Managed AV Services Model Means Change for Integrators—and That Can Be Scary

NSCA Pivot to Profit speaker Chris Peterson knows why some AV pros are nervous to transition to managed AV services model, but they should put nerves aside.

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We’ve seen the success that many AV integrators have had in making the transition from a company focused on hanging and banging and selling boxes to a firm that considers the life cycle of a project starts long before the first display goes up and ends long after the punch list is complete.

We’ve marveled at the success some companies in this space have had in putting managed AV services first, telling their customers they don’t want to do any projects that don’t also have a service agreement included as part of the deal. In fact, we named one such company our Integrator of the Year in 2015.

But, at the same time, we’ve heard from enough integrators who are still struggling to figure out how to go from integration-first to a service-based model. In fact, that’s why NSCA started the Pivot to Profit event in 2016 and why the conference is entering its third year next month in Atlanta.

“If I won $20 million in the lottery, obviously I’d be pretty excited,” says Chris Peterson, president of Vector Firm, who will tell P2P attendees “how to build a managed services selling machine” in one of the event’s most anticipated sessions.

“But with all that money, I’d have friends who’d come out of the woodwork asking me for a loan and I’d probably need a bigger house, but I love my house.

“No matter how great it would be to win all that money, it would still introduce change. Change causes anxiety and hesitancy,” he says.

The same principle can apply to switching from a box-first to a managed AV services business model, says Peterson, although integrators shouldn’t expect the transition to instantly lead to a $20 million windfall.

“You see the benefits for your customers, and it may even seem logical for them [to sign a managed services contract with you], but it still introduces change, whether that change is for the facilities manage, general manager, IT manager, security manager or HR manager,” he says.

“In today’s world of buying, decisions are made by committees. If they don’t like, that’s going to be a challenge,” says Peterson.