Archives For selling technology

question_markHow Technically Savvy Are You?

Is This Winning You New Business?

It would seem that if you really know what you’re doing technically, people will buy from you. Unfortunately that’s not true.  IBM showed us a long time ago that sales prowess outsells technical savvy every time. Look at companies like WellFleet, Sybase, and DEC.

If your somewhat new to the industry, you may not even recognize these names. They’re history.  But not before developing some really cool technology. We’re only on Wednesday and already I’ve had several coaching calls with technical heavyweights, who at some point decided to go out on their own. The idea was, “Since I’m the one who knows everything, I can probably make more money running my own business.”

Initially that sounds great. Then you start wondering why no one is calling. You know everyone out there needs you, but for some reason, they are still meeting with non-technical sales people. Why?

The school of hard knocks truth is that technical skills don’t readily translate into business. Michael Bosworth, in his book Solution Selling, told us years ago to sell to the 95% of the population that doesn’t realize what they need. Steve Jobs told us, “People don’t even know what they need until I invent it.” (A reference to iPods and iPhones).

If you have strong technology, that’s good. You can’t complete long term without it.

But if you want to grow your business, you really need marketing and sales strategies that work. Some things to think about….

  1. If you do assessments, start measuring your conversion. If they are security focused for instance, do you know how many (Percent) show major issues? Given that, what percentage of them convert to remediation? If the percent is lower than 50% something is broken. Your message is not getting to the asset owners – the people with liability.  (Learn more about this in The House & The Cloud)$1 HC Book Ad
  2. If you conduct lunch & learns, how many are coming? More importantly, how many are converting to a clear next step? If it’s just your customers, you probably have little or no clear conversion rate. If you are getting new prospects, is there a clear next step (like an assessment) that leads to new business. What’s your conversion rate?
  3. Even if you just sent out proposals, are you measuring the conversion (or close) rate? If you’re down in the 20% range like most, you are wasting a lot of time.  In my book, From Vendor to Advisor, I explain how I achieved a 95% proposal close rate. Might be worth a read.

Copyright, 2016, David Stelzl

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IMG_9025We All Need To Keep The Learning Process Going

Spending Time With Successful People

How do I keep up?  Well it doesn’t hurt that I interview experts every month.  Last month I had the equivalent of an MBA course in HIPAA, preparing for and speaking with Marc Haskelson of the Compliancy Group.  Over the past several months I’ve had opportunities with former NSA and CIA agents, owners and presidents of highly successful resellers, and some of the highest producers at larger companies like Dell Secureworks, Accuvant, and Check Point Software.

Next month I’ll be hanging out with some million dollar producers in my own business in a 2 day planning and strategy mastermind meeting.  There’s nothing better than learning from your peers when you see them doing something great.

Morning Reading – Krebs, WSJ, Etc.

Another thing I do is read.  I always have a book going.  Right now I am working through an audio book on building your online platform, by Michael Hyatt.  I also read the WSJ CIO section each morning, and subscribe to Krebs on Security.  Here’s a tidbit from this morning’s post I found interesting … How do fraudsters “cash out” stolen credit card data? Increasingly, they are selling in-demand but underpriced products on eBay that they don’t yet own. Once the auction is over, the auction fraudster uses stolen credit card data to buy the merchandise from an e-commerce store and have it shipped to the auction winner. Because the auction winners actually get what they bid on and unwittingly pay the fraudster, very often the only party left to dispute the charge is the legitimate cardholder.”

Conferences Are Great For Networking and Learning

And today, as you read this post, I am headed out to Denver Colorado to attend the Information Marketers Summit with Robert Skrob, President of the Information Marketing Association.  IMA is code for online training programs like the Security Sales Mastery Program on my website.  If you’re in the high tech industry, you can’t afford to work so hard that you don’t have time to read, network, and attend training.  As you start looking at your 2016 two things I recommend doing. First, figure out when you are going on vacation, and block that time out.  Also block out any important days such as your spouses birthday or your anniversary.  Second, figure how what kind of training you need to get and how you’re going to get it.  If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking.

