Axis Sales and Support Programs ExaminedBy: Ethan Ace, Published on Dec 19, 2011
Axis recently ran a webinar overviewing their various sales and support programs for partners. In this update, we examine these programs, and how they may affect integrator partners.
As background, we recommend reviewing the detailed 19 page powerpoint reviewing Axis's sales and support programs.
Large Sales Force
The first thing which stands out in this presentation is the sheer size of Axis' sales force. Axis employs nearly 40 inside and outside salespeople for the US alone. This number does not include national account managers or business development managers. Offsetting this is that Axis does not use manufacturer's reps, unlike most major manufacturers, such as Sony, Pelco, Panasonic, etc. However, relative to Axis's sales volume (over $200 Million in the Americas alone), the size of their sales force is not surprising.
We have heard feedback from integrators throughout our survey process naming Axis sales reps as some of the most responsive they deal with. We suspect this may partially be due to the Axis sales force all being Axis employees. With only a single manufacturer's product line to focus on, instead of the numerous lines a rep firm may carry, they may be more knowledgeable and incented to support Axis.
Axis offers a number of interesting discount programs:
- Trade-in/Upgrade Program: The most interesting of Axis' discount programs, the trade-in/upgrade program supplies up to a 20% discount when users upgrade existing, discontinued Axis product or replace competitor's products. This practice is quite uncommon among hardware manufacturers, but is more common among VMS providers, a number of whom also have competitive replacement programs. Interestingly, nearly none of the integrators we spoke to knew this program existed, and Axis was unable to tell us what typical discounts amount to beyond that it depends on the particular project. As such, we are not sure if the actual average discount is closer to 2% or 20%.
- Demo/NFR Discounts: Axis supplies a 40% discount for products which will be used for demonstration or other not-for-resale purposes. Programs such as this are commonly used by partners for cameras for their own facility.
- Project Pricing: On projects consisting of $10,000 or more of Axis product, integrators may seek additional discount, assuming they have worked with the end user (specifying, performing Axis product demos, etc.). This is not unusual, as most of the major manufacturers run similar programs. Sources we spoke to inform us that 3-5% is the average expected discount.
The last area Axis touches on in this presentation is their technical support. Partners may call in on a different toll-free number than the general tech support line, and Axis claims an average answer time of less than one minute. Higher-level partners (silver and gold) also have access to second tier technical support, speeding support requests further. Integrators we've spoken to comment that most trouble tickets are solved within a day. In one integrators words, "They almost badger you until the problem is solved."
Axis also claims an expedited RMA process. If a product is found to be defective, users can request an RMA via tech support, either online or via telephone. Unlike many manufacturers, no troubleshooting is required for Axis partners to request an RMA. Axis offers free overnight shipping for DOA products, and a 24-hour turnaround for other RMAs. One integrator shared an instance with in which an older model PTZ camera was returned twice for repair. After the second return, Axis shipped a new, current model to replace the older model and avoid future repairs.