The Green Sheet Online Edition
February 22, 2010 • Issue 10:02:02
Tracking the ISO beehive
ISOs tend to be heavily stratified and structurally complex. Many oversee multiple sub-ISOs, not to mention numerous merchant level salespeople (MLSs) who command varied payouts and are dispersed across an array of industries and locales. Tracking the vast, unceasing flow of leads, sales, residuals and contractual changes under the company umbrella can be a tall order.
A software program called Merchant Flo, from information technology provider CurveNorth, helps both ISOs and processors manage their institutional "beehives" by tracking and consolidating disparate information streams within one hosted Web service.
A hive of functionality
Among other functions, the program tracks merchant leads, sales, acquisitions and residual payouts among MLSs. Sales agents on the go can provide almost real-time updates of their activity by logging into Merchant Flo on laptops or Internet-enabled smart phones. The service also functions as a platform for underwriting functions that normally necessitate paperwork, simplifying the work of salespeople along with the companies they work for.
Marty Weel, founder and Chief Executive Officer of CurveNorth, said, "Basically what the solution allows ISOs and processors and people managing merchants to do is manage the process from cradle to grave.
"All the way from managing leads to getting an electronic application signature and then actually handling the workflow through sales, through underwriting and through processing - which includes deploying it through gateways, through processors and shipping terminals."
As a software-as-a-service application, Merchant Flo can be used to make residual payments to agents, as well as to calculate residual sums through information entered on the portal, like merchant sales volume and an agent's residual percentage.
"It allows you to automatically pay residuals as income streams are coming from various income sources that need to be paid to agents," Weel said. "To pay residuals, all you do is click a button and electronically, through [the automated clearing house] network, it sends all the residual payments."
To view the application, users enter a username and password. The scope of each user's access can be individually tailored; typically, an agent who signs on sees only the data from his or her own fieldwork, while company higher-ups have access to the portals of the MLSs they supervise, Weel said.
The program also performs sophisticated data analysis that can be used by ISOs or processors to develop sales and marketing strategies, according to Weel.
"You can look at your agents and see their deals over time and drill into them and so forth, so there's a whole business intelligence module that really gives you a good birds-eye view of what's happening," he said.
Additionally, the program can be used to facilitate either residual stream acquisitions or total ISO takeovers, Weel noted. Prospective buyers get a clearer look at exactly what they're buying, and sellers have a single, unified platform for their sales pitches.
Following an acquisition, the software can further more assist company buyers with the sometimes difficult transition into new ownership by providing a more crystallized picture of the new domain in all its intricacy, Weel said.
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