Access Control: 1, 2, 3, 4, SMBs Must Secure their Doors

June 19, 2012
The 1-4 door access control market is a sweet spot for integrators

The recession and slow recovery weren’t kind to most parts of the security industry and the one to four door access control market was no exception. From 2009 through much of 2011, access control in those smaller environments remained a tough sell. But the market began picking up in the last quarter of 2011, and the first quarter of this year.

Now that the one to four door market is coming back, there are a few things you can consider in terms of making those sales—specifically for integrators looking to build recurring monthly revenues through managed access.

How to appeal to a small business

Selling in the smaller market is a different beast from much of the general access control market. The enterprise-level market is more of a “pull” type of sell, rather than a “push”—meaning corporate decision makers generally “send down the edict” to implement an access control solution to increase security, generate detailed data reports, decrease re-keying expenses, etc. In other words, there’s a pull for the services.

On the other hand, in the one to four door market, access control really has to be more of a “push”—meaning those smaller businesses, property managers and landlords have not really considered access control and need to be “pushed” into the opportunity by a good sales pitch. When a small business owner learns of the advantages of access control, including potential cost savings, they become interested.

The “push” has been difficult in recent years. During the down economy, potential customers were interested, but not ready to pull the trigger due to financial considerations. But that is starting to change and potential clients are ready to engage again.

To get those clients, consider a separate sales force, even a small one, that’s focused specifically on the smaller door market. It is a different sell than the large projects, in that it is a one or two-call close. Volume is the name of the game. Many of our salespeople are not used to this type of sell and it may be hard to get your traditional sales force interested in making these small deals happen. However, if you have a few salespeople focused solely on that market, with a whole different compensation package geared toward quantity, you can make inroads.

Who to target

Property management: There are certain areas where your sales force should focus its attention. The key area for sales in the one to four door market remains property managers. They want cards for the front, back and a side door, and they do not want to re-key when tenants move in or out. It is easy for a property manager to roll the cost of the system into the square footage of the building and its leases.

I consider professional practices such as doctors’ offices or dental clinics as part of the overall “property manager” category. Often, those types of professionals will build a small strip center to house their practice and then lease out the rest of the space. As property managers, they quickly grasp the idea of access control and its benefits.

Organizations with remote facilities: Businesses that have smaller, remote facilities, such as utilities with substations, or cell towers with an on-site building is another fertile market. They may only have a few doors, but these organizations want the ability to grant access to staff and to be alerted when someone is in the remote facility.

Retail: Small business owners with multiple retail locations may want to put card readers on doors of a few buildings to enable employee access and to cut down on re-keying costs when those employees leave.

Building RMR

RMR was once based solely on alarm monitoring, but today, great strides are being made in remotely managing access control, video monitoring and video storage – even opening doors remotely as a virtual doorman. The one to four door market is a sweet spot for selling managed access services and building your RMR.

Selling a managed access service in this market is a great way to take some worries away from the client, while producing a nice revenue stream for your business. It can also build upward to, for example, the virtual doorman offering, if your firm can offer and add video and other technology to the system.

There is already a good deal of interest in integrating burglar alarm systems with access control systems in the one- to four-door market. The integration makes sense for property owners, who gain increased intelligence with low cost.

Choosing a technology to offer

There is not one particular type of technology that dominates the one- to four-door market. As far as the card technology, proximity cards are the standard, though there has been a steady transition to smart cards. As Near Field Communication for cell phones develops, it will be ideal for small access control settings.

One thing that all the technology for the one- to four-door market tends to have in common is that it must be easy to use. And that, of course, is all part of the sale. We are trying to make it a simple proposition to the customer, while helping them understand that access control concept can be a tool for them. With managed and hosted solutions, all they need is Internet connectivity to access the system. In today’s data-intense world, that sort of ability is almost expected, if not demanded.