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12 min read

SBA 279: Selling Access Control Integrations

By Phil Zito on Sep 17, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Topics: Podcasts

In this episode we discuss how to sell very complex integrations.

We discuss the importance of identifying your vertical market and stakeholders, we also discuss how to tailor integrated solutions to meet your customer's needs.

We then cover how to address the risk of selling access control to building automation integrations. 

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Phil Zito 0:00
This is the smart buildings Academy podcast with Phil Zito Episode 279. Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome to Episode 279 of the smart buildings Academy podcast. And in this episode, we are going to be discussing selling access control integrations. Now I'll be pretty honest with you, if I was making a list of integrations I would try to bring to the market and bring to my customers. Access Control would probably not be on the high point. But I will say and you're probably like, Why the heck are you leading into a podcast by telling us that this is probably not what we should be doing. There are situations in which leading with access control integrations actually makes a lot of sense. And so what we're going to do in this podcast episode is we're going to talk about really aligning your integrations with business stakeholders, aligning your integrations with the vertical market, understanding kind of the problem statements and drivers of your stakeholders and your vertical market. And then we're going to talk about kind of how does this all tie into access control integrations? As always, everything that is discussed can be found at podcast smart buildings, academy.com, forward slash 279? I don't know. Why did I say 278? This is episode nine, folks. I'm sorry. It's been a long week. And once again, that is podcast dot smart buildings. academy.com Ford slash 279. All right, let's dive in. Okay, so the first thing I want to do is define two terms, and that is stakeholder and vertical market. So one of the things that I often do with our sales team here at smart buildings Academy is we say, all right, who is the decision maker, and who is the influencer. And that's basically a little strategy I learned from a program called targeted account selling, which was used at Johnson Controls, I was never fortunate enough to go through the target accounts selling program, but I got to kind of learn some key concepts of it, kind of from just being part of the sales cycle and sales experience. And I will tell you, from that experience, I learned the importance of identifying your stakeholders, identifying who's the decision maker, who's the influencer, who's the subject matter expert, who can be a blocker, etc. So as you go about developing an integration, as we've discussed in previous episodes, it should be based on a use case, it should be tied to business value, but you really have to understand and identify the stakeholders that you're going to be selling things too. And one of the other aspects of selling integrations is vertical market. Now, I've talked about how much I liked the healthcare market. I've talked about how I like the educational market. And I will tell you, depending on the market you're in, you can go and sell integrations. So for example, in the healthcare market, there is a thing called rtls, real time location services or system depending on who you talk to. And the rtls can be passive or active. And rtls can be used to track assets. Those are things like monitoring machines, etc. Or they can be used to track people like nurses. And so one of these security related integrations that we did when I was with Johnson Controls, was that we would monitor the rtls and the panic notification on a nurse's badge. And if there was an issue with like a patient, especially in like public hospitals, where you may have some folks who are a little unstable, potentially, and not saying that people who go to public hospitals are unstable, just that. Sometimes you get unstable people in those, just due to the fact that they serve kind of

