(By the way, if you’ve not done events where lots of people are committing to a next step, join me next week for Making Money w/ Security and I will show you exactly how to conduct a demand generation event.)
This week I am in Chicago working with a company on event follow up. The goal of our last executive security event was to educate business leaders on what to be doing in their companies with data – specifically, how to be thinking about security and making sure their organizations are doing the right things to keep data safe. On the heels of the event, the hosting company offered a complementary assessment to those attending – 100% of them signed up…the offering was valid, simply because it is true that all companies need more help with security. My job was simply to show them, in a way that moved them to action that afternoon. Once signed up, you can expect several things to happen…
1. Your contact doesn’t have the authority. If you find that you can’t really get permission to go in, once your prospect has signed up, chances are you invited the wrong person. An IT director might agree that an assessment would be prudent at this point, but may not have the authority to do it. Make sure you have the right people attending.
2. IT pushes back – even though the President of the company invited you in after the event. Yes, the president can invite you, only to have IT people reject you. The problem here may be that the President doesn’t understand the need to question what IT is doing. This might just be fear on their part. In this case you need a way to raise their emotion back to the level it was at in the event. One strategy is to work toward meeting the president, with the agreement that you won’t proceed with assessing unless you first gain agreement. By working at the executive level, you just might be able to raise enough support among the leadership team to get someone to put IT back in their place. I find that Presidents are more likely to want to keep everyone happy – where a COO or CFO is used to telling people what to do.
3. You get delegated right off the bat. If your contact immediately pushes you down to the next level – all is not lost. If it’s still an executive position, no worries. Proceed with the meeting and use it to identify other asset owners. Use each meeting to gain more support from key influencers – not IT people. Once you have it, agree to meet with IT. If you are sent directly to IT, try this. “We’ll do this however you like, however in the past when we have strictly dealt with IT, we find that….”. Remember, you are liable for what you propose. If you end up working with IT first, don’t complete the process until you have worked your way back up. Go broad if you have to, but eventually you must move up.
4. The account is too small to justify the time – when this happens, figure it out on the phone, not in a personal meeting. Conduct your interview by phone with some simple questions, give them some direction, and send them on their way. If you offer them some value, but don’t engage in an actual sales process, you really haven’t lost anything and the attendee will likely be happy. It’s a win/win.
There are many more strategies here – each road block demands a response…I’ll be covering this in detail in next week’s class.