© 2015, David Stelzl

PS. Don’t forget, many of you qualify for free training. I have several sponsors who are willing to put you through the Security Sales Mastery Program – normally $450/seat!  Contact me to find out if you qualify for a seat!

virus blueWhy Urgent Issues On Your Security Assessment Report Don’t Sell The Next Step

Have you ever wondered why the client doesn’t jump on the chance to implement your recommendations when you complete an assessment?

One of the most frustrating things in the security business happens when you complete an assessment. It seems like at least 90% of the assessments I’ve been involved in or read the report from, have several urgent issues. Gartner and I both have stated that 80% of the security budget is spent on keeping people out, but in my book, The House & the Cloud, I make it clear that detection-response is the only strategy that works.  Yet, clients rarely implement the recommendations that come from these reports.  They pay to have them done, listen to your findings, and then move on to other things. Why?

What’s Really Urgent? Hint: It’s Not Old Equipment or Missing Patches

I was meeting with the President of a technology  reseller two weeks ago in a 6-Hats Strategy session, going over the assessement process.  This fall he’s signed up to do at least 15 assessments before year-end, but if they don’t convert to managed services contracts, he won’t be happy.  History shows us that only about 15% will convert to more business unless he changes something.MMS Blog Ad

As we went through the 6 Thinking Hats Brainstorming Session, his list included things like missing patches, open ports, and free or non-existant Anti-Virus software. These all sound urgent, but they’re not! Not unless you can tie these issues to something more concrete. For instance, if you’re assessment comes up with no Anti-Virus software (of course most companies today would have something for AV), but there’s no sign of malware, you’re going to have a hard time convincing the CFO or frugal business-owner to spend more money.  Same thing with outdated software or hardware. If there’s no sign of danger, they probably won’t move to remediate.

Assessment Sales Depend On Impact and Likelihood

If you want to sell the next step, you have to take the next step in the assessment process. This is clearly spelled out on page 194 – 199 in The House & The Cloud, 2nd Edition. The next step is looking for the issues that should exist when a company fails to do the right thing.  Symptoms are enough to get a response. You don’t need the deep dive technical  analysis on what a particular botware application is doing. If they have one, it’s bad even if a marketing company put it there. If the marketing company is able to install bots on a network, the bad guys can do it too. Don’t worry about what the bot is, just find it.

If the systems are missing security patches, look for evidence of tampering, foul play, or unauthorized activity.  Keep asking yourself, “So what” for each issue you find, and tie it to a business problem. Find evidence of that problem, and you’ll have justification.  Don’t just say – your port is open. No one cares.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. If you want to sell larger security deals, click the ad above and see if you qualify for a free seat through one of the many hardware vendors who sponsor this training!

Apple Video

(Click the Picture to Play)

Apple – Bigger Than Microsoft? How Can That Be?

Apple, $683, Microsoft $338 Billion (Market Cap).  Wow! (Be Sure to watch the video above).

This morning as I read this I was thinking about my Mac 128 – the one I purchased as part of Drexel University’s computer science program – one of the first accredited computer science programs offered in the U.S.  It was a great computer and it was the first Mac.  Today I’m sitting in front of my Macbook Pro. This one actually has a hard drive in it…I’m connected to various cloud apps, made calls to Europe on it this morning, and am sharing documents around the world, monitoring the other Mac’s on my local network, and syncing with my iPhone – the other half of my IT infrastructure.

How did Apple get here?

If you’ve not read Steve Job’s life story, I highly recommend it – if you’re in the IT space. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m saying when I say, “I had no idea.” Back in 1984 I had no idea who Apple really was, who Steve Jobs was, or Bill Gates. But reading about Steve’s life has been eye opening at the least. Regardless of the baggage you’ll read about, he was a genius. It’s amazing story or rags to riches…Blog Subscribe Ad

Now, have you read Simon Sinek’s book, Start with WHY? Interesting, Simon wrote this book in 2009. Apple was growing – but Simon had no idea Apple would be where they are today. Looking back at what he wrote, his wisdom is validated. People buy your WHY before they buy your WHAT. If you haven’t read his book – you should read it now. Apple is the company he’s talking about.

