ADI, PSA Security, Other Distributors Discuss Dealer Support
This SSI roundtable brings together execs from ADI Global, PSA Security, Jenne, PowerHouse Alliance and more to talk about how they are better serving security dealers and integrators.
What tools does your company deploy to better serve your dealer/integrator customers?
Scarane: Four I would like to highlight are our state-of-the-art web order entry that includes online account inquiries and emailed shipping confirmation with UPS and FedEx tracking.
Also, our RF scanning technology that ensures same-day stock-to-dock shipping and inventory accuracy so you receive the items you ordered each time.
Next, is our competitive pricing on products from more than 250 industry-leading vendors through eight locations. That includes expert staff to help every step of the way, with an outside sales team providing onsite and one-on-one assistance.
Lastly, our automated billing service downloads in-voices directly to most accounting packages and allows electronic payment of invoices.
Hamberis: We offer online ordering, EDI capabilities and on-demand product reviews. In addition, we created a customized tool, the SNAP app, where dealers can find the right product, manufacturer datasheets and warranty information, as well as access calculators that help them accurately determine field of view, bandwidth and storage, and volt-age drop.
Brennan: Our web-based resources are available 24/7 at jenne.com. Our presales support can enhance revenue opportunities, including generating a quote based on a blueprint and/or aerial view of the building.
This can assist in determining the optimal number of cameras needed, integration with other technologies where applicable and system demonstration capabilities.
Security camera staging is also offered to ensure preliminary configurations, licensing and labeling have been completed for product shipments.
This enables resellers and integrators to rapidly install systems on customers’ networks or as a stand-alone unit to help save programming time and resources upon delivery.
Jenne can configure camera IP addresses and populate spreadsheets; apply a name to the camera; label shipping boxes with appropriate locations; assign passwords to cameras; and perform other custom programming.
Tisdale: Our recently enhanced voice-enabled mobile app now allows our customers to sign into their account simply by speaking into their phone, as well as search products and order.
The most recent enhancement to our e-commerce website and mobile app is Shop My Branch — giving customers the most convenient way to order top-selling products.
ADI Global Distribution’s systems sales and support team is comprised of trained specialists proficient in all key technology areas.
Whatever our customer’s needs, this team of experts is available to help them offer complete, integrated systems to their customers and grow their businesses.
Our Project Registration Program, in conjunction with our key vendor partners, can help our customers build complete systems at a lower cost.
It provides a competitive advantage and can help increase sales and improve margin opportunities.
Ric McCullough (V.P. Sales and Customer Service, PSA Security Network): PSA has an online store that provides secure pricing, ordering and tracking capabilities as well as order and account management for our integrators.
Additionally, we utilize Electronic Data Interchange with vendors to automate ordering and invoicing volume. Our back-office efficiencies include ERP customizations and optimization to improve the internal and external user experiences, as well as automated AP processes and virtual filing.
Holzer: With 40 locations nationwide, there is almost nowhere in the U.S. where we can’t have products to dealers for same- or next-day delivery.
Most members also have 24-hour will call, online ordering and self-serve locations with longer than normal business hours.
How do you build dealer/integrator relationships so they trust product recommendations and advice?
Scarane: Over the past year, eDist Security has made significant advancements to serve as a value-added resource.
Our team’s No. 1 priority is to provide our dealers and integrators top quality customer service through granting them direct access to the products, resources and education they need to succeed.
Our branches are staffed with dedicated and knowledgeable security experts who are committed to providing technical support and customized solutions nationwide.
We also work closely alongside our key vendors in implementing marketing and training programs that promote their top-selling and newly launched products.
We’ve also taken a different approach in how we communicate and market our expertise and value-added resources to existing and potential customers.
We publish a monthly specials flyer, highlighting the industry’s premier products across all categories, to cater to both existing and potential customers that is offered through both print and digital channels.
The flyer is circulated via direct mail to approximately 5,000 integrators nationwide and sent to all of our branches. The flyer is also offered in a digital version via our flip book platform as well as through email.
Each day we are exploring new methods of integrated marketing and how to reach existing and potential customers effectively and efficiently.
This includes strategically advertising in trade publications, communicating with dealers via our newly launched SMS text messaging program as well as live streaming vendor trainings so that educational opportunities are available to security integrators nationwide.
eDist Security has also become much more active on social media.
