From evolving technology choices to business best practices, change is a constant hurdle for the average security integrator. In 2022, integrators are dealing with issues ranging from supply chain and distribution shortages, to surprise price changes, to tracking RMR and even dealing with a merger or acquisition. This sponsored Q&A with Tracy Larson, President of WeSuite, explores how sales management
How has the supply chain crisis changed the dynamic between integrators and distributors, and what is sales management software’s role?
Integrators who purchase parts through distribution once safely assumed that distributors would have enough inventory to meet their needs. They could quote a customer without fear that the recommended parts would not be available for months, suddenly be more expensive, or were outright discontinued. Part databases used for quoting only required periodic updates. That has really changed! The supply chain crisis has turned quoting into a potential minefield.
I spoke recently with Boyd Ferrin, General Manager at Mountain Alarm in Utah. He said he has never experienced such a hard time getting parts or seen prices increase so quickly in the 34 years he’s been in the security business. I hear similar sentiments from other clients.
Ferrin explained that because Mountain Alarm uses an integrated solution that combines sales management software with its accounting platform, changes to parts and pricing within the electronic catalog his salespeople use occur instantaneously whenever accounting updates its database. The likelihood that an estimate includes elements based on obsolete information is practically eliminated.
Sometimes, the availability of parts changes from when a quote is signed to installation. Now, that’s happening more frequently. Swapping in just one new part may have cascading effects on other aspects of the project, such as increased labor costs, different cabling, or incompatibility with other parts and systems. Mountain Alarm’s GM told me that having sales management software in place has been a lifesaver because plans have repeatedly changed, requiring multiple revisions of quotes on a massive project for the University of Utah Medical Center.
How does software help track, manage and compensate RMR-based sales?
Quoting RMR often includes many variables, making it more complicated than including a single part number on a quote. Sales software designed for security sales can simplify the process without a great deal of expensive, upfront programming and customization.
For example, within WeSuite, if RMR is based on the number of devices or licenses in a system, salespeople can easily add at the part level. If an RMR service applies to the entire project, that’s fine too. Salespeople select it from the catalog of parts and services, indicate the contract length and billing frequency, and the software takes it from there. Quotes and proposals automatically display the RMR items with the correct, calculated price.
Quoting software can separate RMR from other project line items and even calculate commissions separately based on the RMR being sold. When integrated with financing tools, sales software allows customers to sign contracts directly for services and monitoring fees, while financing, equipment, and installation costs are calculated and invoiced separately as monthly payments. Once the technology is paid for, only RMR payments remain.
How does sales software help ease the transition in a merger or company acquisition?
When combining two completely separate security companies into a smoothly run organization, sharing a centralized sales management software platform gets everyone on the same page. It defines processes so that all salespeople know what to do and what’s expected.
Also, the software can help train new salespeople and standardize branding, ensuring that proposals represent the newly combined organization in a consistent, professional manner.