Sales VPs Ranjan Krishnamurthy and Dan Hartman on Deploying in Rain and Shine
Whether the weather cooperates, VPs of Sales Ranjan Krishnamurthy (West) and Dan Hartman (East) have experienced first-hand happily incredulous customers who now own reliable, solar-powered technology operating in subzero temperatures and tropical thunderstorms alike.
Krishnamurthy and Hartman deepdive into deploying reliable power, the highly anticipated $299/month subscription option, the team’s commitment to customer service and a Silicon Valley electric car manufacturer who has recently, enthusiastically signed up for all the above.
What has your experience been so far with solving customer’s problems with our solutions? What have been some of the biggest challenges and most satisfying wins?
Dan: The problem that I see in the Midwest is providing enough power in areas that don’t have a ton of sunlight. So for [Oil & Gas client], for example, the fact that they had tried out one of our competitors and a large percentage of their units failed in the field meant they ended up looking elsewhere. [Client] found V5 Systems, and we’ve had some really good success there because we are able to power units in areas that don’t see a lot of sun. It’s also been great learning to see how we can add to our platform to better serve customers. We’ve been able to really educate customers on the difference between our solar power and the off-the-shelf type of panels that are out there. Our solar panel is a huge selling factor for our offering.
Ranjan: I think we should talk about [Silicon Valley electric car manufacturer]. This is a brand new one for us. [Manufacturer] was monitoring parking lots with zero power and was concerned about car thefts. They were using large trailers with three cameras each for $1200 per month. The trailer units never worked; they always failed. We did a very quick POC for them using OnSight Portable Surveillance Units, and they loved their solution. Whenever they change parking lots, they can move the units as they go in 30 minutes. That’s huge! Anyhow, this deal happened very, very fast. Right now we just have a little bit of their potential business, but this solution is definitely going to go nationwide for them, for the same reason Dan said. Our power platform makes us stand out.
What strikes you as a common thread for customers’ pain points?
Dan: Power – it’s a universal pain point. That’s what I see as the difference-maker between us and competitors. Some of the competition provides backup power. Some of them can provide power for a couple of days. But we are the only one, in our form factor and at our price point, that can provide power for five, seven days. It’s just such a unique form factor, and we are able to solve power issues in places as stormy as the Midwest.
Ranjan: He nailed it.
Talk about the multi-sensor platform and how that can help to reduce gun violence.
Dan: We just had a call with a manufacturer’s representative for a Texas-based company. And part of our presentation to them was gunshot mitigation, our platform, and how all types of sensors work together. We discussed how we collect evidence via LPR, via 360 degree cameras to aid the acoustic response to gunshots. All of these elements help law enforcement respond quicker, more accurately. [Manufacturer’s rep] was blown away by the approach and the reception was incredibly exciting for us. I definitely expect to see some market penetration and growing awareness among police departments.
Talk about subscription – how does it work and what does it entail? How have customers responded to the V5 Subscription Package, which includes…?
Ranjan: Yeah, it’s been really successful. In terms of what it entails, we offer the same services and technology with a subscription pricing option […] It’s super useful if you don’t have the [capital expenditure] budget for that expense to make an acquisition outright. We sell this to all our partners and [distributors], and our end customers love it. Some police departments, for example, do not have a large CapEx budget, but they can expense $299-a-month, no problem. Customers love that it’s all-inclusive.
Dan: I think whether it’s law enforcement or corporate America or whatever it is, they have a budget for the year. Let’s say someone has a need for 15 units, for example, right? But they can only purchase a few outright. So then at that point we say, okay, well then why don’t we consider subscription as a way for them to get all the units they need, all of the coverage that they need for their campus or for their city and then keep it under budget. That’s when we really start talking about it, when there are budget constraints in play.
What are some benefits for resellers of the recurring revenue model?
Ranjan: They love the recurring revenue. All the services – that’s a steady and predictable cash-flow.
Dan: Enterprising resellers and partners were pushing for this model for a while. Our resellers often see a value in having a mix of both recurring and CapEx inventory.
We consistently get feedback that our customer-facing team and customer support is exceptional. What sort of relationship do we have with our customers, and how is it critical to our overall ethos as a company?
Ranjan: Relationships are obviously very important. But a lot of customers want actual, useful advice. I think what we offer them, in addition to strong, responsive relationships, is the sense that we will tell them what they need to hear, not what we think they might want to hear.
Dan: Obviously we have a seasoned team that knows their products very well, but I recently had a conversation with a regional manager who said “one of the reasons we love working with your team is we call you, and you answer the phone. Whether it’s seven o’clock at night or seven o’clock in the morning, your team is extremely responsive. They have a sense of urgency.” Now, we may take that culture for granted and say everybody does it, but not everybody does it. So I mean we’re very flexible. We’re very responsive to our customers. I don’t know if it’s just the culture that we have here, but that makes a huge difference. I’ve often heard from customers that even if they found somebody who had a comparable product, they would still prefer to work with us because our team is very detailed and responsible.
What’s the most out-there application a customer has wanted to use our solution for?
Dan: I mean, we’ve had some interesting stories of footage that our units have captured. The most unique? We have some units trained on power lines where we’re looking at eagles’ nests 24/7. We’ve worked on some fairly unique applications, but this is definitely one of a kind. I didn’t realize there was a budget for birdwatching. Guess I really underestimated that market!