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Tuesday We Heard From Prakash Panjwani – Moving to Security is not an option for Technology MSPs and Resellers…

Here are a few comments as I get ready to go on stage in Miami, at the WatchGuard Apogee Event – WatchGuard’s annual partner event for the Americas…

© 2018, David Stelzl

 

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This week I am working hard on several items for next week – the Ingram Micro Webinar, Undeniable Justification Using Security Assessments, and another Pre-Event Webinar introducing my new ebook and workshop, 7 Secrets to Profitability Using Lunch & Learns and Sales Events (Now sold out – but get on the waiting list!).  It’s a busy week –  both are coming along nicely and I am looking forward to meeting with you next week to air this important educational material.  While preparing and working with the folks at Ingram to get our program organized, I’ve had numerous conversions with clients who use assessments in their sales process.  Some are paid for, and some are complementary…Here’s a tip I think a lot of people are missing on fee-based assessments, and as a result, are leaving money on the table – The Security Assessment Subscription.  This is something I started doing years ago while selling assessments, and it made a huge difference in both the gross profit I realized and the follow-on project work.

Security Assessment Subscriptions

An assessment measures risk – it’s a measure of impact vs. likelihood.  The problem is, it’s a point-in-time measurement, so once it’s over, the risk levels will change over time, and by the time the client decides to do it again, gets it approved, and signs a contract, a year will have gone by.  On top of this, many of the remediation  recommendations you made will be forgotten long before they make their way through the approval process.  You’ll be lucky if they take one of two of your recommendations and actually carry them out.  What about the other 4 or 5 critical issues?  And then there’s the long list of things that should take place that just never will.

When I started selling assessments, I did something I’ve not seen done by other sales reps.  I turned each assessment opportunity in a subscription offer.  When an assessment opportunity came up, I worked through the sales process as usual, but then on my proposal, I made it an option to do it as a subscription.  I would charge a flat fee for the assessment, let’s say 30K.  Then I would tack on a subscription fee of 5K to update it over the next three quarters.  Since the documents already exists in the 30K project, there is no need to rewrite the document.  The scope is fixed based on the original project.  So all we had to do was go in and revisit the original scope – updating new issues, noting remediation recommendations that were never followed, and adjusting the areas they did remediate.  The 5K may not represent a great deal of added GP…in fact, it’s kind of a break even deal…but…

  • It kept me in front of the decision makers for year.
  • Gave me a chance to remind them to follow through with the recommendations.
  • Allowed me to uncover new problems requiring attention.
  • Made me first in line when an issue did arise.
  • And allowed me to stay on top of any new opportunity that might affect the state of security.  (Meaning all new internal projects).
  • It also allowed me to possibly expand the scope, resulting in a fee increase.

The 5K was large enough to cover my cost, keeping me in there over the year.  It was also small enough to create a competitive edge when others proposed their assessments against mine.  I was the only one thinking about the year – ongoing security.  I proposed it as the default offering, meaning the client had to check a box to not include it, rather than having to add it. That may sound like a manipulation tactic, but the truth is, the company should do it by subscription.  Security assessments should be done quarterly.  I learned this from the pest control people.  Try hiring the termite guy to come out for one visit.  He won’t do it.  They sell their program by the year, not the visit.  The reason is, one treatment isn’t enough…the same is true of the security assessment.

Don’t miss this webinar next Wednesday….I’ll be giving a number of insightful tips like this one to help you grow your business.

© 2012, David Stelzl

Downtown Grand Rapids

I’m Back from Grand Rapids and heading into a busy week, but not without some reflection on the benefits of last week’s educational event.  27 business leaders attended this event where I addressed the group on current security trends and threats specific to the SMB space.   Over half of them will be looking at their security issues in greater detail this week with the sponsoring solution provider, in the form of an assessment.  The majority of these companies are not currently engaged as clients, but are still receiving this assessment as a thanks for joining the meeting. This is a significant step in the right direction and a value to both the business owner and the consulting firm.

