Archives For assessment

Lexington Airport

Lexington Airport

Yesterday I met with over 60 business leaders in Lexington Kentucky, representing more than 40 companies, along with NetGain Technologies and representatives from Cisco Systems…I shared with them some of my major concerns in the area of cyber security for the coming 12 months.  Studies show that over 80% of small business leaders are not concerned with security, feel they are pretty safe, and consider the Internet a critical part of their IT infrastructure.  Yet, nearly the same number have no formal security plans, have no way of detecting an intrusion, and worse, 90% of Visas reported cyber incidences come out of small business.

At the end of our session, NetGain extended an offer to provide a some simple tests that would allow their guests to see if they have been under attack.  The FBI tells us that it is often more than 14 months before this type of intrusion comes to light – often too late to recover. Some simple diagnostic tests can often prevent a disaster down the road.  Just about every attendee agreed that this was a necessary next step in the right direction – over 70% scheduled right there in the meeting and will be conducting these tests over the coming three weeks.  Several of the larger firms also committed to getting more user awareness training into the hands of their end-users.  This is by far the biggest point of vulnerability and must be addressed by business if they plan to protect their data.

© 2013, David Stelzl

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A couple of key points from today’s webinar:

1. The discovery process deserves some re-engineering.  It is by far the greatest accelerator you have once in the account, and is the thing that will take your team from being a vendor, to being seen as a strategic adviser.  Don’t miss this point – don’t assume your consultants are fine doing what they do.  Make this part of your company great, and you will beat the competition.

2. Every executive relies on advisers – in areas of legal advice, health, financial, and perhaps marriage, spiritual, and who knows.  Who is advising them on the the proper use of technology?  It could be you…but do you command the same respect they give to their investment advisers?  You should…

3. The discovery deliverable is your ticket to “really big” business!  Make sure it is great…spend some time on this.  Don’t just write it, get advice on it, hire a writer if you have to – but pull together a sample that clients can’t refuse – then equip every sales person with a copy and teach them what to do with it!

If you missed this session, let me know and I will tell you how you can get a copy of the recording…

© 2011, David Stelzl

Day 2 - Las Vegas

In both sessions I conducted this week, speaking on the power of the discovery process and how to leverage it to expand deal size, I polled the audience on a very important question; “How many of you believe  the decision makers are reading your assessment reports?”  Almost every attendee responded yes to the question – “Are you conducting assessments?”  Only 1 or 2 out of nearly 100 believed decision makers where reading them.

Sadly, a handful of attendees didn’t see this as a problem!  I asked them to relate this deliverable to a prospectus that might be used for investments.  The purpose of conducting an assessment, in most cases, is to find the issues and persuade the company you are working with to take action.  If they don’t take action – you’ve failed.  In other words, if there are indeed, urgent issues discovered, and there almost always are, then when the company fails to take action, they are missing something big.  You, being the one who really understands the issue, must see it as your responsibility to show them why it is so important, and how it should be addressed.  If IT people see it, but those responsible for budget don’t, what good is it?

So why do so many of these documents go unread?  Simply because they are assembled without decision maker involvement, and written without decision makers in mind.  Take a look at the documents you are writing (or which are written by your team) and ask yourself, “Would my business level clients be interested in this, or would they even understand it?”  If the answer is, “No,” some re-engineering is needed.  For those who still don’t see this as important, perhaps a wake up call is needed.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Marketing Requires Passion

October 11, 2011 — 1 Comment

Everyone wants one!

Passion drives the sale.  If you’re not passionate about what you are selling, change jobs.  As I prepare for next week’s Venture Tech Network conference in Las Vegas, it occurs to me that no matter how great your questions are, your references, the technology you sell, or the team behind you, if you don’t look and sound enthusiastic, the sale is dead.

I was reading a book on Disciplines over the weekend which stated, “Only 10% of employees like their job.”  10%!  That means in a group of ten people, nine don’t like what they spend most of their day doing.  This is sad.  How can these people perform at peak levels if they don’t enjoy what they do?  In fact they can’t.  The chapter went on to say that most employees are not performing well.

I can imagine that in a factory setting or some monotonous manual work regime, that the job can still be done with some level of quality, but not sales, and not marketing.  If you don’t love what you sell, move on to something else.  On the other hand, if you can find the excitement in what you do, attitude outsells skills and features every time.

