in a position that with the right partners in the right situations, we can fuel growth by either lending or purchasing residuals."

Clyne and Wade are optimistic about the future for the company's ISOs and MLSs. "The opportunity is quite amazing," Wade said. "There are over 1.5 million North American customers of Sage.

"These merchants are from industries that include health care, manufacturing, business-to-business, nonprofits, property management, construction and property rental."

"It's raining leads," Clyne added. "There are more opportunities than there are salespeople."

With high customer numbers, business can only get better for SPS and its partners. end of article

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

Sage Payment Solutions

Sage Payment Solutions

ISO/MLS contact:

Rick Stanford
Phone: 877-394-2451
E-mail: newisopartner@sagepayments.com

Company address:
1501 Farm Credit Drive
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: 800-261-0240
Fax: 703-848-9457
Web site: www.sagepayments.com

ISO/MLS benefits:

  • Same day automated approvals
  • Dedicated relationship management team
  • Training for all agents and merchants
  • Revenue share
  • 24/7 online reporting

Company Profile originally appeared in
The Green Sheet Issue 071001

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