Archives For channel marketing

We’re in the height of Cyber Monday – How Secure Is Your Data?

There’s One Big Mistake Almost Every Company Is Making – Do your clients know what it is?

If you’ve read my book, The House & the Cloud, you know what it is. This one concept alone has earned me more assessments than I can count. In fact, I just heard that my last lunch & learn meeting had nearly a 100% sign up – the average over the past 12 months is over 95%! How is this possible?

This Thursday I’ll be speaking on these things out in the Bay area – an educational session on what to expect over the next 12 months as people move more into cloud technology, BYOD, and other transformational technologies. Thanks to Solid Networks and Cisco Systems for sponsoring this event!

Have you ever considered how security actually works?

I mean, what makes something secure or not? Since data is so intangible, let’s look at a physical security example. Consider your house. You probably feel pretty safe in your house. If you didn’t you would be up all night keeping watch. Hopefully you’re not doing that.Blog Subscribe Ad

How is your house protected? All houses have doors. You probably lock yours at night and when you’re away, to keep neighbors and squatters out. You also have windows with locks, and might even have a safe inside to store valuables. Perhaps you have a dog, personal firearm, or an alarm just in case someone breaks in. If you were to make a list it might look like this:

Doors Alarm Firearm
Windows Motion Detection Dog
Lock Monitoring Police
Fence Neighbor Watch Insurance

It’s a simple list of 12 things that most of us look to for safety. But the fact is, these things are not what protects us. If I’m right, then what is it that actually makes your home safe? It’s actually a system at work behind the scenes. A system that sits behind every valid security model. It uses these components, but without the system, these components actually do very little to protect you.

Take your door for instance. Is there any doubt that a determined perpetrator could break through your front door? Your door probably has glass windows on the sides, and surely you’ve seen on TV how easy it is to kick in a door. So what is this system I am talking about?

It’s a system with three distinct stages: Protect, Detection, and Response. These headings sit on top of the three columns in the diagram above. The first column provides some level of proactive PROTECTION to keep people out. As I’ve pointed out, it will fail under the pressure of a determined attacker. At that point DETECTION takes over. An alarm sounds or you hear someone breaking in. If your system is built correctly, the DETECTION stage will kick off some form of response plan. That could be a dog trained to protect it’s owner, a home owner equipped to defend his castle, or law enforcement agents responding to a break-in. The key here is timed stages that predictably trigger the next, before it’s too late. If your alarm sounds and it takes the police 20 minutes to arrive, your plan might not be very effective.

Looking back at the three-stage model, all three columns are essential. Each stage must work with timed precision. However, one of these columns is more important than the other two. Can you guess which one it is?

In live training sessions I do for business owners I often take a pole. Is it column three, two, or one. As I go though them I ask for a raise of hands. Maybe 20% of my attendees will choose column three. 10% might choose column two. The rest will go with column one. But the answer is column two – DETECTION. Why?

Consider the physical security around you. Look at your bank. Is the vault open in the daytime? It is! All day. Anyone can walk into a bank. So what keeps your money safe? It’s the bank’s ability to detect a perpetrator before they can get to the money and get away. At night the bank is locked up, but most physical bank robberies take place during the day. Why are they avoiding nighttime? It’s because they know, and the bank knows, that the safe can be compromised with tools and a torch. But they also know how long it takes to crack a safe and how long it will take the police to respond once the alarm sounds. It’s all timed and it works most of the time. The day is less predictable, and so if everything goes well for the crook, chances are better that they’ll get away.

So what is the one big mistake just about every company has made with their data security strategy? It’s the system above. Most information security programs are built on proactive PROTECTION. They rely on firewalls, passwords, and encryption. That’s what we’ve been taught to do by security product manufacturers. Only in the past few years has the story changed.

If you want your data to be safe, your security model has to change. You will have to move from a proactive protection model to one like I have pictured above. One where DETECTION is the primary focus and a well timed response plan follows. Once in place, the question will no longer be, “Can they get in?” They can. The new question is, “How long will it take for us to detect and respond? And is that fast enough?”

© 2014, David Stelzl

P.S. For those waiting for the House & the Cloud Second Edition, we are done editing and just getting ready to send this off to the publisher!


What Message Works Best With Execs?

