His goal is to have the managed services team touch the customer every day. “We should be integrated into the customer’s organization, having them request a service or stating something they need from us,” Orr said. Key cards might be an example, he stated. It is a small task but reminds the customer that the integrator is always around to help.
Not everyone has a separate managed-services sales team. “We do not have a separate sales force,” Szell said. ADS trains all 80 of its sales team members on both managed entry and managed video.
“Sales reps have to be trained on advanced services,” Szell said. “It is not an easy process. It is a lengthy process. You have to train, re-train and train again. Then do it over.”
Many observers note that sales reps, especially industry veterans, are used to selling standalone systems. In the crunch, they revert to what they know best.
“Managed services is a different animal since you are selling the value and benefit to the customer,” Szell said. That results in steady RMR. However, it is not an easy process.
When he looks for a salesperson, Orr wants someone with an IT background, preferably with experience at an organization that provided IT services to other companies.
For one thing, the rep has to understand the nuances of the system being offered. That, in fact, is the basis of SaaS—the vendor understands all of the system’s intricacies better than the customer.
“This is all a technology play on the back end,” Dubey noted. “On the front end is how you sell it.”
Security Install Solutions uses Brivo and DMP for their offering. Orr is impressed with the training and flexibility of both. “Having a manufacturer who ‘gets’ support is critical,” Orr stated.
“To go after this part of the market, you need someone who understands that sale,” Orr said. “It is easier to make that person a ‘true believer’ than it is to have someone who is reluctant to change their ways doing the job.
“You need a salesperson who sees why it is a better value for the customer,” Orr added.
At the initial sale, the sales person should not get too technical. Rather, the rep needs to realize the customer probably does not understand the technical side and doesn’t want to learn it. All they need to know is that they simply need to pick up their phone and the integrator’s rep will come running.
Still, the rep needs to understand and communicate the basics of the technology. But the overriding need is to assure the person on the other side of the desk that the integrator is a real partner. That is the sale.
Sales plans tied to RMR
Expect to compensate that sales person well. Many managers say sales incentives should be tied to RMR.
“That account rep has the opportunity to touch the system, expand it, add services,” Orr noted. For that reason, he believes sales people dealing with managed services should get incentives based on month-over-month or year-over-year sales and not one-time successes.
Szell noted that their sales compensation plan is based on value generated to the company. “A high RMR generates a high commission. Sales people get excited,” he said.
In the case of managed services, a call-back is usually a good thing—an opportunity to convert the trip into a positive sale. Even if the call only requires adding some new pass-card holders to the system, the rep has turned the contact into a rewarding service for the client.
The managed services pitch
“We are in the central station business,” Szell tells customers. “Our business is event and database management. We are here 24/7. We are available at 2 a.m. Saturday so your problem doesn’t have to wait for someone to get into the office on Monday morning.”
It is a compelling argument that results in $100 to $200 a month in RMR.
Szell said an integrator needs to go into managed services with eyes wide open. “It takes time for sales to understand and embrace it,” he said. “It takes time before they present it to the customer.”
He cautioned that it will be at least a couple of months before even the best-planned managed security services rollout begins to blossom. But when it happens, the RMR is rewarding both to the sales rep and to the company.