On Friday (the day after this event) I spent some time with a rep out in the north west (by phone), going through this type of event and what makes an event successful.  On the call, we discussed ways of attracting new clients, a question I have run into more and more over the past year. He mentioned that they have tried doing  lunch & learn events, like the one above, to demonstrate their value to the local firms – “But we can’t seem to get people to attend – why?”  “How do you continue to attract audiences, even in cities where there’s already of glut of these kinds of events?”, he asked. There are a couple of key issues to consider here:

1. People attend events that offer something they personally need and care about.  If I am in the market for a particular kind of tool or home improvement, I might attend a home show or head over the the Woodcraft store’s open house (a popular store for those engaged in fine woodworking).  I have a specific need and the above mentioned gatherings offer some insight.  If the thing I am buying is obvious, I don’t need to attend.  The problem here is, my lunch & learn at this point only appeals to a certain group of people who are currently shopping for something – it’s a small audience, and my chances of marketing to the right people are slim.

2. If I make this into a product pitch, I can still draw an audience.  Consider RSA – a product show that continues to draw thousands.  What’s the attraction?  There show is advertised to technical people…but the attraction comes with the speaker line-up.  Technologists convince their firms to fly them there and pay for lodging and food, to see John Chambers or Marc Benioff speak.  The problem with your lunch & learn at this point is, you don’t have a speaker that will draw an audience.  Stop saying, “People are too busy,” or “We have too many lunch & learns in our city,” the truth is you don’t have a show worth going to.

3. Too many companies are focused on the numbers.  My coaching client on Friday told me his sponsors only care about numbers in exchange for marketing dollars – meaning it doesn’t matter who shows up.  This is wrong thinking.  The vendor requires some re-education on the importance of converting attendees to buyers.  The percentage matters far more than the number of attendees when we are working with expensive solutions.  With this in mind, getting the large technical audience referenced in point number 2 is not really valid.  Based on the attendee list, I can almost predict the percentage that will sign up to do the assessment (or any other offering).  IT people will love the talk (if it has great content), but will pass on the assessment – why?  Two reasons, they have no liability, and they have no money.  The bottom line here is; setting up an educational event for technical people will buy some good will and demonstrate value to an existing customer base, however it generally will not produce new clients for a solution provider.

4. Content that will attract business leaders, must focus on the business leader and their business. What do they think about all day?  Obviously they hire advisers; legal, health, financial and investment, and more..what about technology?  The event mentioned above was specifically designed to help business leaders understand their risk and liability regarding data and intellectual capital that resides in their most important business applications and databases.  These attendees saw value, responded to a message aimed at reducing their risks of data loss, and followed up with value delivered through the sponsoring solution provider in the form of an assessment.

© 2012, David Stelzl

 

 

Did you attend the Ingram Micro Advanced Technology Webinar on Accelerating Security Sales using The House & the Cloud?  We had nearly 300 registered for this event yesterday…if you missed it, or if you didn’t know about it, Ingram Micro did record the session and has made it available online.  Here’s the link for the playback:

CLICK TO HEAR DAVID STELZL’S HOUSE & CLOUD PRESENTATION

Don’t forget, you can also request a FREE copy of the House & the Cloud Book here…(CLICK), and there is also a live audio program available on how to sell using the House & the Cloud sales model (CLICK and scroll down to the MP3 on Executive Selling).

In this session we covered several important topics including:

  • Problems with the current approach resellers are taking to both sales and marketing.
  • The problem with most assessments – which leave the sales person with little hope to sell follow-on project and managed services business.
  • The problem with most sales presentations – leading to boring company overviews that drive your audience to their Blackberries and iPhones rather than listening to you.

From there we moved into several concepts that build a strategy that will lead you up the ladder, into your decision makers office.  We talked about how to get to the right people and what to do when you get there.  In the end, there must be solid justification.  Listen in and see what I am talking about.  Thanks for listening!

 

© 2012, David Stelzl

 

FREE Webinar: Accelerating Managed Services Sales, April 3, 2012 3:00 PM ET.

