One of the main criteria a company looks for in adding a sales and marketing representative to their team is their ability to market what the company offers. Beyond selling a customer, they have to be able to close a partnership effectively and keep the partnership growing strong.
In today’s competitive market, vendors require more than basics. Meeting the bare requirements does not cut it anymore. This month, we talked to those in the trenches—marketing and sales experts for some of the leading solutions develops and systems integrators in the biz’—for their thoughts on the sales and marketing approach. We asked their strategies, how they approach customers, what resources and tools they use to market their brand, and what systems integrators and resellers should look for before adding a marketing and sales rep to their team.
What makes for a great marketing representative in this industry?
Lee Caswell, founder and chief marketing officer, Pivot3, Austin, Texas: We have a two-pronged approach to meet the convergence in the industry. First, we hire sales people with long-standing relationships in the security industry. This industry continues to have a relationship focus that is key to building trust since projects can have many twists and turns along the way and customers look to work with people that they trust. Second, we hire sales support engineers from the IT space who are able to work through the technical details of deployments and satisfy the demanding needs of IT organizations that are increasingly becoming involved in the buying and support of surveillance systems.
Jumbi Edulbehram, vice president of Business Development, Next Level Security Systems, Carlsbad, Calif.: We look for individuals who have successfully developed relationships with technology partners and channel partners. Second, we need people who are completely responsive to customer needs and have the ability to sell based on value, rather than price. Last, and most important, we need representatives to understand the value of the network and the benefits of IP-based technologies.
Justin Smith, senior marketing manager, Siemens Industry Inc.’s Security Solutions Business Unit, Buffalo Grove, Ill.: We look for creativity and the individual’s ability to employ critical thinking. Technologies and marketing media are evolving at an incredibly fast pace. This evolution is rapidly changing the marketing mix and the how and where we reach our customers. We can’t afford to throw money after every latest or greatest technology to reach the customer—we expect our marketing professionals to be driven by their analysis of quantifiable metrics before making a marketing investment.
Kourtney Govro, chief executive officer and owner, Sphere3, Kansas City, Kan.: We want someone who is personable and looking for a pain that they can solve. We go back and forth on the need to be a security “expert” in this role. While general knowledge is important we view the Subject Matter Expert (SME) as a separate role than the primary salesperson. The salesperson’s role is to create relationships, drive understanding of the customer’s pain and provide a solution that meets the client’s criteria. They have to balance relationship with budget and technology. Marketing is completely different than sales in the sense that person is a coordinator of information flow from our office to the outside world—they don't close deals. I really do encourage other integrators to take a look at having this role. It can provide a great opportunity to your community to bring someone fresh out of college into the organization. These individuals are usually ready, willing and able to learn the new technology and promote it in ways we industry elite don't understand. They bring a lot of value in identifying new ways to promote the company outside the norm. We made a conscious decision to hire a separate marketing person a year or so ago. This individual works with the sales team to drive our message to the market via social media, contact with "non-buyers" such as architects and engineers (A&E) and manage the marketing campaigns through the year.