Having conducted dozens of lunch & learns over the past 10 years I can tell you what message works every time…there’s no question.  When I use the principles I laid out in The Event Marketing Success Kit – at least 50% of the the audience moves to the next step.  Here’s a quick refresher:


Also, make sure you have my recent report on getting more customers!  It’s free…


© 2014, David Stelzl




This morning I am preparing to speak to Cisco channel managers, account managers, and channel marketing. The topic – Event Marketing. 

Challenging Presuppositions

Years ago Tim Ferriss, Author of The 4-Hour Work Week figured out how to accomplish more in a few hours than most of his sales colleagues could accomplish in an entire day.  How did he do it? After hours upon hours of unproductive cold calling he decided to step back and analyze the process.  The gatekeepers were always getting in his way – no one would let him speak to the decision makers.  So instead of making his calls during work hours, he simply moved to 8:00 AM, calling for 30 minutes, and then picking up again at 6 PM for another 30 minutes.  In no time he was closing more meetings than any of his peers. 

Tim shares a story in his book of how he won the Chinese kickboxing National Championship by studying the rules and changing the game to create an advantage.  He writes in his book, ” Sports evolve when sacred cows are killed, when basic assumptions are tested! The same is true in life and in lifestyle.” Tim’s process was revolutionary – but senior management has caught on, and in my recent CIO meetings I understand that they don’t want to hear from you before their administrative assistant shows up.  So now what?

Traditional Lunch & Learns

This past week I spoke with two different manufacturers about lunch & learns.  In both cases my clients – both resellers, were working on funding for events they are planning.  In both cases the vendor sponsor was skeptical about sponsoring me to speak. 

My events are different.  I counsel my reseller clients not to let vendors do the speaking, and I insist on inviting executives.  “That’s not the way we usually do it.”  Both companies made this statement…but what are the results of the typical event? 

It’s like Tim Ferriss’ cold calling.  Traditional lunch & learns are drawing small audiences of technical people, reporting high attrition rates (like 50% of those signing up never actually get there), and no measurable return on investment. The measure of success I hear all too often is, “How many attended?”  That’s like measuring sales by asking, “How many calls did you make?” – what does it matter.  If you don’t generate any gross profit, what’s the point?  And if you managed to make your entire quota on one call, why do you need to make 100 more calls?  A second call might get you to your accelerators (assuming your compensation plan has this feature built in.)

Changing the Rules

Why am I so stubborn about how the event happens?  Several years ago I started challenging the assumptions.  Why does the vendor have to speak?  Does it lead to more sales? Don’t get me wrong here,  I don’t care if they speak – but let’s not speak just to have a role in the event, or just to feel important.  The only question everyone should be asking is, “What is the purpose of having the event and are we achieving that purpose?”  From what I can tell, there are two reasons to have an event:

1. To reignite old buyer relationships.

2. To create new buyer relationships.

From the reseller’s perspective, these are the only two things that really matter.  Traditional cold calling doesn’t work – my clients all agree.  Tim Ferriss had a great idea, but it too has lost it’s savor.  Lunch & learn events with IT people have been around for ages, but they aren’t producing.  Why? Because technical people don’t have any money. 

So I started looking at the buying process.  The seller needs time in front of a decision maker, but there has to be a compelling reason for that meeting.  Decision makers are business people. They spend money for one of two reasons: to make more money, or to mitigate risk.  That’s it – simple, just two reasons.  Then I started looking at events in general.  What makes one event a major success, while another has almost no attendees?  Why do some events lead to 1000 people making major life changes, while other events lead to no measurable change at all?  It’s the speaker – and the motivation they provide to make a commitment, change something, or move in some direction.  It’s a conversion process, and there’s a simple formula to make it all happen.

So 10 years ago I joined the National Speakers Association and started studying great speakers.  It’s not the product they sell (Every motivational speaker worth their fee has a book or DVD set.)  If it was, they would simply set up an online store and go on vacation while the money rolled in.  They can’t do that. Most speakers sell their products at the conference or seminar.  Their book sales online are mostly unmeasurable.  But at the conference, they often sell enough product to double their speaker fee income.  It’s the speaker’s passion, combined with a life changing message, delivered to an audience that has the authority to make the commitment or accept the challenge. 

