Essential Pieces to the IP Video Sales Puzzle

Security pros tips to help systems integrators sell IP video technology to end users in the small retail space.

Good riddance to all those objections that once hindered an IP video sales call. Cost, lack of reliability, latency, bandwidth and security concerns, the lot of them. All those types of doubts and protestations have been largely deep-sixed.

Yet, winning over the legions of both new prospects and existing analog customers in the marketplace requires a solid sales strategy, skilled salespeople and smooth execution. Among the keys are finding the best migration path for legacy systems and delivering benefits to prospects too compelling to ignore.

SSI spoke with industry professionals who ply the IP marketplace frontlines to learn some no-nonsense, straightforward advice on what it takes to successfully play in this space. Find out what these security pros have to recommend, plus learn why analytics and other business intelligence tools are becoming a viable sell in small retail and elsewhere.

Devising an IP Migration Strategy

Because nearly all larger video surveillance installations have moved to IP in the past few years, we’ll focus on selling strategies geared toward end users mostly below the 16-camera type installation. Call it the small and medium business (SMB) market where analog still maintains a viable presence and where price is one of the key contributing factors to the end user’s decision.

No matter if the client is new to video security or in the market to upgrade an existing system, the first step is to gain a full understanding of their expectations, explains Bosch Security Systems‘ Sean Murphy, a regional marketing manager for video systems. What factors does the client care most about? How are they currently attempting to solve their security or business-related issues?

“Once the dealer has a complete picture, it is possible to develop a system that solves their needs in order of priority while keeping costs of components, installation and operation in check,” Murphy says. “Many times technology can play a significant role [in achieving the client’s security needs and goals].”

When gaining an understanding of the SMB client and their specific requirements, devising a plan on how to sell them will oftentimes boil down to two factors, explains Steve Carney of Tyco Security Products, director, product management, video.

No. 1, does the customer have existing analog in place they want to continue utilizing? It is common the client’s legacy cameras still have a few years of viability, but maybe their DVR hard drives are wearing out. “Such a scenario leads to a conversation about hybrid technology and generally what IP has to offer,” says Carney.

Secondly, installing security contractors will want to explain the value of the solution and how long it is going to be in play. For instance, down the road the client may be interested in leveraging analytics or cloud-based applications or mobile apps.

RELATED: Real-Time Analytics Becomes a Viable Option for Small Businesses

“For a customer who has any real interest in gaining some additional advantage out of their video system – whether it’s business intelligence or enhanced awareness or mobility – an IP solution will keep them open for future advancements where any analog solutions will not,” Carney says.

At home, the client is likely watching television on an HD panel. They’ve likely grown accustomed to HD pictures shot with a smartphone. Salespeople, therefore, can use resolution in the context of the customer’s daily experience. An IP vs. analog side-by-side comparison becomes a key sales tool to visually put resolution into perspective.

A simple demo can be given to show a customer what CIF resolution looks like, followed by 4CIF resolution, then provide an example of an image from a 2-megapixel or higher camera. A demonstration becomes especially useful in a sales conversation if the customer has actual security concerns.

“If you are selling to small sites you have to be able to do this in a pretty time-effective manner,” Carney says.

“You have to be mobile so you want to have a sales pitch that can remotely, effectively [view in] to either an integrator or manufacturer’s demo system.”

Don’t Sweat the Budget-Sensitive Client

When selling to a cost-conscious or budget-strapped customer, once again the primary objective should always be to first establish and understand what the client’s needs are. The sophistication of the system will vary based on its intended use. For example, general video observation does not require the level of detail that license plate capture or facial identification will.

Educating the client about product capabilities and then managing their expectations with regard to what their budget will allow is the imperative. The process becomes one that is a consultative sell rather than a sales driven interaction.

“When budget is the strict focus of the transaction, there is the potential for an unsatisfactory outcome,” says Michael Leary, a network product specialist with Tri-Ed Distribution. “Meeting budget constraints is irrelevant when the IP video system fails to fulfill its objective.”

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About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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