Happy 10th, MIPS!

Open Options will exhibit at next week’s 10th annual MIPS - Milestone Integration Platform Symposium - to be held Feb. 24-25 at The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas.

MIPS attendees will have the opportunity to demo the powerful integrations between Open Options DNA Fusion access control and Milestone System’s Video Management Software (VMS). While Milestone XProtect VMS has been accessible from within DNA Fusion for years, last year Open Options expanded the integration to include a new interface on the Milestone add-on — the XProtect Access Control Module (ACM).

“Our longtime technology partnership with Milestone Systems has produced comprehensive security solutions for our end users needing video and access control for years,” said Open Options Chief Executive Officer Steve Fisher. “We look forward to sharing our solutions at another great event and wish Milestone Systems a happy tenth MIPS anniversary.”

Milestone Systems hosts MIPS annually for hundreds of security professionals. The event is a unique and educational networking opportunity specially designed for sales and integration partners with a focus on IP video surveillance. MIPS has become an industry event bringing the top integrators, camera manufacturers, and software developers to a full 2-day event for networking and education.

About Milestone Systems - Milestone Systems is a global industry leader in open platform IP video management software, founded in 1998 and now operating as a stand-alone company in the Canon Group. Milestone technology is easy to manage, reliable and proven in thousands of customer installations, providing flexible choices in network hardware and integrations with other systems. Sold through partners in more than 100 countries, Milestone solutions help organizations to manage risks, protect people and assets, optimize processes and reduce costs. For more information, visit: www.milestonesys.com.

Spotlight: Ben Vestal – Salesperson of the Year Six Years and Counting!

At Open Options our employees are our biggest asset and a shining example of a dedicated team member can be found in Sales Manager Ben Vestal. Ben, who has a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business from Texas Tech University, has been the top producing sales team member for six consecutive years and in this Q&A he shares some insight on his success.

You’ve been the top producing Salesperson of the Year for Open Options for the past six years, but you didn’t start off in sales. How did you get started with the company and progress to sales? 

I was hired as the Purchasing Manager for Open Options in May of 2005 and was responsible for all of the purchasing and order processing for sales. I also managed the warehouse and was responsible for inventory control. I was in that position for about a year and a half before I transitioned into sales.

Prior to Open Options, I had spent the majority of my career on the procurement side of business — I negotiated contracts with vendors and with their salespeople. Having that perspective helped me when I transitioned to the sales side because I knew what it took to earn and keep my business when I was the one making decisions from the procurement side.

Around the end of 2006/beginning of 2007, Open Options was looking for someone to manage sales in the Texas market.  Prior to this, we did not have a dedicated salesperson for Texas.  We had relied almost exclusively on SecureNet, our sister company for the Texas market. I was looking for a new challenge and approached sales management about the opportunity. I was given an opportunity with the southern half of Texas as my territory, to start. From there, my territory has grown to as many as five states. Currently, my focus is 100-percent on the Texas market.

Open Options has a really strong sales force and you’ve managed to lead the pack year after year — to what do you attribute your success?

Well, it definitely gets harder and harder every year. Open Options has built a very strong team of regional sales managers. We have a great team and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.  We compete against each other internally with our sales numbers, but it is very much a team culture.

As far as sustaining and growing my market, momentum is critical. Texas is my territory and we have a very strong group of integrators who support Open Options. One of my biggest priorities is supporting integrators at a higher level to keep that momentum going. I’m here to make their jobs easier. They are our front line and I’m here to support them in whatever way I can to make them successful. I want to make sure they always feel appreciated and supported. At the end of the day, I feel most integrators do business with certain manufacturers because they want to. People buy products from people. I try to provide our dealers with the resources they need to sell and use our product, but I’ll also meet with their end users — or prospective end users — and provide presentations for them, as well. They know this isn’t just a sale for Open Options — it’s a commitment.

What is your approach to sales in an ever-changing market such as IT security?

Being plugged into the security industry is a must. We obviously don’t just deal with just our access control product. We have various manufacturer hardware and software integrations, integrators, dealers, end users — a whole variety of facets that make up our industry. Open Options does a great job at keeping our sales force educated on the market trends and advances in the field. Our sales engineers who serve as the liaison between software development and sales do a tremendous job as that information conduit.

When you approach a new integrator or dealer, how do you convince them to choose Open Options over the alternatives?

They understand that they will have both positives and negatives with any manufacturer. I emphasize that Open Options will be their best partner. We aren’t the biggest in the industry and we don’t want to be — but we are an excellent partner. It’s something we have control over and we can be mindful of every day. Do we treat our business partners the way they want to be treated? Hopefully the answer is “yes”. We try very hard to do the right thing even when it may not be the most appealing option.

Medeco Security Sales Conference

Open Options Southeast Regional Sales Manager Charles Johnson will spend time this week showcasing DNA Fusion’s access control software integration with ASSA ABLOY’s Medeco/Aperio locks — specifically, the ASSA IN120 Wi-Fi lock and the PR100 and K100 locks.

“Open Options relies on strong security-industry partnerships to be able to offer comprehensive access control solutions,” says Johnson.” As an ASSA ABLOY OEM partner, we look forward to exhibiting the superb features and benefits of our DNA Fusion access control software and the integration with the Medeco/Aperio line of locks. This partnership provides for a robust solution that meets or exceeds most customers’ needs.”

The Medeco Security Sales Conference aims to educate locksmith partners on the latest in security and lock technologies and electronic access control (EAC). The conference runs Feb. 5-7, 2015, at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa on the Walt Disney World property in Orlando, Florida.

To follow the Medeco Security Sales Conference — and the access control and security industry, in general — use the hashtags #2015MSCConference #accesscontrol or #security.

Founded in 1968, Medeco — an ASSA ABLOY Group — is a market leader in locks and locking systems for security, safety, and control. ASSA ABLOY is the largest global supplier of intelligent lock and security solutions, representing one in every 10 lock and security installations.