Mastering the art of selling security solutions

Paul Naidoo, sales enablement specialist at Buzz & Beyond, shares tips on how channel partners can master the art of selling IT security solutions.

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Mastering the art of selling security solutions Paul Naidoo, Sales Enablement Specialist, Buzz & Beyond
By  Paul Naidoo Published  July 17, 2018

Customers don’t want to be sold on IT security solutions. Customers want to buy security solutions. The “buy-in”, from customers leads to the sale quicker than the hard sell approach.

Usually, salespeople from reseller organisations make the biggest mistake by trying to over sell cyber security. You will lose the sale if you undertake some of the following hard sell tactics:

Promising that your security solution is 100% safe. Although it may be so, customers are expecting to be informed of the slightest possibility of a security breach. That’s why, educating your clients, rather than chasing a quick sale is one sure way of winning them for the long term. There is no need to create fear around security but rather educate your clients about the total business experience of security implications. Whilst security solutions grow and update, security threats and risks follow the same path.

Most resellers in the market today try to be the “all-in-one” security solution provider. Although you may be the one solution for all, it’s not the best positioning when approaching a client.  That’s why it’s critical to take time to listen to your customer first before recommending the best possible option. Optimally, position yourself as a subject matter expert in a particular area. Perhaps you are really good at data centre security and that becomes your entry point from which you can systematically do the upselling of other security solutions.

Another tip that need not be encouraged is running down your rival or trying to position your solution as superior. This approach can be detrimental to your own prospects. It is best to use a consultative and trusted advisor strategy that gives your clients enough info, after conducting an effective needs analysis from which they can make an informed decision and give you business.

It’s vital not to neglect having discussions around the regulations of security and the compliance issues faced by your customers. Remember, that security is not only an IT issue, it is largely a business issue. Therefore, engaging with the right people to create a total business experience will sure open more opportunities for the salesperson serving that account. Many organisations employ a security manager, who is in a different role from the IT manager. You may assume that the above approach may take longer to get you the sales. Contrary to popular belief, you will get the right sales, at the right profit, within a shorter period of time. So how should sales people position themselves as subject matter experts? Here is what sales people need to do:

Know your Customers business really well

Know your customers’ customer, both internally and externally

Know your Customers competition

Know the possible threats and risks faced by your Customer

Know your solution really well and in particular, its relevance to the Customers pain points

Know your competition solution and be prepared to have a discussion initiated by your Customer, around your competitor

Know the peripheral aspects of what security means in the Customer’s business, rather than perceiving it only as an IT solution

Know and present a journey of risk mitigation, to your Customer

Know how to engage in a simple, practical, meaningful and relevant conversation as opposed to technical jargon that comes of your brochure

One of the most challenging tasks you will be faced as a sales person is to change your customer’s mindset. Most sales people usually refer to this as objections and selling IT security is not about handling objections. It’s firstly about the perceptions you have around objections. Your mind will immediately switch to defence mode, either in fight or flight.

Your approach is to reframe the customer’s mindset from a conclusive perception into progressive actions in your favour and this requires each sales person to firstly reframe objections into valid concerns.

An in-depth understanding of the ten categories of objections, will help any sales person in the IT security space to reframe the clients’ mindset.

For starters, a salesperson should be intuitive and be able to follow the mindset of their customer at the point of objections, rather than try to prove that their solution is better.

Long before meeting a potential customer, the sales person should be prepared to identify, handle and reframe every possible objection or concern that the customer brings up.

Preparation is key and is the foundation of self-confidence. Ultimately, sales is the self-confidence to initiate and manage a fair exchange for value.

The views expressed in this article are Paul Naidoo’s own opinions and not necessarily those of Channel Middle East magazine.

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