Phil Zito 4:22
the communities that tend to have a need for mental health. And I'm like, how do I say this without sounding horrible? Basically, you know, let's just be honest, right? That's, that's the only thing to do. You know, the homeless population, they tend to have mental health issues. And so you bring them into a public hospital because they're not going to go into a private hospital. And you know, they can attack the nurses. And because of that, right, they attack a nurse and the nurse panics and hits that panic button. The integrations we would do would be like to pan the nearest three cameras on that location. of the nurse so that the security staff could see, unlock and lock doors so that the security responders could get to the nurse quickly or the nurse could isolate him or herself from the threat. And this was an access control and video surveillance integration. This was not a building automation integration, though. And so now you're starting to see like, how and where do we integrate things to build an automation, and we'll get to that we'll talk about selling that later in this episode. But what that comes back to is a vertical market, a vertical market of healthcare, and specifically, inpatient services and surgery centers, right places that are at they have people in, and so we would go and identify the key stakeholders for that vertical market, right, the chief nursing officer, maybe the chief medical officer, maybe the facilities, VP, maybe the security director, and we would bring those people in, and they would be influencers, they would be decision makers, they would also be potentially blockers. And we would have to bring these people in, and we would have to do kind of what we've done in the previous episodes, right, we would have to identify a use case, a business use case, we'd have to identify the ROI, which is nurse safety, response time, to incidents, etc. And then based on that use case, right, we would then start to build out the technical use case, and we would sell to the key stakeholders. But the key point here that I want you to understand, and this is where a lot of people get hung up when they first start selling integrations. So solving a lighting integration, selling an AV integration, those can be pretty universal across vertical markets. But as you start to get into more of the security as you start to get into non building systems, so we start to move into things like flight tracking, or health care systems, or healthcare infotainment, or digital signage, or things like that, that are not truly building facility systems, then you're going to have to start to really think through the vertical market you're approaching, because at that point, we're out of the bailiwick of the typical plan in spec. This is dev 23, or dev 25. work. And we're moving into like, stuff that honestly in a lot of cases isn't included in the construction budget. It's included in like the FF and E budget. And it is basically a whole nother technology group that oversees that in the construction of the building, and then also in the management of the building as well. So we really want to understand vertical market. So another example of how this might look is health or not healthcare, I just gave you a healthcare example, education. So we think of a higher education institute, right? Maybe we'll go with the public safety again. And so we can go with gunshot detection technology, we can go with public announcement technology, right? So we're talking about stuff on the 900 ASM band, we can talk about video surveillance, we could talk about access control, we could talk about pulling all of that together into a piece of solution. And that would be an integrated, basic solution for maybe a active shooter scenario. So you've got an active shooter on a campus, utilizing the communication system that communicates both mobile as well as public announcement, we're able to, you know, push to the students via SMS text via public announcement so that they know to shelter in place or to avoid an area, we can lock and unlock specific areas. We can use video surveillance for first responders, we can actually have a video surveillance system that can create a URL that is sent to the first responder so the first responders can open it and they can get threat intelligence as to what is going on on site. And they can figure out how to respond and where best to respond to. Now once again, this is not a building automation integration. But as we start to leave this integration series, I want you to start to think about what is possible as a true master systems integrator, how can you you know, identify common threats, common risks, common problems that exists specific to vertical markets, and then pairing technologies together, you can go and actually bring those technologies as a solution to a customer. So let's talk through what this will look like and I apologize, it's gonna be longer than our normal 10 minutes. That we try to keep these episodes under. But I just think this is really pertinent. So I don't really feel or hear people discussing this. The integrations I do see it seems to be people talking about prop tech, or people talking about energy. And that's all well and good, but I don't,

Phil Zito 10:18
in my experience right now, that doesn't seem to be the primary driving factor

