How to Sell the Cloud Experience

Security companies need to focus on convenience and the level of experience they are giving customers. Here’s why the Cloud is winning over customers.

How to Sell the Cloud Experience

The winning sales formula for closing more deals and getting referrals is called the Cloud. The Cloud provides a solid value proposition — a streamlined solution that’s easy to control and manage — the kind of stellar experience every user is looking for.

Selling security successfully today is all about the customer experience. Solutions have to be convenient and simple, or any perceived or real value will be quickly negated from cumbersome operation. The residential market, where consumers leverage solutions from web-enabled devices, is the epitome of what users are now looking for in their businesses and facilities.

Simplicity Is Key

Customers want data to help them easily manage their facility and control the population’s activities and movements. They don’t want to jump through hoops to get what they need. That’s why they need a single, Cloud-hosted security management platform that can be used for all customers and vertical markets — as well as an easy experience for the user on a daily basis.

Another bonus to having an integrated management interface? Recurring monthly revenue (RMR) for the dealer and stickier customers who most likely will stay with your services and refer you in the process. The bottom line is that the more consistent, high-value RMR you have the more profitable and sustainable your business will be.

Security companies need to focus on convenience and the level of experience they are giving customers. Are they putting in a burg and access control panel that requires the customer to manage two separate databases? That’s not convenience. That’s cumbersome. It’s their experience that matters and how intuitive and easy it is to manage all these services that’s really going to differentiate your company from the competition.

Easy Management Wins Business

Ken Kocher, president of Washington, D.C.-based Force Security Solutions, explains being able to deploy a single user interface to manage intrusion and access control via the Cloud is a huge factor in obtaining new business opportunities.

“It makes winning new contracts easy and helps us sell more systems and find new customers. We are one of the few dealers who can provide a single user interface with an easy-to-use GUI via the Cloud to manage everything related to security and access control; even seeing and viewing cameras,” he says.

Kocher says end users want a single, simple interface that works over the Cloud for managing security, but many aren’t aware it’s available.

“They are expecting something like that but not used to seeing it. During a sales demonstration at a client, I logged into the demo system at my office remotely to show the prospect how easy it was to access everything, and showed them how to manage users, arm and disarm areas and even lock and unlock doors and they were quite impressed.

“We focus on large integrated systems and customers like the fact they can use one interface to manage their other systems as well at their buildings. In one instance we leveraged the system at a large contractor who has gas pumps onsite for the company vehicle,” Kocher says.

Via the Cloud interface, end users can remotely manage who has access to their onsite gas pumps during the day, he continues. “At night the gas pumps are on a schedule to turn off after hours, which has cut back on unauthorized use and theft of gas after hours. This has opened additional opportunity and revenues with managed services we didn’t have before,” he says.

The Cloud is a superior enabling technology for value-add services and it also makes additional capabilities quicker to deploy and manage. But are we really explaining all the functionality now available thanks to open platforms, interfaces and the Cloud? Prospects honestly don’t care what the technology is by name; they want to know what they are going to experience after the system is installed.

It’s a bold new world for both installers and users — but the sales process needs to be succinct and emphasize value-added services to the client and other efficiencies customer’s gain beyond security.

Think about how you will be remembered weeks and even months after the presentation. If you only presented a sales and marketing leave-behind information sheet, the prospect might not remember you at all. Even worse, they may only remember the numbers you presented, not the overall capabilities.

If you provided an actual demonstration specific to their vertical market that showed how easy it is to use the platform from a single interface, that differentiator will be emblazoned in their brains after the fact. Best of all, your competition probably didn’t take those critical extra steps during the sales process.

Use-Case Examples for the Cloud

Yes, there’s a monthly cost to using the Cloud, but by explaining the possible use-case scenarios and potential new services dealers can dispel any objections and win customers over. Plus, with the Cloud, fees can be budgeted as an annual operating expense, rather than a large capital outlay. With additional services and capabilities beyond security, end-users will realize a stronger return on investment (ROI) for their solutions.

Consider these use cases:

  • Education market vertical customers with multiple locations have lots of data to manage. With multiple interfaces or software that requires logging into each additional site, they may need to hire someone to handle tasks like managing users and passwords. There’s attainable ROI when the administration doesn’t have the expense of an additional person and everything they need to control can be handled easily with the Cloud-hosted system, offsite and with their smartphone.
  • Commercial businesses can easily incorporate substantial energy management savings into their
    security and intrusion detection solution by integrating HVAC controls and critical environmental monitoring with a single interface.
  • Banking and financial institutions will gain greater operational efficiency by being able to conduct data and management tasks via the Cloud. Batching is a tangible capability for users, as it eliminates the time required to enter data, saving time and manpower as opposed to logging into each site’s database separately.
  • Facilities managers can gather data on all their systems, video, access control, intrusion, to extract information and assess any situations which may have occurred. They don’t have to log into two or three different databases to extrapolate information — historical reports are in one spot where they can see exactly what happened in a matter of minutes versus hours.
  • Pharmaceutical and food suppliers can avoid costly product loss by deploying critical environmental monitoring of their refrigeration units through temperature probes. Receiving a real-time alert and notification of a significant temperature drop or deviation from the norm can preempt failure of refrigeration units and loss of expensive products. What’s the ROI of that to this business?

Differentiate Your Offering

Toby Stevens, sales manager for Ace American Alarm Co. in Bridgeport, Mich., is finding strong acceptance from customers, including schools, industrial settings and other multi-location sites, for a single Cloud-hosted interface.

“We have been deploying and migrating customers from site-based client servers to the Cloud with very positive feedback. One of our customers, a senior housing facility, likes to have one platform to manage both access control and integrated alarm detection,” he says. “We can administer different levels of access permissions through the Cloud for the customer or they can do it on their own. Having an integrated system — access control, security, CCTV and temperature monitoring and control — is important.”

Stevens adds that in addition to the pluses of an integrated intrusion and access control solution, ease of use has been attractive to prospects and customers. Having a single interface helps “differentiate our business,” Stevens continues. “We can give customers options above what the competition offers.”

Add Value Through a Stellar Experience

Installing security contractors need to think beyond security and all the different value-add services they can provide to the customer. Throughout the process, they need to look at the project in respect to what the customer’s experience will be like when the job is finished.

How easy will it be for them to manage and how can they put all the different systems they are using into an integrated solution so they can access information from multiple services and facilities at one time? That’s what they want to know and want to be able to accomplish.

Don’t drag down the prospect with technology jargon or the mechanics of how things work.  Focus on the services you can provide to help them better manage their facility.  Too many sales professionals talk about how things work and get the prospect’s head spinning.

When the sales process is specific, you can move away from technology and discuss the value-add services the customer needs.

For example, the bank or financial institution that can batch data to multiple locations from one single platform; remotely dial into the system from any web-enabled device, even smartphones;  and, adjust access control permissions remotely. Not to mention, cost savings from not having to maintain software or servers — because everything’s handled simply and automatically in the Cloud.


Mike Simon CloudMike Simon is the Managing Partner of Connected Technologies, a company he started after selling is long-running systems integration business in the Chicago area.

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