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How to sell AV AVaaS

4 Steps to help you transition to an As-A-Service Model

Want to Sell Audio Visual as a Service but Not Sure How to Start?

Have you heard the big buzzword surrounding everything from industry publications to conferences…. Audio Visual as a Service?  It sounds cool and you’re thinking about jumping on the bandwagon, but you have a lot of questions.  How do you get started?  What does it involve?  How do you sell it? 

The As-A-Service (aaS) model has become very popular in other technology verticals such as Copier/printers, Telephony and IT and it is the next step in the consumption evolution (check out this blog on the most ingenious As-A-Service offerings for consumers in 2018). An As-A-Service model is usually comprised of a few components: hardware, software, installation and on-going monthly services.  Essentially, it is a way to repackage your project and services into a single, monthly payment. This changes the customer’s purchase from a Capital Expense to an Operating Expense.  The customer is consuming the hardware, software and services as a monthly expense with the expectation that the technology will be refreshed after a set period of time.  Think of it like leasing a vehicle…you get a new car plus all of the extras (oil changes, satellite radio, roadside assistance, etc) for a low monthly payment and in three years you can upgrade to a new vehicle.

That’s a big step up from the current project-based mindset of most systems integrators where customers only pay cash up front.  Cash is great, but you are losing out on several things such as:  recurring monthly revenue (RMR), refresh cycles and stickiness with the customer. The demand for managed services in AV Solutions is here, and we'll walk you through the necessary steps to make the transition to selling a full Audio Visual as a Service, or AVaaS, model.

Four Steps to Get to the AV aaS Model

1.

Get comfortable selling a monthly payment

2.

Include your Maintenance Agreement in the project…every time

3.

Train your sales team to sell a payment and overcome objections

4.

Determine your monthly recurring services

STEP 1 - Get Comfortable Selling a Monthly Payment

If you plan on moving to an AVaaS model, you’ve got to get comfortable selling a monthly payment.  This could be a major hurdle for your sales team if they are accustomed to only presenting a cash option.  Some sales reps may object saying things like, “it adds interest to the project” or “my customer’s don’t finance”.  Neither of these are true. Yes, financing does add interest to the project, but the returns the customer could gain by investing the cash into other areas of their business like marketing or adding headcount far outweigh the cost. In the words of oil mogul and billionaire Jean Paul Getty, "Lease that which depreciates, buy that which appreciates."

Next, the belief that your customers don’t finance is false.  Your customers are financing other technology purchases like copiers, phones, furniture and IT infrastructure.  Over 90% of phone systems are financed while over 95% of copiers/printers are financed.  With the advent of the Cloud and Software as a Service, or SaaS, in the IT world, more customers are consuming IT as a monthly payment.

So why are you still making customers pay cash for AV systems?  Even though financing does add interest to the project, it makes the buying decision easier for your customers.  At least give the customer the option of turning a large capital expense into a budgetable, monthly payment.  Customers are never offended by options…especially good ones. Plus, the process of selling equipment leasing to getting the deal finalized is easy. How easy? Much easier than you think, especially when working with a company like GreatAmerica that understands the AV industry and is a member of NSCA. 

You might be thinking, “My sales team doesn’t know how to sell a monthly payment.”  Here is a recent article that has three questions your sales reps can use to introduce a monthly payment option early and often in the sales process.

STEP 2 - Include a Monthly Maintenance Agreement on Every Sale


After speaking with hundreds of systems integrators, I am shocked at the low success rate of those selling maintenance agreements.  Every time I go through the check-out at Best Buy, they try to sell me an extended warranty.  So why isn’t your sales team selling maintenance agreements?  Or at least adding maintenance agreements to every proposal, every time?  What is your success rate of selling an annual maintenance agreement on a cash sale?  10%?  20%?  What about multi-year maintenance agreements?  I’m guessing even lower.

It’s much easier to sell multi-year maintenance agreements when you sell a monthly payment instead.  It simply becomes part of the monthly payment as a single invoice.  Imagine if you could sell a 3 year maintenance agreement on 20% of your projects.  How would that affect the profitability of your business?  Now imagine selling multi-year maintenance agreements with other managed recurring revenue on 40-50% of your projects when selling Audio Visual as a Service or AVaaS.  This is the success rate in many other technology verticals like IT and Telephony, and could be yours too.

See a webcast recording below on how to answer the most common objections partners receive when offering monthly payments.

Learn More

STEP 3 - Train Your Team to Sell the Right Way


The Future Best in Class in As-A-Service

In my opinion, you can only sell a true AVaaS solution after your sales team has conquered selling monthly payments and including service agreements in the sale.  The next step in the transition is actually bundling everything As-A-Service.  That means leading with an all-in monthly payment on every deal, every time.  Don’t breakout the equipment cost from the maintenance service. Also, do not give the customer a purchase option unless it is absolutely necessary. For best practices on how to make your quotes more appealing to customers, download this eBook.

This is a completely different sales concept that requires a different set of skills.  If your main point of contact with your customer is the IT Director or Facilities Manager you are not going to be successful with AVaaS.  You need to be talking to the C-Level… CFO, Director of Finance, etc.  This is a financial discussion about your customers’ best use of their funds.  The conversation is no longer about price but Operating Expense and monthly budgets.  It’s entirely different than the one your sales team is currently having with the Facilities Director. Consider having your sales team attend a Sales Simplicity Seminar, a two-day training session that teaches a proven sales process for how to sell Everything as a Service.

STEP 4 – Determine Your Monthly Recurring Services

Another decision to make before launching an AVaaS program is what will make up your recurring services.  If the customer is going to pay a consistent monthly charge, you have to provide services to justify the cost.  What services can you offer that will allow you to build a recurring monthly revenue stream and provide value to your customers?  Do you have a help desk?  Remote monitoring tools? 

There are many things you can include in your monthly recurring services package including:  Remote monitoring; Proactive maintenance; Help desk support; Onsite support; Preventative maintenance visits; Training; On-site staffing; Software updates; Expedited service calls, etc.  Build your portfolio of services and price it based on the value it brings to the customer.  Is it worth $100 per month or $1,000?  The more value you bring the more you can charge.

Summary


The As-A-Service model is nothing new.  You don’t have to invent the wheel because it already exists.  The copier, telephony and IT spaces have been selling As-A-Service models for years, and they’ve been doing it very successfully and at very high margins.  Your customers will not be “shocked” when you offer them AVaaS because they are already consuming other technology in this manner.  You simply have to package your projects and services to the customer in an easy to consume monthly budget.  Instead of making your customers cough up large sums of cash for their AV needs, help them budget a monthly expense for the technology and services you provide.

There a few variations to the traditional As-A-Service model. To learn about the GreatAmerica program, Audio Visual as a Monthly Payment, or AV AMP, which helps you offer an As-A-Service program without any of the financial burden, click below.

Discover AV AMP