Axis Sales Essentials Training ReviewedBy: Derek Ward, Published on Nov 05, 2013
Axis has been barnstorming across the US, with a 1 day training course to "ignite new and run-rate business" for attendees. And at $99 for the day plus a camera included, it certainly is not expensive. But is it even worth the time invested? In this note, we share our experiences with the training, commenting on strengths and weaknesses plus who is the best fit for this.
Axis Sales Training Summarized
Axis' training consisted of a full day, broken up into multiple sessions, covering both general sales topics as well as Axis-specific information and approaches, including:
- Steps of the sales cycle
- Types of salespeople
- Common objections and how to overcome them
- Demonstrating Axis product
- Sales presentations
The non-technical portion of the day was fairly standard, with fairly typical claims:
The Sales Cycle
The presenter's outline of the sales cycle including prospecting, qualification, presentation, closing, etc., was fundamental. He recommended looking for leads via progressively lower-level investigations:
- 30,000' view: Investigate the potential lead online, research their products and services, etc.
- 10,000' view: Check the facility using Google maps, keeping in mind potential threats in the surrounding area and location.
- Ground level: Investigate the facility in person. Drive around the building, note existing security equipment in place.
Tips were also given on how to assess whether a project is fully qualified based on budget, actual need, and timing.
The presenter strongly recommended live demos be part of the presentation process, and the potential client be left with a functioning demo to "test drive" to further the sale, a point which was met with mixed reaction by attendees. Only a few attendees did this, and numerous questions were asked about how long the client should be left with the demo, potential for the demo user to become overwhelmed and confused (potentially reducing the chance of a sale), etc.
The demo / test drive section led to a discussion of Axis Camera Companion, and its simple operation, which reduces the possibility of confusion. However, since the majority of integrators likely use third-party software with Axis cameras, this has limits.
Types of Salespeople
The presentation went through non-technical ("Salesie") vs. technical ("Techie") sales people, a perpetual debate in the industry. It suggested a combination of the two (which they called simply "Expert") was most successful, and promoted their Axis Certified Professional program as one way to increase technical expertise.
Attendees of the session we attended reflected the biggest objection to IP cameras (and Axis especially) as price. Though steps have been made (lower cost "budget" cameras, serverless systems such as Axis Camera Companion, etc.), IP cameras remain more expensive in many cases than their analog counterparts or low cost Chinese kits.
Axis suggested that systems be sold on "value", a term often vaguely mentioned by most manufacturers when the issue of price comes up. Some of the points listed as their value proposition were fair, and indeed some of our integrator members' comments on Axis, such as:
- Wide product line, so cameras may be best suited to the application.
- Better product longevity and stability
- Quicker product selection through Axis-specific design tools, more thorough than most manufacturers.
However, some were vague or debateable, such as these two most glaring examples:
- "Never sell direct to End Users": This was the strangest claim made in these benefits, considering poor channel protection is one of the number one complaints about Axis by integrators, and it may be readily found from literally hundreds of sources online.
- "Best choice for your customers, we guarantee it": Guarantee is a strong term but it was not clear if anything stood behind such a guarantee.
Overall, this portion of the presentation felt more like it was overcoming integrators' objections to Axis' often higher price than giving real information on how to overcome end user objections.
Axis Buyback Program
One valuable point Axis did bring up was their tech upgrade and buyback program, which is not highly publicized. This program offers a discount up to 20% off MSRP (at Axis' discretion) when replacing obsolete competitor and existing Axis products:
Axis opened up the technical portion of the presentation with images showing a comparison of analog vs. megapixel viewing a license plate, an marked increase in detail. They then moved on to another showing a single 2.0 megapixel camera covering more area than four analog cameras in a parking lot, a comparison which ignores any number of key factors including light performance, WDR, lighting, etc.
They went on to discuss PPF requirements for identification, specifying 80 pixels across the face, which averages to about 150 pixels per foot. This is much higher than most estimate, but does not take into account lighting or image quality issues which can drastically affect identification. Users should see our PPF guide for further reading.
Non-Security Uses of Video
What followed next was our presenter telling attendees to "think outside the box", meaning using the same offerings to solve different problems or arrive to new, innovative solutions. An example given was at a pet center, where customers could view and watch their animals remotely through surveillance cameras. Essentially, he wanted the attendees to think of ways to use surveillance in an atypical way that would add more benefits to an existing system.
Should You Attend?
For those new to the industry, the Axis Sales Essentials is a fair intro to the sales process and some basics of selling IP video. For $99 for a full day session, and a M3004-V camera provided, it is inexpensive.
However, the information was fairly rudimentary, both on sales techniques and technology, so for those who have even modest experience already, it is probably not worth the time.