What tools do you use to brand your company and connect with customers?
Caswell: We offer all of the standard tools you would expect –A&E specifications, configuration tools and competitive information. But customers and resellers have responded most to our willingness to ensure the installation is successful. That’s key in the open system market since you don’t always know beforehand what issues you might see. We see other proprietary companies charging special integration fees and penalizing customers for trying to get access to the latest technologies. Companies that tried that in the IT space were Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), Prime Computer, Wang Laboratories and Unisys. Where are those companies now? Exactly where the larger proprietary players in the security market will be in a few years.
Edulbehram: We leverage all the tools that work well in this industry and the ones that work best include social and electronic media, tailoring marketing messages to specific segments of the market, strong customer support and building a long-term partnership with partners and customers. A mixture of all of these tactics makes for a strong marketing program.
Smith: We connect with customers by training our sales representatives to understand the customers’ business vertical-by-vertical. By having a strong knowledge of the industry in which our customers work, we’re able not only to know what drives their need for security but also how security will be sold within their respective companies.
Govro: We provide marketing materials and training to our staff to encourage selling the line card. We created marketing campaigns that include materials, constant-contact emails, blogs, Twitter posts and other updates to our clients. We work to create client relationships where they can take ownership of their technology. We provide training for our service contract clients, allowing them to be first responders. You need to be a social media junkie. We can intercept bad press just by being engaged in social media. When a product is having an issue we can usually intercept the "chatter" and relay it inside the organization. Social media allow us to push information to drive awareness of our brand. This is hard to track in ROI but critical to the growth of an organization. We have driven all awareness of our services, product, and intelligence via social media. I get comments all the time from clients that they are keeping up with me personally on Twitter or LinkedIn. I also use LinkedIn to get to the person I want to meet. while not all decision-makers use the Web site, it can be a great linking tool to reach people.
What benefits or incentives, if any, does your company offer to keep your clients?
Caswell: There are no gimmicks that work here. We look at every installation as a new opportunity to prove that open systems are the answer to this industry’s need for innovation, improved manageability and cost efficiency. I learned early in my career at GE that the vendor who works to fix a problem creates a stronger bond with a customer than a vendor who never has a problem. We work to build long-term relationships. That is the secret to scaling sales and creating long-term value for our customers and our investors.
Edulbehram: The main incentive we offer is superior customer service.
Smith: We offer customers low-rate financing and savings when you bundle products across our divisions and business units. For example, your business needs may include security cameras, an upgraded HVAC system and solar panels. Siemens simplifies the process and eliminates the need to contact multiple companies.
Govro: we offer training but we don't offer incentives other than manufacturer incentives. We strive to be excellent at all we do and work to provide high value at a fair price.