This morning I’ll be sharing the basic principles of event marketing success.  Why would anyone want to continue making dozens of unproductive cold calls five days a week when they can sell to 30 or 40 people at one time in one hour?  I have found that with the right message, at least 60%, and on average 75% of the audience will respond to the right message.  If the right conversion product (assessment or strategy session) is offered, they’ll sign up.  This leads to multiple meeting opportunities.  If you don’t close business after all of this, you can’t blame it on the event – but you are way ahead of where you would be on a cold call.

© 2013, David Stelzl


This week I’ve had the opportunity to work with several clients in person and through my coaching program on building their event marketing strategy.  It doesn’t matter what size company you call on, or what verticals you might be focused on, mastering this process will help you take your business to the next level…rethink your marketing strategy for 2013!

Thanks to NetGain, Cisco, HP, and VMWare for sponsoring yesterday’s business leader event in Cincinnati.  We had over 40 business leaders for this educational event…

Eye Opening, Compelling, and Scary…

Eye opening, compelling, and scary.  These are the comments I heard after sharing some of the growing threats I see coming our way in the coming year.  Our material on cyber crime trends was well received and much-needed by many of the executives I spoke with during the seminar. Small businesses are being affected by security breaches every day, yet many are unaware of what is really going on inside their servers and mobile devices…According to the Wall Street Journal, most business leaders (over 75%) believe they are fine, yet Visa tells us that 90% of their business fraud cases are SMB related!

Individual Conversations

I spoke with one CEO of a Cincinnati based law firm after my session.  His business deals with highly sensitive legal information – the kind of information that, “Can’t get out!”  He was concerned that, while his company uses passwords and firewalls, he has no way to monitor who is accessing what, or to see if systems are being compromised, or to know if internal people are emailing sensitive information in an insecure way.  We talked about the cost of implementing technology that does this type of monitoring – “It’s out of reach for the small business.” he said.  This is led into a discussion on the value of using a managed solution through a third party provider…

In another conversation, I spoke with a man running a healthcare company.  He was concerned that his staff didn’t really understand how to assess their current security posture.  This is the case with most small business. They don’t have the tools or the expertise to do this in house.  Here again is an opportunity to engage an outside provider of assessment services, which NetGain, our hosting company has, to help ensure their applications are unaffected by today’s malware threats.

In the afternoon we heard from representatives of Cisco Systems and VMWare, as well as Microsoft, sharing how their companies are working to provide more secure products to protect these companies from growing threats in the coming year.  NetGain concluded the meeting by offering to meet with these businesses one-on-one to review their security needs, something every business should be doing on a regular basis.

© 2012, David Stelzl

We’re kicking off day one of the Event Marketing workshop today…I’ve completed my new book:

Event Marketing, 7 Steps to Profitability Using Lunch & Learns and Sales Events,

and last night I was finishing up some slideware to be used in today’s opening session.  If you have not signed up – there is still time…here’s the link:

The Importance of this Workshop

If you don’t have someone from your company attending, you should.  This information is vital…looking over the past decade of channels, technology sales, and reseller/vendor partnerships, I see a steady decline in the support given to the channel.  I am not saying there is a lack of effort. There’s a disconnect between marketing, both within the reseller itself, and the channel marketing groups working with resellers.  A misunderstanding of how the reseller business works.  No wonder JMF is so hard to come by.  Well at least for some – it hasn’t really produced any ROI.

Some Companies Get All the Funding

On the flip side, I was up north working with a reseller a little over a week ago.  They told me they constantly get asked to put on events and attend trade shows by their vendor partners.  The problem is, they don’t see any results!  So they are getting more money, but no return.  After looking at the programs their partners are telling them to put on, we discovered why.  The approach is all wrong.

Some Get Nothing

Working with another reseller earlier in the year, they struggled to get funding.  They have the right idea, but their partners don’t understand it.

If we can get this message out, things can change.  At the end of the day, we’re all looking for a return on investment.  The reseller doesn’t have time to waste on making calls, setting up events, attending trades shows, etc.  unless there is a measurable ROI.  The vendor doesn’t have money to throw away – their business depends on stronger channel sales.  We can fix this if we get everyone on board with the right approach, calling on the right people with the right message.  My hope today is that we’ll make some big progress in that direction with the select group attending this workshop.  Success in 2013 depends on it.

© 2012, David Stelzl