How to Differentiate by Emphasizing the Full Breadth of Pro Service
Alarm.com’s Philip Pearson, VP sales operations, Partner Growth, explains how security dealers can win in the face of disruptive competition, the rise of DIY and more.
Philip Pearson is vice president of sales operations and partner growth for Alarm.com. He joins the conversation to explain how security dealers can differentiate among disruptive competition, the company’s recent advances in the commercial space, among other topics relevant to the channel.
Can you put into perspective the importance of selling add-on connected devices in terms of creating more revenue generation?
The more a customer uses their system and finds value in it, the more likely they are to retain the service. In-demand and highly-engaging add-on services like video and automation generate additional RMR for service providers as well as a higher ROI for their efforts to acquire and activate new customers. This is reflected in the fact that we had a 40% increase in the attachment rate of video in Q2 this year.
Property owners are likely to use video and automated devices every day, and service providers are taking advantage to create more sticky customers. But it takes the right solution, especially with video, to avoid overwhelming the customer with alerts and possibly causing them to disengage. This is where our video analytics feature differentiates what our partners offer in the marketplace.
Research supports that app users have a breaking point — if an app sends too many push notifications each week, a significant number stop using it. Video analytics makes the video service offered by our partners more effective by delivering a manageable number of notifications containing information dictated by the customer.
Traditional security dealers hear all the time about how DIY providers are going to take their lunch. How can they differentiate in the face of this competition?
Competition exists in every market, but it’s the pioneering brands in each market that consumers most often see as superior. Alarm.com forged the SHaaS [smart home as a service] market with technology that reimagined the security industry and connects people with their home or business. Our partners differentiate themselves by emphasizing the full breadth of value a professional service using the Alarm.com platform delivers.
A pro service represents a long-term investment in the home, which aligns with the views of many consumers. For starters, property owners get a customized solution that can adapt and grow to meet their ever-changing needs and environment. They can pick and choose from best-in-class security, intelligent automation, video, access control, wellness and energy management solutions and devices from our trusted hardware manufacturer partners.
Only our service providers offer such a broad suite of solutions that seamlessly integrate through a single platform. They provide ongoing support so the customer is educated about how to use all the capabilities on their system and to troubleshoot issues that may arise. In addition, continuous upgrades are performed on that system, ensuring that it operates with software enhancements made to the Alarm.com platform each week. Last, and just as important, is the peace of mind that central monitoring through a pro service delivers.
The company has made significant enhancements to its commercial services platform. What have been the biggest hurdles in getting your resi-centric service providers to jump onboard the Alarm.com for Business offering?
Education and awareness are the biggest hurdles, which is not unexpected for business expansions. Alarm.com for Business gives resi-centric service providers new opportunities to sell and install smaller commercial systems in nearly the same way as the residential accounts they typically serve.
Tactical education in the sales operations of resi-centric partners will help them prospect commercial accounts more effectively and tailor their sales messaging to business owners. In addition, expanding the technician’s knowledge of commercial installations will help them adapt to installing services like video and access control without learning a totally new system, on top of expanding their network of contacts like locksmiths for outsourcing commercial work.
To help with this, we established a training camp in Utah where technicians get real hands-on experience with many aspects of commercial system installs, such as pulling wire and physically installing devices on doors. Plus, our travelling academy offers monthly education courses for technicians in major cities across North America.
A second, and equally important, contingent of our partner base is service providers who have a mature systems integration business. They have lots of technical experience selling and installing commercial systems, but typically as one-off accounts. For these partners, strategic education around RMR will help them build, price and service systems that meet the customer’s small business needs and increase retention.
Technology enhancements are ushering in newfound business efficiencies in the commercial space. As you look to the horizon will security remain the foundation for servicing the SMB market?
The commercial space is full of businesses that all have different needs. Alarm.com for Business was developed to give service providers a broad range of flexibility, essentially allowing them to configure a personalized solution that fits each customer. Security is the foundation, but the goal is to extend the usefulness of the system into overall business operations and efficiencies by solving real-word problems using IoT devices and insights from the data they capture.
Video analytics and access control, for example, are two good examples of technologies that have great value in the SMB space but historically were available only on the high-end due to cost and complexity. By focusing on an intuitive customer experience and thoughtful service packaging, Alarm.com for Business makes these technologies easy-to-use and affordable, and thus accessible to everyone.
Our vision is to develop cutting edge solutions that add intelligence to the devices and systems on the property. The idea is to identify and solve real world problems businesses have, creating an intuitive ROI for business owners. For example, our AI-driven Insights engine was recently applied to our Smarter Access Control solution, so it intelligently detects and alerts the right personnel about irregular or unexpected events.
Perhaps an employee or delivery person accessed the building at an unusual time or went into a restricted area. It’s these types of issues we can help business owners address. While the devices themselves might be an electrified lock, an analytic powered camera, and a bunch of sensors, the value is the automation of them together on the Alarm.com platform around the specific use case.
In May the company announced a new partnership with Stanley Security, which will self-brand Alarm.com’s commercial platform. How does the partnership speak to the scalability of the platform and for Alarm.com’s strategy to increase its presence internationally?
Stanley is a very sophisticated operator in the commercial space and is known for a real focus on operational excellence. We’re very pleased that one of the global leaders in commercial security selected Alarm.com for Business for their small and medium business offering. It validates the investments we’ve made to scale our business into the commercial market and internationally. We’re still very early in the partnership and continue working hard toward a successful roll out and introduction.
False alarms, of course, are a major challenge for security providers and continue to result in onerous alarm ordinances. Is the industry doing enough to confront this ongoing issue?
Reducing false alarms is of utmost concern to us. We’re constantly working to address this issue and have several solutions in place that help people more quickly determine whether there’s a true emergency or not during an alarm. For example, customers being unable to recall their verbal passcode is a common reason for dispatches on false alarms. To help eliminate this issue, our monitoring station integrations now let customers view their verbal passcode and emergency contacts in the Alarm.com mobile app.
We’ve also enhanced our app with the award-winning Smart Signal feature so that property owners can review video clips and cancel an alarm themselves with a single button push in the app. In addition, customers can choose to give the monitoring station access to their video feeds as part of our visual verification solution. With more information readily available to monitoring station operators, they can assess a situation faster and provide that information to the customer and first responders.
It’s imperative that customers are educated at the time of install about these solutions, which are unique to Alarm.com. Widespread use could significantly reduce the rate of false alarm responses.
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