Phil Zito 10:23
for a lot of these building occupiers. So let's talk about this. So the first thing right is we want to sit down, identify our stakeholders, we're going to draw on a piece of paper in our CRM, and we're going to draw out our customer map, we're going to identify our stakeholders, we're going to identify whether they are a buyer, slash decision maker, influencer or blocker. And once we've identified that we are going to have our vertical market identified. And using the methods that I've talked about in many previous episodes, we're either going to be attending trade groups, we're going to be reading periodicals, we're going to really study our vertical market. And we're going to understand really what our vertical market is looking at, from a needs perspective. And then from that needs perspective, we're going to bring this back to our customers perform a needs analysis, and suggest ways to improve the key KPIs key performance indicators that our customers are facing. So we can say, all right, your average response time for a nurse panic is x, the industry is why you're above the industry by you know, whatever z, and we are going to decrease it by W. Right? And so you go and you figure this out. And then you associate a value with that nurse response time. And that is a way that you can sell one of the integrations that I described previously. Now, how does this look from a access control to building automation perspective? Well, in my experience, there's not a whole lot of uses for access control, to building automation integrations. And once again, you may be saying, Phil, why are you teaching this? And I will tell you, because in my experience, this is one of the more difficult integrations to do for the reasons I mentioned in Episode 277, and 278. And so I really wanted to cover this because you are going to run into specs that ask you to integrate with security access control systems, or video surveillance systems. And you need to understand once again, how do you solve this, the first thing you need to do whenever you go about selling this, she need to understand what system Am I having to integrate with? And what system do I have? Once you understand those two things, then you can figure out can I even integrate, because you need to figure that out before you even respond. Because if there's no way to integrate, you have no drivers, there's no API's, you have no way to consume the data and pull it into your building automation system, then quite honestly, you should either take exception to that scope, or just choose to no bed. Now, if you do have a way to integrate, now you have to go and figure out what is the actual use case, because it's one thing to be able to integrate and pull in the data. But if you can't pull in the right data, then it doesn't matter that you can integrate, you may be able to integrate with the access control system, or the video surveillance system. But if you can't pull in the correct data, let's say you can integrate with the video management system. Let's say the way you can integrate is you can put a URL on your graphics in your building automation system. And that allows you to see via like Single Sign On allows you to automatically log in and see the video. Or maybe you can put it in an iframe. But if they want it natively embedded in the graphics, you may not be able to do that the video feed may not be native html5, there may be a variety of issues with natively embedding video from video management systems. And then the same with access control, you may be required to unlock doors via the building automation system, which I think is a bad idea. But you may be required to do that. And if the integration to the access control system is monitoring only, which a lot of them are, is saying, Hey, I'm going to monitor the status of the rooms, whether they've been active or not active. That's all well and good. But if you can't command those, then even though you can integrate, and you can pull data from the access control system, you're not able to actually meet the expectation of that use case. So I really want you all to hear this. It's not just enough to be able to integrate, you have to meet the intent of the use case. And I'm sure you all have seen this time and time again when you go to integrate a chiller or an air handler or some sort of device and you try to go perform a sequence but the points that you need In order to perform that sequence are not exposed with that integration. And so then you end up because you bid the job and you got paid, you end up having to submit a change order having to put a controller on there having to add IO and next thing you know you've got slippage. slippage is cost overrun or labor overrun. So you've got your subcontract overrun. So you've got slippage, and now your margin is decreased, your executed margin is decreased compared to your estimated margin. And so you are not making as much money on the project as you had forecasted that you were going to make. So you need to be cognizant of that. All right. Okay, that was a lot. I know we went a little bit over the time, but I thought it was very important for us to discuss. If you have any questions about integration, please do not hesitate to ask, please do not hesitate to go to podcast at smart buildings academy.com for slash 279. If you like our approach to selling, if you like our approach to how we look at the market and the strategies we take and just all this information I'm sharing, encourage you to sign up for our VA s sales bootcamp. It will not be live because we're not doing another live one this year as of 2021. But you will be able to watch all the recordings and participate in the forums, knowledge checks, and as well get access to all the templates and bonus resources. If you want to attend the live sales bootcamp course, there will be an opening for 2022 I'm not sure when that will be yet.

Phil Zito 16:36
And you can find out how to sign up for VA s sales bootcamp by going to podcast at smart buildings academy.com Ford slash 279 and scroll down to BS sales bootcamp. Thanks a ton. And I look forward to talking to you next week. I know I said we were going to be moving into metering and everything like that, and we will. But I actually want to address something that came up with one of our students in the sales Bootcamp, which is what is open. And also I want to address another topic, which is going to be IP controls versus serial network mstp controls, pros and cons, and how do you decide when to use which so we will be discussing all of this in the next several episodes. Thanks a ton. Thanks for being here. Oh, and if you don't mind, if you listen to this on iTunes, please go on iTunes and leave a five star review saying how these podcasts have benefited you. We give these podcasts out three times a week freely to the industry. And by going and leaving a review. It really helps with the algorithm and helps people find this podcast. So I would really appreciate it if you could take like two three minutes, go on iTunes, leave a five star review and just say what you find beneficial about these podcasts. Thanks so much for listening. And I hope you have a great rest of your week. Take care

Phil Zito

Written by Phil Zito

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