Today's security customers expect — even demand — prompt, courteous and consultative service at a good price or guess what? Not only are they going to go elsewhere because there are myriad alternatives, worse they are going to badmouth your business. In this social networking age, the repercussions could cost you countless customers and thousands of dollars. More than ever, responsive, personalized attention is critical to earn trust, build loyalty and become a true partner in helping safeguard and manage clients' facilities or homes.
Establishing and maintaining this level of sales and customer management is an enormous challenge. Yes, it's about working harder, but even more it's about working smarter. Fortunately, while the complexion of the sales landscape has been shifting, technology has advanced right along with it. Increasingly, new sales & marketing techniques and tools are emerging to enable success, and make sense of what would otherwise be an overwhelming task.
I moderated a panel on this topic at the recent ESX event in Charlotte, N.C. Rather than confine the information to that session's 40 attendees, I wanted to extend the wisdom of three leading authorities: Jay Stuck (Securewatch 24), Mike Jagger (Provident Security) and Chris BenVau (Stanley CSS). What follows are their top tips, apropos for this, SSI's annual Bright Ideas Issue.
Stuck's Top 3 Sales Force Tips
1. It is essential for a sales leader to have a record of activities and key metrics for everyone in a sales organization. How many cold calls and customer appointments were there? What was the close rate? What was the average RMR of sold jobs? There are plenty of software tools available that can assist.
2. It's a digital world today; your sales organization similarly should be digital. E-contracts, instant quotes for customers — using technology can set your sales organization apart from the competition.
3. Using the Web for customer service applications, social media for lead generation, and organic and search engine optimization for your company is not a luxury you "will get around to someday" — it's essential for doing business in the 21st century.
BenVau's Top 3 Sales Force Tips
1. Deployment of a customer relationship management (CRM) system, such as salesforce.com, can require substantial time and investment. Get senior leadership buy-in and support prior to implementing. Agree in advance on key objectives and metrics to measure program success. Regularly evaluate ongoing feedback of the results.
2. Adoption of a CRM can be difficult as some sales professionals resist change. To facilitate, embed your estimation tool inside the CRM; avoid separate processes for job quotation and activity reporting. This will also give you more accurate data on sales quotes generated, proposal funnels and close ratios.
3. Even after everyone embraces the new tool, there will be questions regarding the use, rules and potential of the CRM. Consider investing in an inside support administrator. Otherwise you may face partial implementation or pricey outsourcing.
Jagger's Top 3 Sales Force Tips
1. Use technology for good, not evil. We've automated wherever possible, but never at the expense of client interaction. We've used digital contracts, but never an automated phone tree. We've automated our dispatch to get alarm signals to response staff's BlackBerrys in 4 seconds.
2. Focus on employee experience to improve client experience. We strive to eliminate waste and frustration within our company, including going paperless. We have no filing cabinets, paper contracts, paper invoices or statements, or paper-based employee forms — it's all digital. We've also developed in-house wikis to replace printed procedure manuals. We have scanners at all desks, and use justthebill.com for expense/receipt tracking and GoogleSites for our wikis.
3. Leverage social media. We use blogs and Twitter to help our clients and supporters get our message out. Our strategy is educating people about how alarms work, their limitations and how best to protect your home or business from burglary. The key to social media is it needs to be genuine and honest.
Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 12 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125.