Security Business

MAY 2019

Find news and information for the executive corporate security director, CSO, facility manager and assets protection manager on issues of policy, products, incidents, risk management, threat assessments and preparedness.

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50 Security Business / / May 2019 Sales you would most prefer the customer choose. By proposal time, you and your customer advocates should be on the same page regarding pricing and the presentation of solutions. Of course, sometimes the customer will not be able to afford a sufficient solution, no matter how much tinkering has been done on the price and solution offer. In these cases, it is better to walk away before the proposal stage – instead of offering a compromised solution that will ultimately leave them unhappy and tarnish your reputation; or generate so little profitable revenue for your organization that it just is not worth it. Salespeople often wrestle with how much pricing detail to provide in their proposals. Some prospects require line-item detail, but unless it is absolutely necessary, most integrators shy away from this out of concern that a quick Google search will encourage direct price shopping. Keep in mind that what really differentiates your company is your services and their associated labor. If you can convince your customer of the value of the entire solution – which may include engineering, installation, integration, configuration, training and support – there is much less opportunity for direct price comparisons to be meaningful. Further, if you can offer technology solutions that, by design, require less labor to install and maintain, that is a win-win for everyone. Sometimes, for a highly coveted project, it is difficult to move the needle enough just by adjusting margins on materials, and labor must also be trimmed. As a general rule, it is best to quote a reduced hourly rate rather than to underestimate the actual labor hours a job will entail. 5. Software solutions. When it comes to proposal generation, there are many software options. Unlike accounting software, which is defined by a standard set of rules and laws for how businesses must manage their finances, there is a much greater variation in how sales teams approach selling – even within the category of systems integrators and technology sales and service providers. The software used to create proposals must accommodate the structure of your sales organization, the roles individuals play, how they approach creating estimates, how commissions are structured, and other issues. Almost all sales teams can benefit from features such as automated workflows, approval thresholds and automated commission calculation – but only if management can control how those items behave for individual system users with their own specific responsibilities and permissions. Proposal generation tools are built into many cloud-based CRM and business management systems. While such solutions help with information sharing, content management and document security, they often rely on third-party plugins to facilitate the creation or editing of custom elements within the proposal-building interface. Another common problem with broad-based, highly customizable software tools is that they require a great deal of investment and ongoing maintenance to make their functionality match the needs of your organization’s structure and workflow. Look for purpose-built software that has a track record with your specific industry, the technology you sell, and the sales challenges you face – sales software that gets you to 85-90 percent of where you want to be without the need for dedicated programmers and custom code development. It must offer flexible, prebuilt functionality to easily customize the balance of the interface to meet your specifics. Choose systems that can empower non-technical sales staff to more confidently quote with less assistance from sales engineers, as well as systems that automate calculations during the creation of estimates and enable document editing and customization within the software interface while limiting the chances of misstated terms and conditions that lead to unintended liability. Other business solutions, such as lead generation and ERP systems, are also a plus. Integrated solutions provide the best tools for the purpose while connecting each system seamlessly, bridging gaps and saving time and money throughout the organization. ■ » Tracy Larson is president of WeSuite, a developer of sales management software for commercial security integrators. Request more information about the company at Salespeople often wrestle with how much pricing detail to provide in proposals. If you can convince the customer of the value of the entire solution – engineering, installation, integration, configuration, training and support – there is less opportunity for direct price comparisons to be meaningful.

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