IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Keeping Clients Out of the Headlines

Here are four ways to activate channel security sales successfully. By Stephanie Dismore

CIOs HAVE IDENTIFIED SECURITY as the top investment priority for 2019, according to Yet activating security sales remains a challenge for many channel partners. The reason is twofold: First, the cybersecurity marketplace is complex and crowded, with a constant influx of new threats and solutions that leave many customers fatigued. Second, security sales require a mindset shift for customers, from one that emphasizes productivity and growth to one that also prioritizes protection. Further, security often calls for the involvement of additional key decision makers, making for a more complicated sales cycle.

Ultimately, customers are looking for strategic, trusted advisers to help them navigate an ever-evolving security landscape. Here are four ways partners can tune their approach for success:

1. Pinpoint your focus. It’s virtually impossible for a single solution to address total cybersecurity.

To become a true trusted adviser, be selective about the solutions you provide. Understand your customers’ specific needs, identify the problems your solutions will address, and then go deep into those pain points and spell out your remedies. Equally important is building your ecosystem of trusted partnerships.

There is added opportunity to develop expertise and deep solutions for vertical markets, such as healthcare or financial services. Each vertical has unique security challenges, and successful partners will be those who can design security solutions to address these demands.

2. Create opportunity. Forbes cites that 56 percent of organizations outsource company-specific security activities, and 33 percent outsource the development of their IT security systems. Security providers have a unique opportunity to ensure this trend continues.

Creating that opportunity starts with helping customers articulate their current and ideal future security environment. In addition to inquiring about the state of their security plan and level of risk tolerance, look at IT strategy through a lens of security. What is the customer’s mobility strategy? Where are they in terms of regulatory compliance? Then, bring on the analysis. The ability to assess a customer’s needs, identify vulnerabilities and gaps, and present that information back to that customer in an actionable way can be a key differentiator for partners.

3. Understand the players. CEO. CIO. CISO. IT decision maker. Legal. HR. Procurement. Compliance. Business units. These are the many players involved in security decisions, and partners who understand how to appeal to their varied interests will be better equipped for security conversations.

According to a Deloitte Insights report, CIOs are more likely to directly report to the CEO in industries undergoing major technology-driven disruption like telecom and media, the public sector, healthcare, and financial services, among others. If your customer is in one of these industries, up-level the discussion from malware to protecting company and customer assets.

Similarly, elevate the discussion to security leaders and CISOs by talking about policies, not products. With increasing regulatory pressure and compliance playing a bigger role in security purchasing decisions, it will be important for partners to stay current on policies and their impact.

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