How Sales Professionals Use the Cloud for Solution Selling
By Mike Simon, Managing Partner, Connected Technologies LLC
When you want to be remembered, this is a true differentiator
For those security dealers embracing the cloud—congratulations! You have the perfect security management platform to deliver the best and most varied array of services to your customers and gain monthly recurring revenue. You’re on your way to having a more profitable company, focusing on tangible and predictable revenue from managing security and other services for your customer. The way to seal the deal in offering cloud-hosted security is by changing your sales tactic—so you and your bid- spec are remembered and stand out from the competition.
First, the things you shouldn’t do. Don’t be an order taker and don’t just sell boxes of stuff. Instead, start by learning everything you can about your prospect and potential customer—their pain points, facility footprint and security issues and challenges. Think of yourself as an actor preparing for your next role.
Research by investigating crime reports, view Google maps, browse the company’s website so you know what they do, the customers they serve and their overall philosophy of doing business. Primed with as much information as possible you’re in the perfect position to design a cloud-hosted and managed service solution that very well could be the pathway to a long-term client.
Solutions selling makes your proposal memorable
The process of selling cloud services requires a totally different approach and needs to focus on providing solutions to the customer’s challenges or everyday needs in order to be successful. Unlike the residential market, where decisions are made almost immediately, in the commercial space vetting a security provider can take an inordinate amount of time and depending on the project, 30, 45, 60 days or even more. So once all the bids are in, you’ve pitched your plan and the decision makers are assembled to review the proposals and ideas that came in months ago, how do you get remembered over the competition? One way is to provide a presentation that focuses on solutions, a simplified approach that hits on the issues at that particular prospect’s facility and gives them a real-world, hands- on look at what they can expect and how their issues will be addressed by the system once it’s installed.
Today, it’s all about the customer experience—and the cloud provides the means to boost the level of engagement and satisfaction.
Give a real solution presentation and not something generic
We all know it rarely works to just plunk down a brochure on the equipment or a generic sales sheet on your company. That’s what many of the other companies bidding the job may do, so don’t go that route. Cloud-hosted security management platforms and interfaces may have virtual sales tools that allow the customer to use the interface and discover its potential during the sales presentation. These demonstration tools can illustrate actual deployments and often can be tailored to the specific vertical market of the prospect.
Instead of trying to close sales with static presentations and unrelated projects, security dealers can run these virtual demonstrations from smartphone, tablet or laptop. They can share market vertical specific video surveillance clips, for example and alerts to the prospect’s email during the demonstration, so they know they will have the capabilities they need. The customer can also work with the demo while you are preparing the proposal.
Be the salesperson and dealer who is remembered
Not only do these types of tools provide a unique selling advantage and the ability to provide a more personal and knowledgeable presentation, but it allows dealers to differentiate themselves from other firms and competitive bids. When the time comes to make a decision on who the security provider will be, there’s a good likelihood that the facility manager or CSO who participated in your sales pitch will remember your solution—and that it was intuitive and easy to use—and pass that along to other decision makers at the table. Let’s be honest. Most of the pricing for the systems in the bid process will pretty much be in the same ball park. But when the prospect remembers your solution and what it can do for their company, they are no longer looking at the bottom line but focused on the fact that you understand and can deliver on their specific needs.
What’s the difference between great sales people versus those with low closing ratios? One who is not
an order taker but who takes the time to sell solutions—and the best way to do that is through the
Mike Simon is the managing partner of Connected Technologies LLC, a company he started after selling his long-running systems integration business in the Chicago area. Mike and his son Dan are the originators of the patented, award-winning Connect ONE® cloud-hosted security management platform. For more information visit www.simplifywithconnectone.com.