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Executive management is Running Hard!

Interruptions.  in the late 1990’s I was running the daily operations of a 75 Million Dollar Reseller.  It was busy.  Each morning I would head into work with a million things on my mind.  I made it a point to arrive early – before all of the confusion hit.  My planner was my best friend first thing in the morning.  Mapping out the day, confirming meetings, checking on metrics and project status, new employees starting, problems to follow up on…a million things had to be scheduled.  30 minutes later, I had a plan…

Plans are great, until the day really starts…suddenly, everything is an interruption.

So which ones will actually get my attention today?

(Join me to explore the important lessons we need to learn from the Target IT Guy…this is not technical!) note, you’ll need to sign up for the Insider’s Circle Free trial and I will email you about the upcoming online event.

Is your Assessment Just Another Interruption?

This is exactly what happened at Target.  Executives in the retail sector are scrambling…Look at Wal*Mart…This morning’s CIO journal reports on the unstoppable “Big Box” retailer being forced to come up with something new:

“Wal*Mart is facing a sustained drop in store traffic, said it would accelerate its spending on its online presence and smaller-format stores meant to be more convenient for short shopping trips.

The company booked nearly half a trillion dollars in sales for its just-completed financial year. But Wal-Mart’s big-box formula for success is under strain because of a change in shopper habits, as consumers increasingly go online to buy clothes and electronics, while heading to dollar stores and pharmacy chains to refill on basics.”

Target is in the same business – they’re the number 1 competitor. They’re racing to catch up to Wal*Mart…Then some guy from SECURITY is down the hall yelling, “We need to do another assessment…can someone fund this?” But no ones going to hear him – online sales, cloud services, big data analytics, and social business trends are eating his lunch, looking for a new business model.

So How Do We Change All of This?

The message has to start where a person is already thinking.  Did you catch that? This might be one of the most important marketing concepts I could give you right now…try to interrupt this guy with your product today, and you’ll get, “THE HAND.” That’s the economic buyer, holding up his hand, in a, “Not right now, son,” sort of fashion.

Your message has to somehow start with their current mental occupation!  The marketing and selling process MUST grab that person, in the midst of their busy day, with a focus on what they are already thinking about and wanting, and then lead them to what they really need.  It’s a gradual process of gaining permission to have a voice. It’s a marketing process…

You can know everything about your product or technology, but if you don’t know where your CIO is mentally, it’s going to be hard to move forward.

Did the IT Guy Screw Up?  Well, he did, simply because he didn’t understand what it takes to sell senior management…What can we learn from this?

Join me next Tuesday to explore this…what should CIO’s take away from Target…”What should sales and marketing people learn from the IT guy who did not get his assessment approved?”  Link below…

© 2014, David Stelzl

HERES THE LINK: JOIN ME TO LEARN FROM THE IT GUY THAT FAILED TO SELL HIS ASSESSMENT  (Note: You’ll need to join us in the Insider’s Circle to view this! But it’s free with a TWO MONTH FREE TRIAL!..

 

 

 

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DR_5_RiskGraph-1I’ve just announced my first training workshop for 2014

Moving From Vendor to Adviser…

This training is specifically designed for those selling high-tech solutions.

I don’t train people to sell vacuums, encyclopedia sets, or used cars.

Most sales training programs are generic – they are taught by people who have read some guy’s book, studied his materials, been through his train-the-trainer program, and are now getting paid to teach his class…so that he doesn’t have to…and they apply to any industry…

Is this really how you want to learn or refresh your selling skills?

Chances are this person has never sold anything…

Here are the dates: Feb 12-14 (all three days), 2 hrs each day!

Great for high-tech sales people, presales consultants, marketing professionals, and anyone involved in reseller or channel sales.

Watch my intro video and read more here (CLICK)

 

© 2014, David Stelzl

lockWhat does the CIO really need to hear?  I’m sure you’ve thought about this question before. Anyone going in to meet with a CIO or other high-level executive has to ask this question – you only get one shot at establishing this relationship.  This was central to yesterday’s workshop session on selling security and reaching for that “Trusted Adviser” status.

Yesterday’s WSJ article, “CIOs in the Boardroom: Don’t Be a ‘One-Note Piano” (by By George L. Davis, Jr. and Chris Patrick) offers some insight into what these execs need and where you might be able to help.  Authors Davis and Patrick are right on from what I can tell – but CIOs can’t easily pull this off alone.  The article calls for CIOs to step up and be strategic when serving as a board member – but this also goes for meeting with board members.  Some of the key sound bites from this article might be helpful if you can’t access it here.

  • First, the title of the article is explained: “We once heard a board chairman call a CIO serving on his board a “one-note piano,” because the CIO repeated his same theme over and over.”  In other words, the CIO can’t be too focused – but rather must offer a board level of expertise or insight.
  • Some of the key subtitles offer insight into the content: Be a translator – leave the techno-babel behind and give clear concrete information; Be inclusive – meaning you’re not  there just to give your opinion, but rather to generate dialogue and gather ideas; Remember your role – a reminder here that the CIO does not sit on the board to make all of the technical decisions; Check your biases at the door – this is clear; Seek Feed Back – everyone in that room likely has valuable experience – draw from it.

