Cyber Security Prospecting Playbook
If you lose control of the discovery call, you’ve probably lost the deal. Do great on the discovery call and there are still plenty of ways to let the deal slip through your fingers. This playbook shares key lessons learned from 8 years of working closely with cybersecurity vendors.
WHY DEALS GET STALLED
- Hardware/lengthy implementations require more approvals.
- CISOs may want to buy your product but aren’t ready for the spend needed to make your solution work in their environment.
- Lots of CISOs have internal roadblocks like a backlog of projects they are impatient to see implemented.
- There is always someone who works closely with CISOs to understand different vendor capabilities. Not identifying these people and respecting their timelines will halt the momentum.
Facts are, CISOs don’t have time to respond and narrate their strategy to every vendor they meet. Tell them what problem you solve, how it relates to their environment, and most importantly: be quick about it.
Back up your assertions with data
It doesn’t “add value” to simply dump all your sales collateral on them.
YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT PROOF OF CONCEPTS WRONG
- CISOs will often reject a POC even if they like the product.
- Most CISOs view POCs as a potentially disruptive commitment of resources, not a low-risk introduction to a potential new vendor
- Getting data for a POC is ALWAYS a challenge especially if the client has to do the heavy lifting
- Most large firms have an innovation lab; these are the guys who will actually determine whether a POC is warranted
- Cybersecurity firms often seem (to CISOs) more focused on their next funding round than on solving their clients’ problems. POCs are often used as proxy for future revenue. Your urgency to meet targets for that next funding round doesn’t match well with CISOs’ preferred pace.
PREPARE THE SALES INTELLIGENCE YOU’LL NEED
These are the kinds of questions you’ll need to answer in order to guide your account strategy, including messaging, positioning, and content marketing.
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What is the cybersecurity organization structure at the company beyond the CISO?
How will your solution impact each unit of the security organization and how they work together?
Do they have an innovation lab or AI/data science center of excellence?
What is their current vendor ecosystem and what does it say about their maturity and how well your solution will fit?
What key hires are they looking to make and what does that say about where they are placing bets for the future?
What roles (not just titles) are likely to be buyers?
What roles (not just titles) are likely to be the “deciders” in an innovation group?
How are new vendors evaluated? (In G2000 companies, it’s often the Innovation Group)
How should you balance your efforts between the buyer and the deciders?
There are plenty of other examples of sales intelligence that will be more useful for your particular product-market fit. It takes some effort to tease these out. Often the best approach is to deconstruct past deals and talk to recently-closed customers to understand what factors were at play when you were working their deal.
Once you understand those factors, you can identify proxy signals that you can combine to reasonably predict sales intelligence without someone needing to tell you.
APPLY THE SALES INTELLIGENCE THAT YOU’VE GATHERED AND TAILOR YOUR APPROACH
Why and how does your solution solve for pain points you’ve uncovered?
Why is your solution better than the alternatives?
What messaging will resonate most with buyers based on what you’ve learned about them?
Each of these questions actually leads to dozens more if done properly. Spend some real time with others inside and outside your organization to answer these adequately. If you spend an hour on this and figure you’re done, you have a problem.