ADT Vet is new Guardian Alarm president

Seeks to increase sales, customer retention
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SOUTHFIELD, Mich.—After four months as the new president of Guardian Alarm, a 600-employee super-regional based here, David Goldstein has nearly doubled the sales force, the first step in increasing sales for Guardian’s commercial and residential alarm business.

Goldstein, who spent 30 years at ADT, most recently as SVP of the Northeast and Midwest, said in every area of ADT that he worked in, “I more than doubled my goal in sales growth.” That’s what he plans to do at Guardian. “And that’s what they [Guardian owners, the Pierce family] were looking for.”

In business since the 1930s, Guardian was founded by Milton Pierce. “Milt is 94 years old and still comes to work everyday. He’s my number one marketing guy,” Goldstein said.

Brothers Douglas and Richard Pierce are executives in the company. Goldstein said the family members wanted a non-family member as president to bring an “outside perspective.”

Guardian does commercial and residential (split pretty evenly) and fire work in Michigan, Ohio, Florida and in Windsor, Canada. It also has a medical monitoring and guard business (which accounts for an additional 900 employees).

To increase customer retention, Goldstein upped the starting price for residential systems from $99 to $299. “We want a better customer,” he said. He’s confident that a customer who will pay more upfront, “will continue to pay the $35 for monitoring for a four- to six-year period.” On the commercial side, Guardian is going after CCTV and card-access work with new and existing customers.

Guardian invested in SalesForce, a contact management system that Goldstein said will help him manage a number of different campaigns including cross-marketing to customers across the guard, PERS, and alarm businesses.

The software program has limitations though. “It’s not going to knock on doors, make proposals and makes sales.” That’s up to the real sales force, whom Goldstein said, must meet quota “or they’ll be made available to the industry.”

Guardian will continue to look for acquisitions like the one it completed in September of Barco Security in Canton, Ohio. The owner of the company retired and the roughly 1,000 accounts were folded into Guardian’s Cleveland office. “Although there will still be service vehicles in Canton,” Goldstein said.

Guardian has more service trucks on the streets in Michigan than any other security company. He said Guardian’s commitment to same-day service for all of its customers sets it apart. “We could never beat them when I was with ADT,” he said. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”