The security industry’s prime disrupters are the customers, not technology.
Over the last several years, news headlines have shared glaring examples of the sales process gone awry, and sadly, abuses of customer trust are not uncommon. For example, we have seen a major national bank busted for fraudulently selling online banking services to clients without their knowledge and an international pharmaceutical company cited for practicing shady sales in order to drive up stock prices and defraud shareholders.
These examples show a sales culture that is incentivized to make the sale at any cost. Customer service and loyalty were set aside. While the security industry has not been as blatant about stacking the deck against its clients, it hasn’t been that long since end user customers were at the mercy of companies that opted to sell a patchwork of proprietary products that users found difficult to integrate into solutions that met their specific needs. The words, “convergence” and “integrated solutions” were spoken during the sales pitch, but seldom did the reality match the expectations.
The Difference Between Selling a Product and Selling a Solution
While new technology often gets credit for advancing security system effectiveness in today’s landscape, there are other factors that are just as important. Vendors now have the ability to leverage several business drivers:
- The positives of interconnectivity
- True depth of knowledge of organizational alignment and efficiencies
- Provide real-world metrics to the C-suite, including not only capital costs, but total costs of ownership
- How to achieve a return on investment
Gaining executive support and buy-in is the difference between selling a product and selling a solution. This builds not only trust, but long-term business relationships, along with new customer referrals and a security system that will serve present and future needs.
Smart Vendors Appreciate Smart Clients
While many security companies have transitioned to a solutions-based sales model, there are still some that continue selling product. The problem with a product focus is that as technology advances and organizational silos continue to crumble, stand-alone devices and proprietary pitches no longer induce end user excitement or loyalty. As infrastructure improves to meet the demand of today’s network-centric security systems, vendors are quickly realizing that smarter clients drive outstanding sales discussions. Treating sales like customer service and educating clients to be more knowledgeable are game-changing sales tools.
How It Can Be Done
There is no mystery why customers are devoted to Apple technology and praise their customer service approach. Its advanced sales techniques are intentionally grounded in simple customer service solutions.
At Boon Edam, we approach sales using customer service as a foundational tool. We believe in listening, and embrace both the spoken and inferred expectations of the customer to drive innovative and successful client partnerships. We care about the “Why.” For example, we ask, “why are you interested in optical turnstiles?” From the answers to “why” questions, we can discover the true physical security needs and expectations and discuss how different option can work.
We also discover what credential or identity verification and access control system is in use. This leads to discussion about the possible metrics that can be generated, ROI, and the best practices of integrating with our entrances and ensuring unauthorized entry doesn’t happen. We also ask what other technologies (cameras, temperature scanners, etc.), people and processes will be used to find out if any vulnerabilities may still exist. A product alone can’t solve it all.
The Customer is Disrupting and Shaping the Future
To prevent an unintentional decline in business, security industry vendors and their management should critically evaluate their existing sales structure and the sales culture they have established, even if sales are currently solid and clients are reasonably satisfied. Security manufacturing leaders should look to the future even when the present is on firm ground as exponential change in the security industry has been swift and unrelenting. While a solutions-focused sales ideology may seem like just good public relations, in this disruptive security industry, make no mistake that it is the customer – not the technology – that is driving this disruption.