How to Make Interactive Services a Part of Every Sale
Connected Technologies Director of Business Development Sam Rizzo discusses how security dealers can make interactive services a part of every sale in the latest ‘Hot Seat.’
Traditional-minded security dealers hear a frequent refrain these days, whether it’s at association meetings, industry conferences, from distributors, marketers, trade publications and elsewhere: Value-added services not only afford the potential to grow an account base with stickier customers, but also provide a predictable recurring monthly revenue stream (RMR) stream. Sam Rizzo, director of business development for Connected Technologies, a provider of cloud-based security and home automation platforms, joins the discussion to elucidate the topic further.
What’s happening with hardware margins and other trends that are affecting a dealer’s bottom line?
Being a successful alarm dealer and systems integrator today is more than mere survival. It’s about focusing on all the RMR streams at your fingertips – if you start thinking more succinctly about profitability, return on investment and longevity with your current and future customers.
Are companies like Comcast and the DIY sector going to take business from alarm dealers? What about emerging technology firms offering security and the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Many other forces are at play, for example, mass marketers and the utilities entering the security market will probably start lowering monitoring costs resulting in pricing wars that will affect traditional dealer central station revenues and even multiples of recurring revenue for those companies poised to sell. If dealers do not have other viable options for additional RMR streams it could put them in an unpleasant situation and without adequate cash flow.
What can be done to offset some of these trends and put dealers back in a commanding position?
This scenario doesn’t have to play out this way if you know how to position your company properly and focus on all the valuable added services you can provide to your customers in this rapidly changing technology landscape. Both large and small commercial integrators have been embracing new technologies and interactive services with good results.
Don’t just think security. Think about an integrated, total solution. Security can be the beginning, but it’s not the end-all. When you visit a potential customer or prospect, don’t leave without selling interactive services. Lead with interactive services and espouse the value to the customer. That’s what customers want and will count on you to provide.
Any particular technologies that are emerging strong in the move to services and RMR?
One extremely beneficial technology available to alarm dealers and integrators today is Web- or cloud-hosted security management interfaces and platforms. With these types of services, your customer doesn’t have to maintain onsite servers or put additional strain on the datacenter, and is also relieved from worries over constant software updates. It’s all on cloud servers, hosted away from their facility, backed up with robust redundancy and available anywhere, anytime, thanks to the Internet and mobile connectivity.
Make sure you know the nomenclature of the technology. There is a difference between Web-based versus Web-hosted or cloud-hosted services. With Web-based platforms, all programming is done onsite with the customer’s servers. With Web-hosted services, everything is accomplished on offsite, redundant servers – with no headache to the customer and the strength of the cloud backup automatically engaged.
What kind of company philosophy is required to garner more RMR?
Make it a point to offer cloud services to every customer and make sure you are “all in.” It’s not something you dabble in. It has to be a mindset and philosophy instilled throughout the company, with buy-in from everyone from top to bottom.
The more services you offer your customer as a bundled, comprehensive package, the more they will use the services and the ‘stickier’ you will become to that customer. And when you have a total solution offering, you put yourself head and shoulders above the competition.
Start with intrusion detection but also offer access control, video surveillance, video verification, energy automation control and critical environmental temperature monitoring as a complete, bundled package. Don’t just say you offer burglar alarms and walk away. Cloud-based services make everyone’s lives easier. Users have control and simple access from any Web-enabled device. There’s no software to install, maintain or regularly update. Alarm dealers and integrators can manage and support all their customers from the Web, and provide the ever-valuable proactive, remote maintenance services so critical in keeping customer’s systems healthy and running 24/7. For the user, the added bonus is a sharper return on investment and lower total cost of ownership with fixed operational expenses they can budget for now and into the future.
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