Conquer Back-Office Chaos With Customer Relationship Management

Learn why your security systems integration firm can’t afford NOT to invest in customer relationship management (CRM).

There are a lot of moving parts in the daily operations of an alarm company. To name just a handful: scheduling installations, scheduling service, scheduling sales calls, paying taxes, managing customer data, managing inventory, billing recurring monthly revenue (RMR), collecting past due accounts, etc. I can go on and on about the myriad tasks involved in running an alarm company, but if you own or manage an alarm company it’s something you should be quite familiar with.

In my 30-year tenure in the alarm industry, I have met with literally hundreds if not thousands of alarm dealers. I have witnessed a distinct trend: many alarm dealers are great at selling and installing alarm systems but not so great at back-office management. Billing and collections is one area especially that I’ve noticed suffers in many companies. They work very hard at building a base of RMR and then struggle to bill and collect from their customers. This can cripple a company’s cash flow.

Cloud Making CRM Systems More Attractive

For alarm dealers that struggle with everything I have mentioned, the answer may be a good customer relationship management (CRM) platform. A solid CRM system can effectively manage everything within the daily business juggling act that I laid out in the opening paragraph. The typical scenario is that companies have a program for their client database, another for billing, a barrage of spreadsheets with various data and maybe even separate pro-grams to track sales and service. Managing all these disparate systems compounds the amount of work to run the business.

It’s highly recommended that all alarm dealers decide on and implement a quality CRM platform so they can take immediate steps to clean up their recordkeeping and administrative management. I’m not going to recommend any specific system here, but suffice it to say that there are plenty of good systems out there that can help transform the way alarm dealers manage their businesses. The improved billing and collections alone will help improve your cash flow.

Valuable Information Always at Your Fingertips

Most alarm dealers are likely looking to sell their portfolio of accounts at some point down the road, and this is yet another area in which CRM can greatly assist. The system can aid dealers in maximizing their value by providing quality reports and by having all the data a buyer needs at their fingertips. Most worthwhile CRM systems include electronic document storage, so contracts and service tickets and the like are stored for easy review. Many CRM platforms can integrate with central station automation to allow data entry into the central station’s system so there is only one entry point for customer database, billing and monitoring data.

A good rule of thumb for any business is, “if you can’t mea-sure it, you can’t manage it.” Employing CRM can help alarm dealers generate all kinds of helpful reports to allow their companies to manage the business more effectively and to make better, more informed decisions based on real-time data. This ultimately makes the company more profitable and increases company value.

If an alarm dealer thinks it can’t afford to buy into a good CRM platform, I dare counter by saying that company can’t afford not to
have one!

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About the Author


Mark Matlock is Senior Vice President at United Central Control, a division of Lydia Security Monitoring Inc.

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