Gaining From Venturing
Technology also looms large in how Bates approaches sales and marketing. The company eagerly embraces using the newest methods and techniques to get its messaging across whether it’s in person or through other mediums.
“We are fortunate our owner is willing to invest in technology such as iPhones and iPads for our sales team,” says Bryan. “Since 2010, we have had and continue to use these resources for product demos, scheduling and more. We strive to always be on the cutting edge and safely away from the bleeding edge of technology to deliver safety and security for our clients.”
Bates’ commercial sales strategy is based on identifying the vertical markets in which it has achieved the highest level of success and then really turning up the gas in those areas. Territory managers work with Bates’ marketing team to focus on their specific needs, and an emphasis is placed on being visible at local events and trade shows. Strong relationships with property managers have proven especially fruitful.
Execution is measured weekly and activity is adjusted based on the results of individual and team effort. Internal software is used to track leads and measure success, and less productive activities are taken out of the game plan. Salespeople log daily activities, including incoming and outgoing sales calls. And, due to its attractive cost/benefit proposition, the Web has been playing an ever-increasing role in Bates’ sales and marketing.
“We have been moving more and more to building a social media presence, along with building an organic Internet presence,” says Jeremy. “We have started experimenting with different paid online methods. We value the simplistic-but-bold look of our logo, which is also used as our yard signs, security and locksmith decals, magnets and other marketing materials. A consistent image is very important.”
After exhibiting at trade shows, a meeting is held to assess successes, failures, costs and profits. The bottom line: Bates continues to do what works and ceases to do what doesn’t, and is not afraid to try new things and take some risks. These new things/risks include expanding its footprint and offerings to propel growth in size as well as wisdom.
“For the first time, we recently did some acquisitions and learned valuable lessons. We learned a lot of do’s and don’t’s, and plan to hopefully grow this way some more,” says Jeremy. “Our company also does a lot of lock work with managed access control. We have launched a new division, Bates Lock & Safe. The business took off immediately and we can barely keep up.”
Doing the Right Thing
In addition to premium customer service and a sterling reputation built on delivering satisfaction locally for more than 40 years (the original Sonitrol franchise was founded in 1969), Bates Security also benefits from its affiliation with dealer networks. The company maximizes the support and networking advantages that can be obtained through Honeywell’s First Alert Professional group and the Sonitrol National Dealers Association. Both honored Bates with awards in 2011.
The firm is aligned with many other organizations that not only enhance its own operations but also allow it to extend itself to other businesses within and outside its core focus, as well as the security industry overall. Some of those memberships and activities include: Electronic Security Association, Kentucky Electronic Security Association, Kentucky American Fire Association, Better Business Bureau, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and Lexington Home Builders Association.
Bates’ personnel have also participated in municipal alarm ordinance committees, manufacturer product testing and more. Among the volunteerism the company engages in locally: the Bluegrass Crime Stoppers organization, sponsoring police and fire department events, contributing to local clothing and food drives, and the Angel Tree program.
“We have a great relationship with the local police and fire department and sponsor their events when we can,” says Bryan. “We have donated equipment to the fire department and work with them on code-related issues. We have donated a security system to the wife of an officer who lost his life in the line of duty. And every time police apprehend a criminal by responding to one of our alarms, we reward them with a certificate and customized gear bag.”
Such endeavors also help Bates keep its employees feeling good about the organization and their work. To further nourish a sense of connectedness, the firm conducts four company-wide meetings annually, hands out employee of the year awards, hosts a Memorial Day cookout, Halloween chili cook-off, Thanksgiving luncheon, formal Christmas banquet and family appreciation night, and sponsors a recreational coed softball team.
Those who enjoy these perks have satisfied the basic formula Bates applies when considering whether a person is right for its organization: A + P = E (attitude plus performance equals employment). It’s a core philosophy embodied by all employees, in and out of the field. It boils down to doing the right thing for the right reasons.
“Intent counts more than skill,” says Bryan. “We have a process from beginning of the sale to the end of the sale and if we don’t cheat the process, then our intent is rewarding. You have to ask yourself, is this good for both the customer and us, long-term?”
Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 13 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125.
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