Taking the Risk vs. Following the Trend

Today’s Business Times article explains how Apple got to where they are today.  Read it!  <<  CLICK.

The iPhone – Steve was right. People can do everything they did on iPods, with a phone. And by making the phone bigger, they not only cannibalized  their iPod business, they ate into their tablet business.  “The most successful companies need a vision, and both Apple and Microsoft have one. But Apple’s was more radical and, as it turns out, more farsighted. Microsoft foresaw a computer on every person’s desk,… But Apple went a big step further: Its vision was a computer in every pocket.” (BusinessTimes).

The article goes on the show that “Microsoft has repeatedly tried to diversify, and continues to do so … But “it’s been more of a follower whereas Apple has been more of a trendsetter.”

The Wake Up Call To Resellers

This business is changing. I don’t know how long Apple can hold this leadership position. No one stays in front forever. But the bigger thing on my mind as I read this is the technology reseller business. Years ago Novell led the charge in building a successful channel – many have followed, and  there are some great channel programs out there. But the technology sales business is changing. In the 90s, Unix systems made the firm I was working for very successful. In 2000 it was VoIP. in 2003 I was running my own consulting company, helping resellers convert to Managed Services.

Those who are still hanging onto these offerings are doing the opposite of what Apple is doing. There are two things to focus on right now – helping clients gain a competitive advantage (largely through software), and helping them build in greater levels of security as they transition to cloud, BYOD, and online collaborate tools.  Those who wait will be too late.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. Do You Have Your Copy of The NEW House & The Cloud?  << Get it on Amazon…

Big Fork Ridge TrackRemember when phones were phones?

Nobody thought phones would anything more – just a handset tied to a box with a rotary dial.

Wireless was neat. Remember when it first came out? You could walk around the house, go outside, and continue working on projects while talking…it was amazing.

This weekend was revolutionary for me. Equipped with my iPhone 6 and a $2 app called MotionX, I was able to pin point my elevation and location trekking through the Smoky Mountains over the weekend.  I also had weather and a way for emergency rescue to track me down if the need arose…

Being a late adopter, I could have spent over $300 easily, just a few years ago, and had a 1 x 1 screen with digital readouts of my latitude and longitude. I would have had to turn off my GPS while hiking to conserve my battery.  And when I powered up, it would have been painful to reconnect to a satellite.

This weekend was much different. The iPhone 6  with it’s larger screen had my topo loaded up before we left Charlotte. That was easy. I just searched with the app, found the location online, downloaded it in just a few seconds, and turned off my phone. When I arrived, I had already reviewed the terrain on Google Earth – printed out trailhead directions from AllTrails.Com, and had my starting position marked on the MotionX map. I also had back-country campsites reserved online – a requirement in the Smoky Mountains.  I opened the app at the trailhead – of course we didn’t have service, it’s the Smoky Mountains. But we did have satellite – and I was connected in seconds.

Yes, we really saw Elk on Our Trip!

Yes, we really saw Elk on Our Trip!

The app runs in background, so I shut off the screen, put it in my shirt map pocket, and headed out with my kids. Every 10 minutes Siri updates us on our position – she tells us how fast we walking, what our altitude is, and how far we’ve walked so far.  To check how much further… I can either have preloaded waypoints or just check the map on the screen.  I chose the latter since I was not able to download the waypoints and didn’t want to enter them by hand.

My phone was on the entire time. The next morning, in 15 degree weather, my battery was looking a little weak. So I plugged into my Anker portable recharger!  In minutes my phone was back up and running – which lasted me through Saturday and Sunday.