How do you do this?  In my coming book, From Vendor to Adviser, I talk about people groups; the importance of figuring out the people group you want to serve in the work you do.  When you love the people you call on, work takes on a whole new meaning.  When you see your people group’s situation improving because of the value you bring them, everything changes.  Try this, stop focusing on the products you sell, and consider really taking an interest in the people you serve.  Discover their needs at a personal and business level, and see how you can remove stress from their lives by improving how they conduct business.  This brings much greater fulfillment than simply selling a widget.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Due out Next Month!

This morning I am headed out to speak to 35 sales teams calling on the top 35 retail organizations in the world – My topic, Moving From Vendor to Adviser – Capturing the Security Opportunity.  As I’ve prepared over the past several weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to interview some of the top performing sales team directors to better understand how they have made their way into C-Level meetings.  I’ve used the same discovery process I recommend in my new book, From Vendor to Adviser; the same discovery process I teach sales people to use as they engage in high-end technology projects.  The results are evident – I now have the secrets of their success which I can now draw upon as I work with the entire audience (something every sales person should be doing) – an  audience that will include people from all parts of the world over Cisco Telepresence.  It’s also no surprise to me that these top performing teams are not just selling product, or responding to RFPs.  Instead I found:

  • Strategy meetings taking place at the top on a regular basis
  • Operational efficiency and risk mitigation – conducting studies and assessments
  • Speaking the client’s language and engaging with asset owners throughout the organization

These are just a few of the things I’ve been talking about for years as I work with sales teams around the world, building a more effective go-to-market strategy.  The part that was somewhat new to me was how exciting the retail business is right now with regard to technology and security.  Millions of dollars are being poured into solving problems and growing sales in ways I had not considered.  I didn’t realize that retail operations are losing 8 Billion dollars every year on inventory shortages, and that 30% of that loss is due to shoplifters, but over 60% is tagged as insider theft!  Developments in cross channel merchandizing, new forms of payment including Google Wallet, other smart phone apps, and tokenization efforts to get rid of credit card issues and PCI compliance hurdles.  Using video to study shoppers moods – which will in turn be used to customize video marketing they may be viewing in the store (this is scary technology).   And then there is the QR (Quick Reference) code hype – in England they are using these codes to pay for parking spots, but who is to stop the young entrepreneur who sees the opportunity to replace these 2D bar code stickers with their own, point to their own duplicate paysite –  Surely someone has figured this out!

© 2011, David Stelzl

How did one of my clients close a million dollar deal?

1. It started with  an event – a prospect, someone she had not done business with in the past, came to an event geared toward educating our audience on the trends and risks associated with today’s cyber criminals.

2. An assessment was done – it was complementary, but led to a greater discovery process that was fee based.  Not a million dollar assessment by any means, but capable of introducing my client to just about anyone in the company.  This took a change in the solution provider’s approach – normally they would send the engineers in to gather some data, put together some plans, and pitch it to IT.  All of this had to be changed – the sales person had to get involve with senior management; she had to put her consultant’s hat on.

3. Gathering business related information, brainstorming over the right questions along the way, and building a strategy to create justification along the way – this required figuring out exactly who would be involved in the approval process, and what politics might get in the way.  Most of this was outside my client’s  normal process – but she was willing to take the steps – take on the risk of failing in order to reach her objective.

4. Delivering the results – normally this would be emailed over to the client.  We had to change this.  Instead, she insisted on meeting with both managers and technicians.  The presentation would have been given by her engineer, but not this time.  Instead it had to be done by her.  Something she wasn’t sure she could do.  But she did.

5. In the end, they said they would take a look at it.  No immediate close, but momentum in the right direction…two weeks later, a decision was made in favor of moving forward.  What made this successful?

  • There is no guarantee – these are people, subject to every kind of inconsistency.  My client’s job was executing the plan and hoping her clients would see her value. They did.
  • The discovery process had to change – it had to be re-engineered for executives, using impact related questions.  The end result had to demonstrate impact vs. likelihood.
  • The report had to be written by non-technical people, in business language, and the presentation had to be delivered to business people by business people.

None of these things were in the sales person’s normal comfort zone – she had to step out, take a risk, and do something she had never really done.  It could have failed, but it didn’t.

© 2011, David Stelzl