Archives For sales
What’s The Point of Your Security Assessment?
Are Your Clients Actually Taking Any Relevant Action?
This week on a coaching call with one of our Mastery Security Training Attendees we were discussing the role of the consultant in the security assessment process. In this case the Assessment Sales were NOT closing.
In other cases we discussed conversions from Assessment to Remediation or Managed Service were weak.
The complaint: Can I rely on our security consultants to deliver, or should I sell something else?
The Problem is Sales, Not Technical
First, sales people should never turn the SELLING over to a consultant or engineer unless that technology expert has a track record of closing. Knowing a lot about security does NOT lead to selling assessments. Selling and marketing are not driven by sound bites, technical know-how, or certifications.
In the Security Sales Mastery Program we teach sales people to speak about security at the business level. Executive Management is where the assessment should be sold.
Assessments are about risk. They measure Impact vs. Likelihood. At least they should.
The Point of the Assessment is NOT Just About Risk: It’s About Conversion
In a sense Assessments are a marketing effort.
The Sales person sells the deal to measure risk. The consultant measures risk. But then something salesy has to happen.
Like the Cardio Doctor, if your patients are about to die but don’t take on the treatment plan, the doctor is failing. It’s the doc’s job to sell his patient on doing something. Yes, ultimately the patient is responsible for their health, but if the diagnosis is poorly communicated or risk poorly described, the doc is doing something wrong.
Look at the Deliverable.
In many cases it will be a 50 page paper (enterprise size deal) or something much shorter in the SMB. But is it written to the person who cares about risk? In most cases the answer is NO.
This is a sales problem. If you, the sales person, sold the assessment, hopefully you sold it to to someone at the business level to help them measure something specific – risk.
It might be compliance like HIPAA or it might be to identify the likelihood of data theft, system disruption, or data misuse. Theft, misuse, and disruption can all be in the same report, however your findings must be written to the asset owner. The person with liability.
Don’t let the consultant take this to the client before reading and understanding what it says.
Are there mistakes?
Was the paper written using an old assessment from another deal?
If so, are there facts left over such as a “company name” that just don’t belong in this paper? Believe it or not these are common problems. But it’s the sales person’s job to read it and scrutinize the value of the report.
Sure, the technical team shouldn’t be making mistakes like labeling a diagram with Cisco routers when the client uses Juniper (Yes, I’ve seen this happen!). But technical people are rarely writers. They won’t write at the executive level, they’ll miss edits that are obvious to the sales person, and they’ll often use an older document rather than starting from scratch. It happens even with the best teams.
Should You Keep Selling Assessments?
Yes, your clients need them. And they’re one of the best avenues to big business.
But sell them at the business level. Don’t succumb to IT people wanting assessment quotes. Unless they’re high dollar projects, they’re not worth doing. Make your way upstairs and find out what’s really needed.
When it’s time to assess, make sure your technical team knows exactly what you sold. It should be a measure of risk as described in The House & the Cloud. And when it’s time to deliver. Read it. It’s your deal. It’s Your client. It’s your responsibility. And it’s your biggest up-sell opportunity.
The Important, But Difficult Transformation…
From Vendor to Advisor
Last week I had the opportunity to meet with Ingram Micro’s Datacenter Advisory Board to discuss the important transformation: From Vendor to Advisor.
Meeting at the DropBox office in San Francisco (Amazing office space!), I covered five key areas of transformation. But one important one, every sales person should be engaged in right now is that of understanding the CIO and their current challenges.
CIOs are in trouble in many respects. If you call on businesses large enough to staff a actual CIO, and you were to get their honest input on where things are headed, you might be surprised to hear what’s going on.
The office of CIO is under fire right now from two sides…
On one side, the business leadership is looking for CIOs to lead the charge with digitalization. That means figuring out how to leverage transformational technologies to compete in a digital world. Customer experience is the focus here, and customers want to be connected online. Amazon-like interaction is becoming more and more expected. The sales rep who can provide business insight on how to transform the business is going to be highly sought after. CIOs can’t so this alone.
But few reps are doing anything more than parroting data sheet features and functions. The answer? Every rep should be back in school! By that I mean taking time to learn about business.
Reading the CIO Journal is a great start. But don’t stop there. Read books written by the top business authors. Every month I recommend books I find value in through my Insider’s Edge Newsletter. One book I recently recommended, Traction, offers great insights into the business planning process. Business planning might not sound like technology sales stuff, but it is central to what business leaders need. Start with the things they are already engaged in, and then move to the digital age to help them solve real-world problems.