Yes, I am repeating this webinar – the waiting list from last week was big, and few cancelled, so if you missed it, I apologize.  You can sign up here:

http://stelzlmrr2.eventbrite.com/

Tomorrow morning I am headed out west to speak to business owners on major threats closing in on their business.  Most of the them have no idea how vulnerable they are – yet their data is their most important asset.  Some of them are working on new inventions that will take their business to the next level, others are handling sensitive medical information protected by HIPAA and highly guarded by their patients, and still others are processing financial transactions, managing debt, and overseeing investments and bank accounts.  These are the owners and business leaders of a city’s small business community – and they all have one thing in common; Data@Risk.

As someone who has sold security solutions, developed methodology, and overseen some very large security/risk assessments, I know first hand that it is easy to get in.  I also know that most of these companies think they have it covered because they sit behind a firewall and run anti-virus software. Meanwhile we have companies like Nortel written up in the Wall Street Journal, having had hackers in the bowels of their company for over a decade, siphoning off, who knows what kind of data?  It’s epidemic, and it’s urgent.

Attending our event we have over 60 decision makers – all from companies who would benefit from a managed services solution that includes security management.  They need a way to detect problems before they get big, and a way to effectively respond…All of this points to managed services…on April 3rd, my goal is to show you what these people need, how to tell them about it, and how to justify the expense, making this a win/win for you and your clients.  If you want to know how to build this side of your business, join me on the 4rd – we have limited seating, so sign up soon.  Here’s the link again:

  http://stelzlmrr2.eventbrite.com/

David Stelzl has a fresh perspective on the high-tech consulting business – he’s taken resellers from selling point products to providing high-end technology solutions, significantly increased company profits through the addition of consultative offerings and managed service programs, and has had the privilege of  speaking to and training marketing and sales teams all over the world.  As an example, he developed material and trained Cisco’s North American, Australia/New Zealand, and Asian sales forces on how to reach executive managers with a compelling value proposition; a message that grew Cisco’s advanced technology security sales by 38% in 2006, according to internal reports.
Visit us at http://www.stelzl.us to learn more.

© 2012, David Stelzl

Guatemala City: Day 2

February 1, 2012 — Leave a comment

Tuesday was full day, kicking off the morning with several sessions on selling security including, discovering new opportunities, learning to effectively use sound bites, and a review of the security briefing material I have been using at executive facing lunch and dinner meetings.  Our sessions were held high in the mountains in a house my client has turned into their company conference center (Pictured on the left).

After a hearty lunch of steak and potatoes we continued working through the House & the Cloud model, discovering the secrets behind effective messaging and marketing approaches.  In every country I visit, it is important to understand some of the cultural barriers in marketing and selling – for instance, in Guatemala, there really is no middle class.  The barriers between the lower and upper classes make interfacing with higher level executives more difficult than some countries such as the US.

This same barrier may exist in any country when dealing with very large corporations where high-level executives refuse to see the sales person as an adviser regardless of their advisory capabilities.  One way to deal with this is to find other people in the organization that are also “Asset Owners” – people with liability, but perhaps not the highest level executives.  My book, The House & the Cloud describes an asset owner as someone with real or perceived liability – not necessarily the CIO or CEO.  In any case, it would be rare for the IT Director to be counted in this group.

PS. I should have planned more time to sight see and take pictures.  This is a beautiful country!

© 2012, David Stelzl

Preorder Now!

A couple of key points from today’s webinar:

1. The discovery process deserves some re-engineering.  It is by far the greatest accelerator you have once in the account, and is the thing that will take your team from being a vendor, to being seen as a strategic adviser.  Don’t miss this point – don’t assume your consultants are fine doing what they do.  Make this part of your company great, and you will beat the competition.

2. Every executive relies on advisers – in areas of legal advice, health, financial, and perhaps marriage, spiritual, and who knows.  Who is advising them on the the proper use of technology?  It could be you…but do you command the same respect they give to their investment advisers?  You should…

3. The discovery deliverable is your ticket to “really big” business!  Make sure it is great…spend some time on this.  Don’t just write it, get advice on it, hire a writer if you have to – but pull together a sample that clients can’t refuse – then equip every sales person with a copy and teach them what to do with it!

If you missed this session, let me know and I will tell you how you can get a copy of the recording…

© 2011, David Stelzl