Balancing Business Goals With Appropriate Answers
Developing a ‘Good, Better, Best and Legacy Migration’ sales strategy may yield more access control opportunities for security systems integrators.
We left November’s column discussing an electronic access control upgrade project for a fraternal membership organization. We focused on the business and operational considerations your sales team must address to gain customer traction to make a change. Can you make their life simpler? Can you make their membership process more secure? Can you provide a validated audit trail? Can you save them money? Continuing that discussion, let’s consider some other key elements your sales team needs to focus on.
Most salespeople sell from their comfort zone with good reason. They don’t like surprises during an installation and system start-up nor want service issues six months later. Unhappy customers don’t give referrals and can hurt a salesperson’s reputation. So their access control technology recommendations are typically based on approved systems their companies can support. This is a wise move to sustain their career and internal relationships.
It’s OK to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
However, what happens when access control technology, customer needs and competitive pressures impact your salespeople’s ability to compete? They become ineffective, frustrated and unmotivated. Warning: Lower sales curves – or worse, sales turnover – ahead! So perhaps you should look again at your approach to access control technology and your current suppliers to confirm you have the right product mix for your market.
Learning to start with a blank piece of solution paper is important to deliver sustainable sales results. Technology evolution is happening at a fast pace. The potential and sustainable results it can deliver are evolving too, with an open sales mind. I approached the fraternal organization opportunity with that mind-set to try and understand their operations, needs and investment parameters. In gauging the competitive bids they received, they had three choices: Do nothing and continue to use an old magstripe system; award the business to a competitor; or award the opportunity to do business with them to me. I may be a graybeard, but I don’t take kindly to losing a sale; must be that Marine in me.
So what happened?
The customer won because I was willing to walk away from a sale that wasn’t the right business or technology fit – and the competition wasn’t. They offered a one-trick pony access control solution and lost a sale. They had the chance to offer another, more appropriate solution, but it was out of the technician’s and salesperson’s comfort zone. Actually, they lost the opportunity for loads of sales as this organization has about 8,000 chapters. In addition, this local chapter has 700-800 members. That’s also a lot of potential residential alarm opportunities. Double ouch!
Rethinking Your Offerings for Greater Impact
Let’s be realistic; you can’t be everything to everybody all the time. It will result in your service and maintenance teams turning on you. What is the happy medium? With so many supplier choices available today, you need a decision review process that makes sense to remain relevant and profitable. Limiting what your technicians must actually and consistently deliver well is core to your profitability and reputation. You can’t offer 25 product solutions and run an efficient service and maintenance operation. So you need a process and a new acronym (my favorite thing): the “G.B.B.L.M.” method.
It stands for Good, Better, Best and Legacy Migration solution sets in which you can, and should, limit access control products based on your business goals. The Good, Better, Best isn’t new, but maybe the last one and how they relate to each other are. Perhaps the traditional security price/performance laws are warping into a new formula with new rules of relativity. Let’s explore this a little deeper with how things have traditionally been spun, and add the new wrinkle.
“Good” has often been relegated to getting the security job done at the lowest possible price to the customer. Not many frills but relatively functional for a customer. This often meant they had to manually invest more of their time to get results out of the system, but of course we blew right past that concept when price sensitivity was firmly strapped into the driver’s seat.
The next solution was a step up. “Better” often equated to our sweet spot as a systems integrator. It was usually a good compromise between performance and price. It delivered better performance, better features, we made a decent profit, and the customer could streamline security operations a bit. It was often expandable to allow for some reasonable growth, which spelled “annuity” to salespeople. It helped protect our reputation for quality services.
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