Archives For House & the Cloud

dan kennedyIf You Sell Technology, Are You Getting Enough Quality Leads?

This week, Russell Brunson, Entrepreneur and Founder of Click Funnels gave us some amazing sales insight!  If you want to grow sales, keep reading…

Right now I’m sitting in the Denver airport on my way home from the GKIC Info Summit – an annual marketing conference (See Dan Kennedy to the left – still using overheads in his presentation.) Of course, after 4 long but incredible days of marketing education, my flight’s been canceled. American claims they sent me an email months ago telling me about a schedule change, but you know how that goes. I get so many emails, it’s not really possible to read every one, so here I am with an expected arrive of 12:40 am.  So enough complaining – on to selling ideas.

7 Things Critical Steps If You Want Leads (in the SMB Market)

I say, SMB (Small Medium Business), because most of this conference was about marketing to smaller businesses. I’m sure many of the principles will apply to the larger F500, but it definitely applies to SMB.  So if you’re a reseller (VAR) or MSP – managed services provider, looking for Small or Medium Business clients, there are some things you should be doing right now!

  1. First, stop cold calling – it doesn’t work.  To make things worse, your marketing team is probably not giving you tons of leads either, so don’t expect it (if you even have someone dedicated to marketing). But the things Brunson showed us are simple to do. I’m already doing some of what he said, but he showed me an easier way. So easy, sales people can do this without a dedicated marketing person.  So if you want leads, you might need a mindset change on what sales people “are supposed to do.”  Leads come when you market, not sell.
  2. Next, take a look at your competition.  You probably attend channel events, so you probably know lot’s of resellers. Someone out there is generating traffic through online marketing and their website. Chances are when your company website was built, whoever gave the go-ahead to build it was looking for something cool and unique.  Big mistake. Why reinvent the wheel just to look different. If someone out there is doing something that is pulling in millions of leads, you might want to do the same thing. Note: I don’t know anyone who is pulling in tons of leads making cold calls. That doesn’t mean you never pick up the phone. It simply means the phone is a poor choice for that initial touch.  Brunson gave us several clear examples where he used online tools to figure out who was getting the traffic.  Once he found the 800 pound gorilla, he started the “Funnel Hack” process. Simply put, he clicked on their ads – on their website, FaceBook, or wherever they are advertising, to reverse engineer their marketing methods. Then he simply created something very similar.  Is this stealing?  No! You can’t copyright or patent the things I am talking about here.  If prospects like the way a certain ad looks, there’s no reason to do something new.
  3. The “Funnel” refers to the flow – what happens after you click.  A strong marketing strategy takes the prospect from an ad, builds rapport, gets an opt-in, and then starts selling.  Your website is probably one of the first things to look at. Is there a lead capture ad, above the fold, on the home page? If not, you should change it – if you can. If you can’t you need something else. FaceBook is actually a great place to put ads.  One of the speakers week showed us an incredible business, marketing to small business clients exclusively on FaceBook.  Can you do this for free? No. But if you are hoping to make big commissions in the coming year, it might be worth spending a few hundreds dollars. If you spend one dollar and two come back, will you be happy?  How much is one qualified lead worth?
  4. What happens next is critical. There should be an offer, and it should be a no-brainer to move forward. On my site I offer a free copy of my 2007 book, The House & The Cloud. Every week I get several leads from this one eBook.  This is called a lead magnet. The one problem I have is, my lead capture form is not on my home page. Expect to see an updated website in the near future.  You too need a lead magnet. It could be a book,  CD, video, eBook, etc. But it must be something the average SMB owner is going to want.  As soon as they opt-in, there should be another offer. Using the blueprint from my Marketing Success kit, your goal as a technology reseller should be to move them into an educational phone call using something like The House & the Cloud Message (Purchase the book if you don’t know what I’m talking about).  This message was designed to show SMB business owners the one BIG mistake just about every one of them is making as they look to leverage new technologies such as Cloud.
  5. The funnel continues – if they will take the call, you set one up.  This is where the phone comes in. If you have some basic information online or access to Webinar software, you can actually show them what’s going on without making an onsite visit. The goal is to move into a risk assessment. This should be highly qualified, but pro bono.  The purpose of it is to assess the likelihood of a compromise.  Given that most SMB companies have poor security, if you look in the right places you are likely to come up with something urgent!  Again, I explain all of this in The House & The Cloud.
  6. If they don’t take the meeting, your marketing campaign continues.  Use a combination of email, calls, hardcopy mail (like a detailed sales letter), video sales letters, and anything else you can think of. Hit them about 8 times over the next three weeks.  If they still don’t budge, put them on a less intense campaign. Perhaps inviting them to a future Lunch & Learn.  It takes some people years to ripen, but with enough leads coming in, and an automated drip campaign, you can afford to keep reaching out.
  7. One last thing.  One of the most effective things I’ve done in my own business is to invest in experts in different technology, sales, and marketing disciplines.  So for instance, if you want to see how to really work FaceBook ads, you could spend hours trying to figure it out, or you could find an expert.  Do one of two things. Either hire them to coach you through it, or pay them to do it for you. Obviously getting the coaching is cheaper. Generally in just a few weeks you’ll have what you need to move forward.   You will also need some technology such as landing pages.  Right now I am using Megaphone, but seriously considering Brunson’s FunnelClicks product.

