301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

2.21.20 Experts in access control, video surveillance and intrusion share upsell strategies to make sure your legacy customers stay happy and put.

Prospecting new customers to grow your business is always a worthwhile pursuit, but it’s also super important not to overlook the legacy customers who’ve brought you thus far. Upselling accounts already secured can amount to comparatively easy money.

Below, sources from many of the industry’s leading manufacturers of access controlintrusion detection, systems integration and video surveillance products and services share their tips on how to effectively use the upsell to swell sales.

Upselling Access Control 

For dealers and integrators providing access control security solutions, Tracy Larson, president, WeSuite, points out, “It’s important that salespeople understand how much they have to gain by upselling existing accounts. From a management perspective, you should be breaking down how much of your organization’s total quota should be coming from upsells. Set expectations for your sales team, so they have clearly defined goals to strive for.”

Larson adds that it is important to reward your sales team specifically for those goals. “Upsells should be highly rewarded, because they help maintain a diverse pipeline that prioritizes customers at many different stages of the account relationship, from new to mature. They keep the pipeline fresh. And, upsells that include RMR are golden because they’re not just for the contract period that you’ve negotiated but, hopefully for a long time afterwards, assuming the customer loves you and wants to stick with you.”

Mark Duato, executive vice president, aftermarket, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions, stresses the importance of maintaining regular conversations with customers so you truly understand their businesses and the struggles they face.

“Newsletters and social media with unique customer testimonials and references can also be quite effective in stimulating interest,” he notes. “When you have a deep understanding of your customer’s world, you are able to help them in a more meaningful way. Offer unique solutions to help make their job easier, and they will realize that you are a valuable resource.”

Echoing that sentiment is Brach Bengtzen, marketing manager, ProdataKey. “Customers are always looking for solutions that make their life easier and reduce stress. They may be happy with how an existing system is performing at a security level, but if there’s a way to make it easier to interact with — either for administrators to manage it or for employees to use it — then they’re going to be interested. For access control solutions, offering services like mobile apps and hassle-free Bluetooth readers are great ways to upsell.”

Upselling with more affordable, modernized access control systems will be a game-changer contends James Hoang, partnering and integration manager, Speco Technologies. In fact, the company recently added a comprehensive access control product family — Speco Access — into its growing product line and will be showcasing it at ISC West.

Some tips that he offers on how to most effectively approach legacy customers to upgrade include offering to review their equipment for old software and equipment needing updates to ensure proper functioning. “Promote redundancy and advise customers not to put all their eggs in one basket,” he says. “Review the customer’s business and site requirements and offer add-ons and upgrades that will cut cost and enhance security.” 

“Find out first if they’re still using traditional keys and, if they are, remind them that if an employee leaves and they don’t get the key back, they’ll have to rekey the doors that are not on an access system. There’s an upselling opportunity there to advise they get rid of all keys for the system to now sell more access control doors supported by the cards.”

Getting and staying educated on the newest technologies to upsell is also critically important, Duato points out. Though on the other hand, too much information can be disadvantageous and overwhelming.

“Be selective,” he cautions. “Consider creating an initiative or two around high-value targeted solutions which your organization can support effectively. Provide your sales team and your customers with incentives to deploy a few of these solutions to get comfortable with the use benefits and to get a clear understanding of the return on their investment.”

Integrators can offer greater value to their customers if they’re not only knowledgeable about the technologies they sell, but about the security industry as a whole, Bengtzen points out. Being aware of competitive products is important, he contends, but so is understanding how complementary technologies might offer new integration options, or work more effectively in tandem with the systems they sell.

“Right now, for security integrators, it means looking beyond traditional security systems and thinking about building automation and other IoT systems that are converging with security. Also, it’s always important for integrators to stay on top of their certifications,” Bengtzen says. 

Larson makes a very good point, as well, when she says that salespeople who have flexibility in what they can offer, and a way to price and present it professionally and consistently, have an advantage when it comes to upselling.

“If they have the right sales tools at their disposal, they don’t have to fear that they aren’t pricing or presenting the upsell opportunities correctly. They also have a centralized way of tracking these sales, and the success against quota individual and as a sales team,” Larson says. “Software that brings this all together for them can make their jobs easier and, ultimately, help to close more deals. The right software can also help management structure how upsells get packaged as part of every proposal. The bottom line is that if you don’t include it, there’s zero chance you’ll sell it.”


