The Silvertrac Extra: A Blog & Podcast for the Security Guard Industry

025: Should I Use Security Reporting Software as an Upsell or Value Add?

Jun 24, 2015 11:16:10 AM / by Chris Anderson

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On today’s episode, we cover a question that we get almost every day from customers: should I use security reporting software as an upsell or value add? This ended up being a significantly longer than normal episode because we both have so much to say on this topic.

Let's start by defining the upsell approach vs. the value add approach and then we'll talk about the pros and cons of each. 

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Defining The Terms

Using security reporting software as an upsell means factoring in the cost of the software and the devices, plus a profit margin, and adding that amount to the price of your bid. You add it as a separate, optional line item, so the customer can choose to opt out or accept the higher price and get the advantages of the software.

“What you’re doing is you’re taking the cost of using the system, and you’re passing it on to the customer, with a margin, of course,” says Johnny. 

On the other hand, the value add model requires you to front the cost of the software. It becomes the default way you operate, and you use the system as a differentiation tool. Rather than use the software as a way to make more money upfront, you let it save you money by increasing efficiency, as well as improving customer retention.

Pros And Cons Of Upsell

We all know that margins in the security industry are extremely slim, so it makes sense that operators want to guarantee that they can cover the added costs. It’s easier to justify spending money on security reporting software when you can directly point to a price increase that will keep margins intact. Additionally, the upsell method is less commitment, as the high price creates a barrier so that you only use the software for customers that really want it (and who are willing to pay for it).

On the downside, it becomes a much harder sell when you don’t use the software on a regular basis. Companies that pursue the upsell method often don’t even buy the software until they win clients with it, which means they’re trying to pitch a system they’ve never seen in use before.

“You better know what you’re talking about when you go in the door,” I tell Johnny. “They’re going to have some questions if you start throwing prices at them.” 

Since it’s more difficult to pitch to customers with the upsell method, you tend to end up with many accounts not using the software, and that reduces the efficiency and cost savings that come from having all customers on Silvertrac.

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Pros And Cons Of Value Add

“This is something you and I advocate for in 99% of situations because there’s just so many benefits of using the value add model,” says Johnny.

The biggest point in favor of value add is that it serves as a feather in your cap, differentiating your company from competitors in a meaningful way. Tweet: Reporting software included as a value add is a great way to differentiate your security company in a meaningful way http://bit.ly/1SKRvmQ 

Whereas upsell presents the software as a limited tool to improve elements of your service, value add allows you to demonstrate how it makes every part of your operation more efficient, all without charging the customer extra.

Not only can you win customers by demonstrating the extra value of the security reporting software, the added efficiency on the job improves customer retention and referrals. By integrating all these customers into the software, you save a lot of time and money by reducing paperwork and human error.

This software reduces the headaches and stresses of working with customers as well. It allows you to address issues proactively, reducing the level of training required and identifying underperforming officers before it becomes an issue with the customer.

The downside, of course, is the upfront cost of the devices and software, as well as the setup time for all customers, not just those that purchase the upsell. Luckily, we have a number of tools to reduce upfront cost and setup time (such as allowing guards to use their own devices rather than purchasing new ones), and we’ve seen it pay for itself through increased efficiency, retention, and referrals time and time again.

What's This Mean for Me?

So what does all of this mean to you? We'd love to help you figure it out. There are times where the upsell approach is the right fit, and there are times in which the value add approach is the right fit. Our team of experts has worked with 100's of companies just like yours to figure out the best approach for their situation. 

Click below to book a demo or simply leave us a comment below and we'll be happy to help you weigh your options!

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Chris Anderson

Written by Chris Anderson

Chris is the Founder of Silvertrac Software and has been working in the security industry for more than 25 years. He enjoys working with our clients everyday to help them grow their businesses and really enjoy what they are doing.

Chris currently lives and works in Seal Beach, CA.

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