The Pros and Cons of Security Dealer Programs
Security professionals can bank on suppliers to assist them with special discounts, marketing materials, project design and performance, plus much more.
Hanwha Techwin Steps Up Video Game
The security cameras and surveillance solutions provider introduced its Authorized Security Dealer Program called STEP — Samsung (now Hanwha) Techwin Eco Partnership — in 2013.
Cook says the company is adding a dealer and distributor registration section to its web portal. Hanwha Techwin is selective about who can join the program and, according to Cook, actually rejects more dealers than it signs up.
“It can be challenging,” he asserts. “We get all types of businesses signing up as a dealer, wanting to buy from us directly. If they sign up as a dealer, they can get it direct from our distributors, so we qualify people who register on the portal. We check their website and phone number and look up if they have a tax code to see if they’re truly an integrator. We’ve actually had a waste management company sign up as a dealer, end users trying to sign up, small distributors who want to sign up as a dealer … so we have someone internally who does that checking daily.”
There are four levels: Authorized Dealer, Silver, Gold and Platinum. No real commitment is required of Authorized Dealers; it allows them to connect, try the program, work with the company and get some demo equipment. This level is easy to join, Cook says, but offers fewer benefits.
“It’s kind of like the old philosophy that you buy Chevy, then move up to Buick and then up to Cadillac. It’s working well. We’ve added the online registration and have certified training courses that offer BICSI credits. As a dealer rises up in level, the cost of the class is less. Warranty is another key support — our higher-level dealers can off er a five-year warranty rather than the three-year warranty.”
Once onboard, the most significant features/benefits of the program, according to Cook, are price and support, allowing dealers to be much more competitive if they’re loyal to the program. Sales, marketing and technical support are a huge component, he says.
STEP dealers are invited each month to attend Hanwha Techwin’s webinars. The company’s presale engineering group offers JSVG (software) service, a program that allows Hanwha Techwin to help dealers configure and design the video system — they can place cameras on a CAD rendering of a location and it will give them a pixel target for whatever type of camera they choose. Dealers also get a camera view, showing how well the camera sees.
“We only offer that to our upper STEP dealers,” Cook adds. “It’s a great tool to show their end users.”Participating dealers also get priority service on Hanwha Techwin’s technical support line, and can attend the Dealer Summit strategy meeting held once a year. It’s an opportunity for them to network with the other STEP dealers and Summit co-sponsors, Cook says.
Other program benefits include: product/technical training, monthly partner e-news, access to all company marketing materials, dedicated sales support, and project pricing.
“Our inside sales force as well as our outside sales force is available to support our dealers. They develop a one-on-one relationship with the dealers,” he says. “A lot of companies can’t afford to have both inside and outside sales forces, but we’re available at all times.”
Marketing Specialists Dedicated to Security Space
Installing intricate security and home automation systems may be a snap for some dealers and integrators, but mention the word “marketing” and they’re not always so savvy. The prospect of getting some professional marketing support is a welcome one for most.
In response to this growing demand, marketing agencies like MyStudio[Pros] are now being made available to dealers through security companies, hardware manufacturers and central monitoring stations. It makes good dollars and sense — digital marketing services help them generate more sales leads and build their business.
In many cases, costs for services these agencies provide (which can include website development, SEO, social media, email marketing, AdWords, etc.) are subsidized by the sponsoring company to make it more affordable for the dealers to get started. MyStudio[Pros] (mystudiopros.com) is totally focused on the home security market.
“We’ve partnered with various security companies and monitoring stations to create custom digital marketing packages for their dealers,” says President and CEO Barbara Zenz. “We realized early on that digital marketing would be a critical need for dealers, and we provide a set of tools to help build their brand and drive leads. But the key is to make sure we have the ‘right tools for the right results.’ It is not a cookie-cutter approach.”
Services span lead generation programs, social media campaigns and direct mail, but the most requested component, Zenz says, is creating or enhancing dealers’ websites.
“We’ve built over 300 websites, so we’re able to bring our expertise and industry knowledge to help each dealer create a website that’s interactive, presents their company, services and products in the best format, and drives sales leads.”
In addition, MyStudio[Pros] offers a multitude of digital lead generation programs that link digital offers to the websites and help dealers improve their lead pipeline. The firm creates a unique program for dealers to promote their services and position their solutions effectively.
“Our team works with our clients to make sure all materials meet the particular company’s brand guidelines and pricing considerations. Dealers who sign up for our programs through their partner company are immediately eligible for discounts on services and are assigned a dedicated account rep who is available at all times to help the dealer. It’s like they have their own marketing department with MyStudio[Pros],” Zenz adds.
The process begins with a “marketing audit” of the security company’s current digital marketing efforts and based on that makes recommendations for improvement.
“Dealers love this because it is fact-based and provides a measurable baseline for any program,” she notes. “Other marketing companies offer basic menu-driven programs with little support. MyStudio[Pros] works directly with each dealer on a one-to-one basis — no dealer is too small or too big for our team. And the tools may be similar but it’s how they are used in the program that make them unique for each dealer.”
Erin Harrington has 20+ years of editorial, marketing and PR experience within the security industry. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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