On the other side there is security. The fact is, security is changing, and CIOs are being asked to present a measurement of risk to their board. Where does that data come from? In the very large enterprise, such as Bank of America (where I used to work years ago), there are teams that handle that sort of thing. But come down a step or two and it doesn’t exist.
One of my clients, who manages this entire process for regional banks, recently reported achieving over 400% of his quota in just 6 short months, simply by providing this to his clients. They need it, and they’ll pay for it.
The Trusted Advisor Formula
There are two ingredients – Trusted and Able to Advise. It’s obvious. Maybe even silly. When I say this on stage it usually gets a laugh.
But there is an important question here. Are you able to advise on the things your execute-level clients really need advice on? If not, how will you equip yourself to make this transformation? It’s not easy. It takes diligence in reading, studying, and listening to/ watching great content. Those who take the time to study will see the results. Those who don’t may find the next decade in this business to be impossible.
© 2017, David Stelzl
Creativity is Essential
But where does creativity come from?
Success comes to those who are truly creative, but how many people do you know, that you can truly say have great, creative ideas?
My 13 year-old son and I were discussing creativity and inventions just yesterday. Who actually invents something or comes up with an idea that turns into millions or billions of dollars? Much of it is technology today and Steve Jobs is a great example. Read his life story and you’ll see some character attributes you may not appreciate, but you can’t deny he had some genius in him. Is this creativity limited to just a few people? Or can you build your capacity to create?
Creativity is a character trait. Some may be more creative than others, but don’t for a minute believe that you can’t become creative, or more creative than you are right now. Here are three things to consider if you want to be more creative, and therefore achieve greater success.
Taking Time To Build and Organize Knowledge
Napoleon Hill calls each one of us to become learners – but not generalists. He calls out the university system as broken. The university system would have you believe the lie that a broad, general, liberal arts education is what you want if you’re going to lead. They have also instilled in us the lie that you need a professor to master something. This is not the case. Hill says, “No, you want specialized knowledge – to be an expert in something.” And that comes from research, reading, and organizing knowledge as you learn it.
Greg McKeown agrees in his book Essentialism. He stresses the importance of choosing to either know a lot about a lot of things, and therefore be mediocre in all of them, or to specialize and become the expert; the advisor. Of course he urges us to choose the latter. Choose to be an expert in something that matters.
Hill encourages us to be reading every month and to subscribe to online courses (what he calls home study courses) that give us that specialized knowledge in our field of choice.
Taking Time To Brainstorm
Seth Godin, well known author and former VP of Marketing for Yahoo (back when they were a stock you’d want to own), tells us that great ideas are the few that pop up in the midst of hundreds of bad ideas. In other words, taking time to brainstorm and write out ideas leads to lots of bad ideas and a few good ones. Those who don’t have good ideas, don’t actually have any ideas. They just don’t take time to think up ideas.
Before Thomas Edison solved the lightbulb problem, he first came up with a thousand things that don’t work. You can’t expect to have great, creative ideas, unless you first spend time coming up with all kinds of ideas, good and bad.
Hill points to our inherent fear of failure as the hurdle that keeps us from creating. It’s one of the six major fears common to all men according to Hill. No one wants to be different. But being the same just means you’re average. If you want to be more successful, you have to somehow be different. Again, it was likely the school system, where the oddly dressed person was the outcast. Everyone had to be the same – same clothes, same music, same hair style, same lingo. Different was bad…Just ask Bill Gates.
Taking Time to Rejuvenate
Finally, McKeown compares us to our cell phones. If we’re not charged we won’t perform. Looking back at the industrial revolution he describes our mindset as one that values constant work, not creativity. The idea of a machine being down simply means it’s broken. So when it’s time to take time off for renewal, we cringe. It’s seems like a waste of time. The guy working next to you, who never takes any sick or vacation time, and who works 80 hours per week, is seen as more valuable. The truth is, creativity is worth more than any machine can produce. And more than the average workaholic will produce.
McKeown schedules his vacation days first. Days to completely let go of work, put away the phone, and ignore check email. These are days of renewal, to reset the mind and prepare him for great things.