It’s a little off topic, but not really.  The point here is technology is getting faster, smaller, and cheaper. How much longer will the $300 GPS be a viable solution? I can’t imagine the average hiker buying one – the $2 app does it. What about PCs? How long do we have? Servers? Storage?  I agree, we will continue to need some of this hardware. But the cloud is changing the value of infrastructure. The iPhone is one example of a computer most of us can’t make a living selling. It and the tablet are changing the way we compute.

How long will it take you to retool? Can you continue to live on basic managed support services and infrastructure resale? As we move into 2015, we should all be thinking about the future of technology sales. What will still be worth paying for? Security will. Security Managed Services will. Consulting will – when it relates to the business. Virtual CIOs and CISOs will be in demand. Custom software will…. Networks, storage, computers….not so much.  What are you selling in 2015? What about the year after that?

© 2014, David Stelzl

P.S. I also took all of my pictures with my iPhone – leaving my $350 outdoor point and shoot, and my Canon SLR in my home office collecting dust.  Back in the car I made calls, checked in by phone with those back home, and more…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! It’s just about 2014…and I’ve been working hard this month to put together some new things for the coming year. One of the most exciting things I’ve completed is my Completely re-engineered Marketing Success Kit, specifically designed to help you land new business in the managed services, security, and operational efficiency areas…

Save 40% right now… CLICK

Marketing Managed Services

What is the most effective way to market managed services?  Over the past year I have conducted dozens of live marketing events to help resellers position their managed services offerings.  This is by far the fastest way to gain access to the right people, and to build the right kind of justification.

As I’ve stated in my book, The House & the Cloud (FREE) – managed services is always a risk sale.  When you try to demonstrate ROI, you often end up giving your services away for less than their worth, or losing the deal to a lower-cost provider.

Managed services is almost always purchased by people looking to reduce risk – in order words, it should be positioned just like a security solution (assuming you position your security solutions as a way to reduce risk.)

Simply put, managed services allow a company to maintain an acceptable level of risk.

Marketing and Live Events

This toolkit is not for everyone – it’s specifically designed for those companies that plan to do lunch & learn events and other live events with their customers and prospects.  It is also uniquely designed for companies selling technology – security products and services, managed services, and technologies that lend themselves to improving a company’s operational efficiencies – such as BOYD, collaboration, cloud, mobility, etc.

After over 25 years of attending, organizing, or speaking at these types of events, I’ve compiled all kinds of lessons and strategies to guide you through the process of attracting the right audiences, finding the right speakers, focusing on the right topics, and offering something to move your attendees to the next step.

If you’re going to go through all the trouble of setting up an event like this – why not set it up with success and follow-on business in mind?

You can read more and save on this package right here – but only for a limited time… (CLICK).

In it you’ll find over 6 hours of audio teaching, step by step instructions in my 100+ page field guide, a quick reference guide,…and for a limited time, a special bonus audio program on building your managed services business…plus a FREE introductory membership to my Insider’s Circle Group…

Here’s the link to learn more…

© 2013, David Stelzl

If it’s urgent, it sells now.  Medical emergencies don’t allow people to shop for the best price, the person in need just does it.  That’s why I like using security as a wedge product or door opener.  It demands attention when we can find something urgent; it might be a compelling event or an impending audit, or it might be something we discover through an assessment.  I’ll be giving much more on this tomorrow in my Demand Generation Webinar – which is free, but also completely filled up and has a waiting list.  But get on the list just in case (Click Here).  I want everyone of my readers to know how to do this!

But Security and medicine are the not the only ways to create urgency.  Having a limited supply, a limited amount of a certain type of resource, or having one of the only offerings in a certain niche, with limited capacity does the same thing.  A special offer with a limited time to buy does this for retail. An assessment that reveals large amounts of money being wasted – with a recommendation that will cut TCO by 50% certainly demands the CFOs attention.

Do you have urgent offerings?  If not, you need to create some.  Using your discovery process, risk analysis, a study of some type, or by creating something unique with limited availability – start thinking about how you can do this.  Without it, you leave money on the table every time.

© 2011, David Stelzl