Turbocharge Your Security Company With These Best Practices for 2018
Check out these tips from security experts handpicked from a “Best Practices” roundtable session during the most recent SSI Summit.
What is the most valuable commodity in business? Some might say strong leadership. Others might argue adequate capital. There are those who would tell you quality people. And so it goes, and those are certainly among the most important ingredients for success.
However, I would make the case that it’s ideas — both those that are brand new and those that enhance an existing concept or are borrowed but exceedingly well executed — that are the most valuable asset.
While bolts of lightning can seemingly come out of thin air or from a single innovator, more often they are gleaned from openly exposing one’s mind to friends, family, colleagues, books, online, publications/websites like Security Sales & Integration and events.
Regarding the last avenue, some conferences and tradeshows are too hectic or disorganized to derive much benefit. But one that really hits the mark and gets those mental juices flowing is the SSI Summit, most recently held near the end of last year in Orlando, Fla.
Produced in concert with mirrored events hosted by SSI’s sister integrator-oriented publications CE Pro (custom home electronics) and Commercial Integrator (pro A/V), the unified Total Tech Summit (TTS) brought together 400 companies representing almost $8 billion in aggregated revenues and more than 335,000 installations.
One of the very special facets of the Summit format are the “Best Practices” roundtable sessions in which experts on the given topic share their knowledge, wisdom and advice from the stage before the focus is turned over to the attendees, who are divided up into groups and given time to collaborate on a solution to an assigned challenge.
Joined by Keith Kranz (Low Voltage Contractors), Scott Hightower (Verified Security), Ryan Matznick (Ackerman Security) and Joe Riotto (AVS Technology), I moderated the idea-generating “Best Practices Soup” session.
Following are the challenge questions along with excerpts of the wisdom that emerged during that brainstorming.
With Millennials becoming more of your customer base, how can you change your approach?
Use a web portal so they can engage and put in service requests, quote requests, and include links to YouTube videos to allow them to do product comparison.
Include images and videos so they can see products and technology on your website, and be able to purchase them through those links. Focus on online referrals, Yelp reviews, Google reviews, etc., because Millennials do 90% of their prepurchase research online.
Ensure fast installations and deliver the instant gratification they crave. Allow them to control their system from a smartphone, and have modular systems where they can easily add on cameras, Z-Wave devices, etc.
As systems become more complex, how do you create smooth, accurate and complete transfer of information from sales to operations?
Use a centralized CRM platform that gives you birth to death accountability. Further, have a CRM and an ERP that talk to each other so when sales hands off information to operations it’s all in the computer. Have handoff meetings to discuss the project, expectations and what was sold.
Streamline your product portfolio; give operations fewer variables to make mistakes. Maintain full accountability from sales through ops, with a full buy-in at all levels from management down.
Another idea is to pay everybody on margins and really get radical; if the job goes red, let the salesperson pay you back 25% of that project. Finally, whether things go good or bad, conduct postmortems to make corrections or facilitate repeatability.
What are the best ways to vet new technology/products and keep all personnel up to speed with tech/product adoptions?
Get vendors to come into your office to demo new products and make use cases to sales, tech and marketing. Determine if a technology is going to satisfy a customer need that you cannot already accomplish.
Evaluate that you can roll it out properly and support it; lean on vendors to assist and help it go smoothly. Proactively search for new technology by asking employees to do research, read trade pubs and gain exposure at tradeshows.
Beta test all new products; install at employees’ homes, get good, bad and ugly. Check with salespeople about product/technology voids in the field. Survey clients and customers about what they are looking for.
Try new technology with loyal customers willing to try new things and not freak out if there are issues. Get more golden ideas by viewing the full session video here. For more info on the SSI/TTS Summit, Nov. 7-9 in Pittsburgh, visit totaltechsummit.com.
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