Cameras with built-in video analytics can initiate intrusion system events when predefined alarms are triggered. (Bosch)

Upgrade Video Customers

For dealers and integrators providing video surveillance security solutions, Dahua North America Vice President of Sales Wayne Hurd believes that upselling can often be simply done with a thorough demonstration of a higher resolution camera, or a demo of a new technology. Seeing is believing, he says.

“With today’s megapixel cameras, the difference can be startling compared to old analog or even low megapixel cameras. Often, cost can be a hindrance when the infrastructure has to be replaced, but now with low cost HD technology, an old analog system can be replaced by exchanging only the cameras and head end,” Hurd says. “Using the existing wiring can provide an upgrade in features and resolution at minimal costs.”

For analog video systems, there is opportunity for dealers and integrators to upgrade their customers to IP-based systems using hybrid recording solutions that support both analog and IP inputs, notes Paul Garms, director of regional marketing for Bosch Security and Safety Systems.

“By adding IP cameras with built-in video analytics, end users gain advanced capabilities that enhance security, improve safety and gather data for making smarter business decisions,” Garms says.

Integrating the video system with the intrusion system offers an excellent upsell opportunity that can enhance security for end users — especially when the cameras are equipped with onboard video analytics, Garms adds.

He continues, “Cameras with built-in video analytics can initiate intrusion system events when predefined alarms are triggered. An analytic alert can fault a point on the system’s control panel, which prompts the panel to communicate the alarm to the monitoring center or to send a video snapshot to the user. This helps to alert to potential risks before or as they occur — such as detecting a perimeter breach after hours.”

Integrating intrusion detection and access control technologies within the video management system gives users centralized control of security and video devices and doors, he explains, and this increases operator efficiency and simplifies system management.

Tom Cook, senior vice president/sales, Hanwha Techwin, says that one of the keys to upsell video customers is to be in front of them as much as possible and evaluate their system to determine how it’s working and if it’s meeting their issues. He suggests recommending how they can better their system by adding more cameras or new technologies such as AI, analytics, etc. “It’s also very important to review the system with the customer as many don’t realize what their system can do or what they need it to do.”

From a sales and marketing perspective, in order to upsell a legacy customer it’s, quite obviously, important to not lose that customer. Cook says, “Shame on you!” if you’re not calling your customers or having people manage existing accounts. “It’s so hard to gain new customers and you don’t want to replace old ones with new ones,” he points out. “How do you call on these customers a lot without being annoying?” he asks.

The art of the phone call seems to be going away with this generation, Cook observes, but the capabilities of social media or eblasts can be leveraged to keep in touch with customers. “Dealers must make sure they have a database that’s up to date and includes every single customer they have. I suggest focusing on the business aspects of social media such as LinkedIn and using it to keep them up to date on their newest product offerings, certifications etc.”

Hurd concurs. “Make sure that you are always touching your customer through some type of media,” he echoes. “This can be as simple as a monthly email newsletter. You want your customer to think of your business when they do want to upgrade or need added or new services.”

Understanding common challenges in a variety of vertical markets can help dealers and integrators define and sell solutions that address those issues. They should show existing customers that they understand their needs and have a solution to improve security and facility control, Garms emphasizes.

“They should ask questions to get the customer thinking about needs in a new way. Are there areas of the facility that require greater security? Are there currently manual security processes they could streamline? Are there notifications or other technologies that could improve the efficiency of security personnel and the safety of employees? These are just a few questions to help dealers and integrators upsell systems to their customers.”

Call it old school or not, but being in front of the customer and nurturing that relationship is the single most important thing, Cook concludes. “People buy from people. Sure, if you don’t have a good product you won’t last long, but people like working with people and companies that they can trust.”

Share Intrusion Expertise

For dealers and integrators providing intrusion detection solutions, Amy Strickland, marketing manager, ELK Products, offers this advice on how to effectively upsell existing customer: “Ongoing communication after the initial sale/installation should be a key component to growing sales through existing customers. It’s important to establish your company as a trusted resource and this can be achieved through email and social media campaigns that provide valuable information, tips and advice.

“These tools also allow installers to gain valuable insight into a customer’s interests and desires, providing opportunities to offer tailored solutions that fill a real need. Installers need to understand the DIY offerings within the market and offer compelling information that emphasizes why a professional solution is better,” Strickland continues.