You don’t need a bunch of marketing things going one…work on one funnel, perfect it, and measure the outcome. Fine tune it so that you have hundreds of new names every quarter.

© 2015, David Stelzl

Make sure you get The House & The Cloud if you want a message that is sure to get you to the next stage in your sales process!

boardroomWhat Question is Most Often Asked of the CISO, By The Board Of Directors?

And What Questions Should They Be Asking?

The big question being asked, according to Kim Nash, columnist for the WSJ, is; “Whether their company is vulnerable to breaches similar to those at Target Corp., Anthem Inc. and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)?” There’s two things to consider here – First, who can answer this question? Second, is it the right question?

According to Kim, it’s not the right question – but let’s go to my first concern which is, “Who can answer this question?”

Will We Be Hit Like Target, Home Depot, or OPM?

Most executives can’t answer this question honestly. And their security team doesn’t really have a clue either. If they did, we wouldn’t be reading these stories every day.  And, if you look at the stories being published, it’s the big guys – yet we know statistically, 60% of the breaches are hitting the SMB market.  Most of these breaches never make the news.  So the board can ask, but they’re not likely to get the real answer.

If you didn’t see my comments on OPM, you might want to take a look (Read about Donna Seymour and OPM’s failure to protect our nation’s critical personnel data.) The board is missing the mark here because they misunderstand risk.  In my book, The House & The Cloud (2nd Edition), i’ve given a lot more attention to the impact vs. likelihood graph than I did in the 2007 version – it’s a model I use to communicate risk to business leaders.

If you know security, the concept is pretty simple. The missing link in most assessments is a measure of likelihood.  And that’s what the board is really asking – although they are asking it incorrectly.  What they really need to know is, where’s our data, and what are the top 3 to 5 threats we are facing right now. Given these threats, what are the odds we’ll be hit over the next 12 months?  (More detail on how to figure this out, starting on page 194 in The House & The Cloud.) As I said in my latest speaker promo video, risk needs to be presented in simple business language – in terms everyone who uses and depends on data can understand.

One thing everyone must comes to grips with is, every company is vulnerable just like Target, JP Morgan, Home Depot, and most recently Ashley Madison.Check Point Training Ad

The question isn’t “Can they get in like they did at Target?” Rather, they should be asking, “Can we detect a breach in time to stop the damage?” Remember, like a house or bank physical robbery, hacking does take some time, and it does make noise – but you won’t hear it with your ears. You’ll need detection technology in place and the people with the skills and understanding to turn that data into intelligence.

So what’s the right question? Can we detect and respond before it’s too late?

Are You Getting To The Board?

Have you ever been invited to meet with or present to a board of directors? It’s a powerful moment in the sales cycle if you have something meaningful to say.  Yesterday I was working with a rep on some strategy, as part of the SVLC Security Mastery Sales Program. We were discussing strategies to get a CEO or Board level meeting.

Most are still working at the IT Director Level. Remember, the IT Director is low on the liability list for security. They might lose their job – but getting a new one, if they know security, won’t be hard. In fact, they may take a pay raise.  On the other hand, people like Donna Seymour of OPM are in trouble. (Again, read my post and consider Donna’s situation – is it her fault, or is there something bigger going on here?)

Now is the time to move up – company leaders need more security insight right now and the WSJ is backing you on this. The CISO cannot possibly figure all of this out in a vacuum. And aside from some of the largest accounts out there, their people won’t have the experience to do it either. Managed services (with a security focus), backed by skilled security experts is needed to collect and analyze the data, repackaging it into something business leaders can use – intelligence.

What About SMB Companies?

Don’t let the Board of Directors thing keep you from your SMB accounts. The SMB is under fire right now – and the owner of that business is similar to the Board. They need to know the same things, they just have less resources to figure it out.

© David Stelzl, 2015

How would your clients respond?

(Watch the Video – it’s worth the two minutes) How would your clients respond to an interview like this one? I don’t mean the people in IT – the exposure is with those who don’t really understand computers but use them all day long, creating and using digital assets. Is this interview for real?  I think it is…I’m tempted to go out and try this.

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The point is, no matter how secure the perimeter is, people still talk. It reminds me of the men working on Wall Street who gave their passwords out to the 21 year old Facebook woman last year (Wall Street Journal Reported on this.) I talk about this in my new House & The Cloud book (Second Edition), and what you can be doing to help your clients change this.

One thing is for sure, passwords don’t really work. They’re like your front door at home. They keep out bugs, heat in the summer, cold in the winter, and curious children living next door. But that’s about it.  Is anyone seeing more sales in strong authentication technologies…please comment.