Tisdale: We hear problems and issues with everyday installations, products, and technologies oftentimes much sooner than the manufacturer, which puts us in a position to assist the customer quickly and effectively.
We continue to invest heavily in educating our sales team so they are up to date on the latest products and technologies so we can, in turn, help our dealers with their concerns and, more importantly, guide our dealers to areas of growth for their business.
Our customers are first and foremost to us, and by showing a high level of dedication to the growth of their business, it helps build a long-lasting partnership.
For this reason, ADI Global remains the premier one-stop shop for our customers managing tens of thousands of sales transactions per day.
Brennan: Jenne builds relationships by consistently performing the basics, while being a reliable resource and efficient on the manufacturers we represent.
Jenne is not competing to hold the largest line card. We feel we best serve our manufacturers and partners by having extensive knowledge of the product and programs we support.
We have built our security line with product that is top quality and provide our integrators the opportunity to secure business and maintain profitability.
Also, we are supporting many of our traditional voice and data resellers as they expand into the security market. Loyalty has been derived by working with our partners to increase their product offerings, revenue and profitability.
Hamberis: It’s all about partnership and listening to what problems our partners are trying to solve for their end user.
Our goal is to serve as a trusted advisor to our partners, so that together we can work toward overcoming their challenges and helping them to deliver the best solution to meet their end-user customers’ needs.
McCullough: The foundation of our model is built entirely on trust. We are owned by our integrators and our sole mission and purpose is to help them better serve their customers.
We work closely with local independent and field sales reps from our vendor partners to bring the knowledge and expertise directly to the integrator. We never sell to end users and only support vendors and service providers that fit our integrators needs.
Does your company sell direct to end users? How much of an issue is manufacturers circumventing the distribution channel? What about DIY and MIY?
Holzer: We do not sell to end users; PowerHouse is an alliance of wholesale distributors that sell only to dealers or integrators. There are issues with manufacturers selling directly to the end users through portals on their websites, which can lead to problems that sometimes distributors have to address.
Many factories don’t have the personnel to offer the level of customer service required for direct sales. DIY for us isn’t a major concern, because our integrators mostly work with those who want a more complex, integrated system that requires their expertise.
Hamberis: ScanSource never sells to end users. We feel you need to honor and respect your place in the channel ecosystem. There are still a few key physical security manufacturers that do not utilize distribution, and several that have mixed models.
We find ourselves selling and supporting them on one deal and then competing with them on the next deal. We do not participate in DIY or MIY, as we would be competing with our reseller/ integrators and/or manufacturer partners.
Scarane: We do offer DIY services, but on behalf of our dealers, not the end user. We do not sell directly to end users but we are now handling fulfillment and logistics for DIY companies.
We do not sell directly to end users because that is in direct competition with our dealers’ customers. The manufacturer selling has been ongoing for many years, usually to larger, national integrators and dealers.
Brennan: Jenne does not sell to end users. The reseller/integrator community is our focus and we will not take actions that will compromise these relationships.
With the manufacturers we represent, this has not been an issue. I would caution manufacturers that are channel-centric from selling direct, as you must heavily way risk and reward.
It is worth a few points of margin to maintain channel integrity. Due to the lack of credit flexibility and logistical expertise, manufacturers are modeled around selling a lot of product to a few partners, while distributors are modeled to sell a lot of product to a lot of partners.
DIY and MIY have had an impact in the SMB space, and the product is usually sourced through e-tail. We have not seen a major impact in the medium and enterprise business space.
Tisdale: ADI Global sells to licensed installers and wholesalers. Unlike our competitors, we do not hold a GSA contract or state contracts but instead choose to support the channel.
DIY and MIY certainly have a place in the market. Today, only 25% of homes have alarm systems. If the DIY channel can allow more homes to be protected, that’s a benefit.
We feel it will help to provide a path for the homeowners to upgrade to a more professional system at some point with professional monitoring.
McCullough: First and foremost, we never, ever sell to end users. That goes against our DNA. We are an integrator- owned company with a singular focus on helping make our owners, members and customers more successful.
DIY and MIY are important trends to be aware of in the security market. We still see this as mainly impacting homeowners and home security sales.
But this also impacts commercial sales as consumers will expect that same serviceability and ease of use for the products they use at work as well as home.
If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!
Security Is Our Business, Too
For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add sales to your bottom line.
A free subscription to the #1 resource for the residential and commercial security industry will prove to be invaluable. Subscribe today!