Yesterday in our class we discussed the idea that CIOs are plentiful out there – and many are looking for more ways to stay relevant to their organization (in an effort to keep their jobs).  As stated in the above article, operationally focused CIOs are no longer in vogue.  Companies need someone who thinks about the business; marketing, selling, customer experience, business valuation, etc.  While the CIO does oversee the operational side of the house – networks, servers, up-time, etc., it’s not enough to stay in that world.  The board meeting is just one example where they are called to break out of the daily fire drills and be strategic.

On all sides they are going to need advisers to stay on  top.  So who is going to help them?  Who is going to give them the input they need to sound prepared when it comes time to report on the state of the business and where to head from here. When questions about applying new technologies like BYOD and cloud come up, how will the CIO answer?  IT is not going to give them this insight.  Even if they could, the prophet is never welcome in his own town – the CIO is not likely to go to IT for this.

So who?  It could be you…if you’re in sales or the consulting side of the business, selling IT solutions of some kind.  This requires more than a willingness.  It requires some study time, reading up on the trends, staying in tune with business, and taking the opportunity to talk with more business people.  If I could encourage you to do one thing today, it would be to prepare to talk to more business leaders, listen to what they are saying, and remember it.  Become the one person who is getting input from all kinds of business leaders – the portal of information and understanding that sits between all of the business leaders you work with.  People often ask me how I stay up on all of the trends, especially security – the answer is simple.  It’s actually easier for me than most because I am talking to sales and consulting professionals every day, and meeting with CIOS and CISOs on a regular basis through the educational events I do – and by getting input from all sides on a daily basis, I learn more than just about anyone.

© 2013, David Stelzl

 

 

lockOur fall schedule is under way – in fact, I kicked off the bow hunting season last night with a successful hunting trip deep in the woods of my back yard!  (Sorry no pictures from last night’s events).  Needless to say, we were up late…but I digress.

The schedule I’m really talking about has to do with events and training programs – so we kicked off day 1 of our September Making Money w/ Security Class – if you’ve never been or have colleagues who would benefit, here’s the next two month’s worth of classes…sign up! 

Yesterday I was on the phone working with an attendee from last month’s class – you get a one hour coaching session as part of the class.  We spent some time reviewing  key concepts, but from there we dove into his particular territory challenges. New with his current consulting company, breaking into large accounts for the first time, and focusing on security…we looked at his messaging, use of the phone and email, how to maximize his time and hit rate, and who to be talking to about what.  Here’s what he wrote his manager after the call:

“I can’t speak highly enough about the quality of the training and how grateful I am to have been able to partake in it. It’s made a significant difference in my mentality regarding my job and how to go about it. The strategies I’ve learned as part of it I’m using every day and am continuing to put into practice lessons learned during the 3 sessions.

I would advise in the strongest and most staunch terms to continue the sessions for our sales personnel; … we’ll all make more money and have far greater relationships with our clients because of it.”

Thanks for your comments!

Low Hanging Fruit

On day one we always start by setting the stage with an overview of the latest security issues and trends.  Last night I asked attendees to come back with some of the low hanging fruit they see in the accounts they’re calling on.  Here are some of the responses….

  • Lack of incident response planning (CERT)
  • Failures in maintenance/patch/update processes
  • Lack of understanding of risk and impact. (Should be IMPACT & LIKLIHOOD)
  • Email issues – malware, lack of encryption, archival…
  • Backup issues –  sensitive data and generally backed up to tape or external hard drive
  • Network connectivity issues -???
  • Server failing and lack of business continuity best practices
  • BYOD – lack of management, access control, etc.
  • Current IT support provided by a single person or a really small IT firm that is based on the break/fix model
  • Businesses do not have disaster recovery options in place or they have not been tested
  • Data leakage

Some good thoughts here – but today we’ll cover predictable messaging and how a value proposition must be delivered in light of current customer needs and perceived needs…an important lesson on marketing and messaging.

 

Sound Bites

Of course we always cover sound bites on day one – it’s amazing to me how powerful a sound bite can be, yet how much of a set back there is in using a sound bite incorrectly.  I spoke with several people this past week about their resumes as they look for new job opportunities.  Some of the input they’ve received from human resource and recruiter types is just downright wrong with regard to sound bite usage…today we’ll be reviewing some of the sound bites to test them against what the marketing gurus tell us is the right way to think about sound bites.  Some of those submitted last night include:

  • BITE: According to the Sans Mobility/BYOD Security Survey over 61% of companies responding allowed employees to BYOD but less than 50% feel confident in their BYOD policies. – COMMENT: not a bad quote, all encompassing, and from a solid source (SANS).  However, will executives recognize or believe the source?  Probably not…I would not use it.
  • BITE: “About 40% of people are not taking the most basic security procedures, like setting up a screen lock or putting software on the phone that could find the phone if it’s lost or stolen. – Fox News”  COMMENT: This is good if we tie it to business and the BYOD movement…recognizable source, pervasive, and tied to what I would call one of the key initiatives out their for most midsized companies – mobility.
  • BITE: “Companies know they’re not spending anything close to what’s needed to make their networks invulnerable to attack, according to a 2012 study by Bloomberg Government. – Bloomberg” COMMENT: Strong source – and while it’s not that new, it’s new enough to stand up to the passive attitudes we see out there. The trick now is to tie this to some method of securing, or a mindset to be adopted by organizations.  If I can show them where companies are failing, I’ll have a place to take this sales discussion.  We’ll talk more about this in today’s class.

I hope to see you in an upcoming workshop…

© 2013, David Stelzl