Taking McKeown’s advice, I am, right now as you read this, trekking through the most northern mountain range in New York with my 13 year-old son Josiah. There’s no cell service out here, and no place to charge a laptop. Our only electronics are GPS and a satellite phone in case of emergency. It’s a time for relationship and renewal – one that will lead to greater self-awareness, productivity, and creativity.
If you want to be creative, and therefore more successful, start reading, organizing knowledge, brainstorming from that knowledge, and taking time off to renew your mind.
© 2016, David Stelzl
Are Your Customer’s Getting The Disney Experience?
Retention with any form of managed services depends a lot on customer experience.
No one can argue that Disney hasn’t been a leader when it comes to attracting people – and building loyalty.
Yesterday I had the privilege of interviewing Vance Morris as part of our monthly SVLC Insider’s Circle Program. Vance has lived on the other side of the Disney experience – the side creating it. Today Vance works with companies like yours to help create differentiation through customer experience.
There are two key value propositions out there right now that really matter… Customer Experience and Security. Imagine if your company could provide both!
Here are a few highlights from yesterday’s program… Want more? Join the Insider’s Circle
First, Vance tells us it’s not really MAGIC. But what is it? It’s more about consistent processes that make everyone feel loved. He talked about the script you use when you answer the phone, and how your SE’s approach a client when arriving onsite. These simple things go a long way when you engineer them correctly, and train your people to follow through.
The Welcome Matters. Welcome kits are a big deal. But Vance took this a step further, talking about how to keep clients thinking about you long term. It’s more than just good service. The extras go a long way. An important point here was charging enough to add those extras.
Newsletters Create Magic. Vance showed us how a dentist and a carpet cleaning business leveraged the newsletter. This is an area I believe we are failing in! In fact, I had to look back at my own efforts and make the decision to recreate. It’s not cheap, and it takes time. But I am convinced it matters. People do read newsletters when they are worth reading…but no one wants to read about Microsoft patches…Vance told us exactly what to put in the Newsletter if we want it to sell for us.
And there’s a lot more. But these three things stand out as steps every one of us can take without too much effort. And if we did…we would see some amazing results.
For those of you who are already in the SVLC Insider’s Circle – your copy of both the video and audio are going out this week…with our NEW newsletter (in hard copy as Vance recommended) shortly to follow…If you’re not – please consider joining us using the link above. These programs are designed to keep you up to date on the industry and in front of your competition.
© 2016 David Stelzl
Selling Security is Not The Same As Selling Insurance
You can spin security a million ways to make it sound like there’s a return on investment, but you’re only kidding yourself.
So how exactly do you sell something that many people think they don’t need more of, and that really has no ROI?
I just wrapped up two training days with Brian NeSmith, President and CEO, and his team at Arctic Wolf, a security operation center that targets small and medium businesses. As always I’m sure I learn more than anyone at these meetings. And I have to say, I’m impressed with the technology and the team.
Arctic Wolf is exactly what small and medium businesses need as they move toward more IoT, mobility, and BYOD. This morning as I’m wrapping things up and getting ready to head home for the weekend, a few key principles are on my mind…these are foundational mindsets every sales person must have if they want to sell security or managed services.
- Security is not a product. Even if you are selling a product, don’t present it that way.
- Every small and medium business needs more security. Specifically, they need the intelligence and insight into what’s going on in their network as they create and use data. According to Gartner, 80% of these companies are working without any realtime detection element. Even if they have the UTM firewall, they probably don’t watch it. And if they did, they wouldn’t understand it. That means every one of these companies is a qualified prospect.
- If budget comes up, something is wrong. Security is sold based on high impact of a likely event. Most decision makers won’t understand their risk, so start there. That means you’ll need to gain access to those decision makers early in the sales process – but not to show them your corporate presentation. Instead, talk to them about technology trends like IoT that will be used to grow their business. That’s what they want to hear…then transition to the security risks that come with new technology.
- The sale requires justification. Justification comes with getting them to see they have urgent issues – risk. Most assessments, like 90%, show urgent findings. That’s justification. If you still can’t close, you are either talking to the wrong people, or hiding the urgency in the language you use. Be bold and upfront – be clear. People from China are potentially in your data!
- Whatever you do, don’t get bogged down in the technology and how it works. This discussion can come later with the IT people – but the sale is made at the business level, and should be conceptually made before diving into the weeds.
For more on how to effectively sell security, check out The House & The Cloud…you can get it here for a limited time for $1.00 – free shipping, and no strings attached.