Prepare for Client Concerns
So you have made a strong case to the customer about the numerous benefits to be realized with hosted video services. That is only half the battle. Of course, you will have to be prepared to address customer concerns as well as make internal preparations to successfully implement a hosted services program. Here are five considerations to get you started:
No. 1 It’s not about the product — The biggest issue you will face is the argument that a traditional system is good enough. Before talking about the hosted service as a product, it is imperative that dealers thoroughly communicate the key benefits mentioned above because these capabilities are not possible with a traditional video system. Hosted services introduce complexity: it is not the hardware sale that most dealers are used to. The hosted service pitch is about presenting a useful and beneficial service that helps the customer improve their business and that they can see value.
Dealers should ask themselves, “What additional value do I bring to the table?” What is it that you are really offering the customer? Dealers must emphasize the capabilities, the transparency and ease of use and control gained when switching to the cloud. It is necessary for the customer to buy in to the improved capabilities of hosted systems and the rest will follow.
No. 2 Know the customer and keep it simple — The industry sees the most demand for hosted services in smaller to midsize commercial markets and large multilocation retail and services companies. These businesses have fewer resources to work with from the start, and therefore benefit from streamlining systems and processes. It’s important that dealers understand who they should target with these offerings to ensure they have the right pitch in place and the right sales team on the job.
Most dealers new to selling services try to adopt a custom model to fit every client, but it is most effective to adopt two or three services sales models. The best models are bundled services because they offer the most value and are easy to communicate to customers. Setting up a pitch that presents a good, better and best option relates to everyone. Structure your offerings so they present features that best benefit the customer base you are targeting, and pay attention to feedback so you can adjust as necessary to meet demand.
No. 3 Lack of focus — Offering hosted services doesn’t guarantee success in sales. Dealers are the first to admit that hosted services are a different animal than what most sales forces are used to. The need for proper training cannot be understated. Dealers adding hosted services need to ensure all staff is prepped, trained and briefed on the capabilities and how they differ from traditional models.
Dealers that will succeed are those that have dedicated adequate resources to selling services. Salespeople are always going to go with what they know best and services requires a new way of thinking and a new way to present an offering to the customer. Ensure that the team designated to services is focused on selling only services.
No. 4 Pay your people — A different pricing model for the customer means the revenue stream for the dealer also looks different. It will be important to consider this when assigning team members to hosted services sales. Considering how compensation for hosted service sales might differ from traditional system sales will help minimize confusion amongst sales teams.
It also helps get the team committed to the work that comes with adjusting a pitch and researching new prospects. Successful dealers will compensate their salespeople more on a job with RMR attached versus one without. If the dollars are there and your model is simple to communicate, your sales staff will come around once they realize they can make more money.
No. 5 Manage customer expectations — When it comes to services, dealers must manage their customers’ expectations. A customer should be presented with the best service option that fits their budget, and they must understand what features that include, which it does not, and why. They must also understand the limitations of the service so the system will function as intended.
For instance, it is not feasible to push high definition (HD) video with continuous remote storage through a low-bandwidth network. Adopting HD cameras may require networks to be upgraded. Dealers must be comfortable conversing about how a service will function based on a customer’s budget and which features make the most sense for what the business’ security needs.
Keeping Pace With Change
When you understand how the cloud can significantly improve a customer’s experience along with the associated prospects for growth, why would a security system dealer install another video system that does not present the opportunity for RMR? It is safe to say that the demand for hosted services will steadily grow as cloud applications continue improving to meet more day-to-day needs and to address various business processes.
As the cloud advances and matures, so will the capabilities that dealers can offer their customers. Technology will likely continue to bring change to the benefits of hosted services as well as the target market. Dealers that are aware of the state of the industry and are comfortable with the direction it is headed will be best equipped to profit from these continued changes.
John Smith is Senior Channel Marketing Manager for Honeywell Security. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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