One opportunity is to get into the security policy business – if you’re not helping your customers develop strong policies and enforcement, you should be. Compliance requires it, and for those who don’t seem to fall under any compliance regulations, they still need it. Password policies should specify lengths of at least 8 characters, with numbers and letters, and a special character.  But they still wont really work. At some point we should be moving to something more secure. Some sort of duel authentication. I love my thumbprint iPhone 6 button! Of course, you don’t need a thumb because you can always guess the 4 digit login – or accidentally erase the entire phone by guessing wrong 10 times in a row. Somehow that’s not great either.

© 2015, David Stelzl

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!

 

Was Home Depot Hacked?

It sure looks that way…this video offers some great insights into the resale of stolen data. They even have a clip with someone trying to buy credit card data.  This clip is from 5 days ago – so what’s happening now?

The ABC Blog – 7 Hours Ago Reported…

“The huge hacking attack against Home Depot’s payment systems could turn out to be the biggest breach of any retailer’s data so far. The company confirmed the data break-in but did not say how many credit and data cards are affected. The total could be as much as 60 million”

In other words, yes, there’s been a breach.

The thing is, Home Depot is saying they are not aware of credit card data being taken. What does that mean?

It means they don’t have to tell us yet – but it doesn’t mean there’s not a problem. Since the breach, ““multiple financial institutions … are reporting a steep increase over the past few days in fraudulent ATM withdrawals on customer accounts.” We’re talking about 60 Million Card Numbers here.  That’s a lot of data – on the video you can see that this type of data is worth a lot of money as long as the consumers have not been notified. That means someone may be using my card right now and I would not know it.  Time to check my card charges online.

Chip & Pin Technology

If Chip & Pin technology had been in place, both Target and Home Depot would not have had this issue. The really bad news is that we have to wait until October 2015 before companies like Home Depot have this technology in place.

Will that stop hackers?

No – security is a long term play for technology providers. Every few months new technology comes out and new hacker strategies evolve. Actually, it’s the other way around. The hackers come up with something that works, and technology companies try to stop it. They then come up with the next thing. So while companies are scrambling to get the Chip & Pin thing going, hackers will be developing something completely different. They use this strategy as long as they can – then at the last minute switch to something completely new.

The Next Edition of The House & the Cloud…

The best thing you can do is get ready with the updated House & the Cloud.  I just finished the edits and the artwork. I have one more chapter coming to me from an expert in managed services to bring this all together…so by the end of this month we will be printing copies.  I know it’s taking longer than expected, but it’s really close now. Stay tuned…

In the mean time, check out my latest report on How to Upgrade Your Sales Position and Not Get Fired!

“Don’t Get Fired!”  << Special Report for Technology Resellers!

© 2014, David Stelzl

trainFour Big Problems That Will Derail Your Sale

Here is the problem with most technology companies…

Actually there are four,

…and if you’re honest you’ll recognize that your company has all four.

  • The Sales Problem. The sale is technical – too technical. Sales calls focus on technical people, technical products, and are conducted using technical presentations. The smarter your presales technical guy is, the better you feel about your chances of winning. On the other hand, there’s no pressing need and the deal often comes down to price comparisons as you respond to requests for proposals and quotations on products. You spend many hours working through issues that really don’t matter to a non-asset owner.
  • The Marketing Problem. There’s a marketing disconnect. Most sales people are not happy with the marketing department, and marketing is not sure why sales won’t use their stuff. If you’re a marketing professional with real marketing expertise, or you have one in your company, you’re one of the few. Most of the resellers, and even smaller manufacturing companies don’t have marketing people who understand the power of direct response marketing, and how to make it work. Big companies spend millions on branding, but that won’t translate into sales in your region.Blog Subscribe Ad
  • The Assessment Problem. With compliance laws and uncertainty, people are assessing security. However, the assessments are not turning into remediation projects. Only about 20% of the assessments I see turn into projects or managed services contracts. Given that almost all assessments turn up issues I would call “urgent”, it doesn’t make sense that they wouldn’t convert to project work almost every time. Most assessments are too technical, focus on the wrong things, don’t highlight the urgency, and never reach the asset owner.
  • The Presentation Problem. Chances are your company presentation is boring. It looks like every other technology-company presentation. It starts with your company name, how big you are, years in business, certifications, some great clients, and the products or services you provide. They all look the same. If you’ve had trouble booking new appointments with c-level executives, to show your corporate presentation, I’m not surprised.

The updated version of The House & the Cloud is nearly complete.  I’ve added answers to all four problems described above, and demonstrated how a great security value proposition, with a security sales strategy can alleviate these issues.  Stay tuned…it should be going to print soon!

© 2014, David Stelzl

If you don’t have the current House & the Cloud book, you can get it free in PDF Format right here (CLICK). Download it and you’ll be one of the first to know when the new version is out!

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