“Technology is moving at a rapid pace and likely wasn’t available when you originally installed the system, so now is a good chance to reconnect with those customers and share your expertise,” LaRock says. “They are going to need it, and you can provide the personal care and service lacking from DIY solutions from Amazon and Google, because most customers want a pro on their side when it comes to navigating new technologies. The best way to sell the benefits and your expertise is to gently walk them through a demonstration of what the new technology can do for them.”

One of the best ways to do this? Use yourself as an example. “Bring up your own system on your phone and explain how it enables you to remotely monitor and secure your home or business. A personal security system from a security pro is going to be one of your best testimonials. Share the view from your own doorbell camera, walk them through the clips you have saved, show them how you can use two-way audio to answer the door. They will quickly see how much more visibility and control you have over your house, and they will want that for themselves,” adds LaRock.

Melody Parham, director of sales, U.S. and Canada, Telguard, recommends that dealers and integrators looking to upsell intrusion customers consider any monitored accounts still relying on POTS for alarm transmission as low-hanging fruit. The transition from traditional POTS to cellular, particularly in the commercial space is an opportunity for any integrator to update an account to more reliable technology, she believes, while adding recurring revenue to their business and providing an excellent ROI for their customer.

“Cellular radios are a more advanced reliable solution for alarm transmission than the POTS,” she points out. “Transitioning allows a win-win situation for the integrator and end user. Cellular solutions are more cost-effective for the end user while at the same time providing an additional source of recurring revenue to the integrator.”

Doing technology updates with customers can also provide a viable upselling opportunity, says Jack Conard, director of sales training, DMP. “Teach them what’s new and how it can make their lives better. People want more free time and less stress, so when you do tech updating, find out what their hot buttons are, from a feature and benefit standpoint, to specify what makes sense to them. Show how new technology integrates with their system and how it can make their life easier.”

Bandwidth Key to Integration

For dealers and integrators looking to upsell integrated security systems solutions, Frank (Skip) Haight, vice president of marketing, ComNet, advises that bandwidth is the way to go. “Specifying a Gigabit or even 10-Gig network backbone is incredibly important now,” he says. “With more and more IP devices going on the network, megapixel cameras, access, intrusion, and so much more, bandwidth is going to be the critical bottleneck. Recommending all Gigabit media converters and switches will go a long way in avoiding network capability issues in the future.

From the perspective of a transmission product manufacturer, he says, finding a vendor that offers a full suite of transmission products that can solve all the challenges you may be facing.

In addition, as more and more security hardware become PoE, being able to design and implement a PoE system can save a lot of money for the end user and give the smart integrator an advantage in securing the project by reducing needed equipment and the labor to install it. To best leverage the latest technologies and offerings to upsell, Haight recommends staying on top of the standards. 

As each of our participants attest, upselling opportunities abound for dealers and integrators who don’t overlook their legacy customers when searching out new business and revenue streams. Sometimes, the best way to plan ahead is to take a thorough look back and determine which upselling tactics will be most effective and profitable for customers you already know and do business with.


MedixSafe KARE cabinet

SIDEBAR: An Access Control Add-On That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

Many integrators are missing out on a significant sales and upselling opportunity. Key control has not been adequately considered by electronic integrators because it was not a real opportunity until now. But that has changed.

MedixSafe has brought to market key control cabinets that connect directly to any customer’s existing access control panel. These KARE (Key Access Ready Enclosure) cabinets are translating into new and viable upselling opportunities for integrators.

No access system is truly complete until you control the keys. An access control system can easily be compromised if the keys to doors and stored assets are not secured. KARE cabinets improve a customer’s existing access control.

KARE gives the user control over their keys by limiting access to authorized users only. It also provides an audit trail with the customer’s existing software. KARE is available in three different technologies — HID, Multi-Class and Bluetooth format card readers for mobile access. A key override is built into the electronic lock. The KARE reader provides a Wiegand output.

KARE is available in multiple sizes, including mini and XL. More than a place to store keys, it gives the user control over their keys by limiting access to authorized users only and knowledge of who has accessed keys and when.

Jim Turner, president and CEO, launched MedixSafe in 2009 when it first began designing and manufacturing narcotics control cabinets for the EMS market. The company’s product lines have grown extensively over the years, along with the demand for them. Memphis, Tenn.-based MedixSafe’s key control solutions are now meeting the key and access control needs of end users across many industry sectors.