What you need to know about selling cyber

By Amanda Stone, cybersecurity channel development representative

As cybersecurity salespeople, we never lack reminders that the cyber landscape is a truly unsettling place. Each new headline-stealing breach exposes another example of how vulnerable we are. Feeding the exponential growth of cybersecurity threats are the number of avenues hackers can use to obtain our consumer data, the number of rewards for its theft and the relative lack of deterrents.

I recently had the privilege of chatting with Faraz Siraj, regional vice president of Americas’ Channels, Distribution and Alliances for RSA Security, about best practices for cyber sales reps working for various VARs and distributors.

Siraj cited the overwhelming number of security vendors that government agencies and commercial companies have to choose from and why it’s so important for companies in the channel to be the voice of reason. It’s easy to lose sight of our role as a trusted advisor as we try to hit a sales goal every quarter. Nevertheless, there is a tremendous opportunity to not only close deals but also to be the security solutions consultant for our clients.

Siraj offered a few pieces of advice on increasing your sales by becoming a truly trusted advisor:

  • Know your customer. Understand their written requirements and learn their pain points. This means being aware of what your target agency or organization is currently using for security and being prepared to offer suggestions on solutions that would enhance their security posture and integrate with their current environment. Ask them about their long-term strategy. Often customers are so entrenched in day-to-day operations and have only given loose outlines for future plans and policies.
  • Talk to leadership. Make sure you’re discussing security solutions with the most senior level people in both commercial and public sector. No longer are buying decisions made by IT managers. As the C-level executives are now the first to be held responsible for any news-worthy breach, the final decision on cybersecurity is usually made in the boardroom.
  • Hone what you know. Become an expert on the trendlines of the security practices of your customers and their peers. Develop a true understanding of your vendors’ offerings, as well as competing solutions. Be able to discuss multiple options to solve customer and agency challenges. And keep a strong relationship with vendors and distributors to execute on those solutions.

Siraj also offered a few pieces of advice for security vendors working with the channel:

  • Use a value-added distributor. OEMs can only touch so many partners and they have to be able to rely on a trusted distributor to act as an extension of their channels and sales teams.
  • Continuously innovate. It’s a bit of cliché, but aptly so. It’s easy to become inundated with simply maintaining the status quo, but unless security vendors are routinely looking for ways to improve or expand on their solutions and operations, they will not recognize the long-term growth they might see.
  • Evolve your channel program. Take notes from those vendors whose partner programs are being recognized within the security community for award-winning deal registration programs. Create opportunities for partners to win additional margin and back-end rebates and training enablement.

As the host of cyber threats continue to evolve, our customers will increasingly look to the channel for guidance, and those individuals and companies poised to offer true assistance will continue to reap the rewards.

Want more guidance on selling cybersecurity in the channel? Learn more about immixGroup’s cybersecurity capabilities today!

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