Merchant-services companies may already have the best tool for courting independent software vendors and software developers. It’s the sales model.
That’s the word from a panel at last week’s Western States Acquirers Association conference in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Many payment providers are looking to integrated payments, often an integral part of point-of-sale software, as a way to gain revenue and reduce attrition.
“The ISO community has a huge advantage over legacy point-of-sale companies and a lot of value-added resellers that are technology-based,” Shawn Lally, vice president of agent sales at Paysafe Group, told attendees. “ISOs are sales-based.”
That gives them a distinction in getting POS-software services to merchants, he said. But the panel stressed that it’s especially vital sales agents follow certain guidelines, as well.
“Take it one step at a time,” said Pierre-Emmanuel Perruchot de La Bussière, vice president of business development and partnerships at Vend Ltd., a New Zealand-based POS-system developer with offices in San Francisco. “Don’t try to do everything at once.”
His advice is to start pitching POS software and integrations to the existing merchant portfolio. “Trying to sell a new solution to existing merchants might be the better idea,” Perruchot de La Bussière said.
As that develops, the next step is to evaluate how your company might reinvent itself, said John Kirk, president and chief executive of the Retail Solutions Providers Association. As part of this step, Kirk suggested asking what works for your merchants and your organization. “Be methodical,” Kirk said. “Rush to be right. Don’t rush to be first.”
Even with the inherent advantage of their sales models, payments providers eyeing the POS software space have to contend with technology. There can be more pieces—because merchants want the software to help run their businesses and not just handle payments—that can make the sale and ensuing customer service more complex.
The adoption of higher technology is the number-one challenge for sales organizations, Lally said. “Depending on the client base, they may want to know how to price a menu, what are the options in configuring a printer, details on a cash-discount program, and how to configure an application for a merchant,” he added.
That’s the rub in POS software sales. It is more detailed now and requires an in-depth understanding of the merchant’s needs. “The challenge in selling a technology product is understanding the space and being able to sell into that space,” said Jami Interdonato, president of RPower Holdings Inc., a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based POS-system developer.