Unlocking your customers' security needs

Opinion Nov 09, 2012

What would you give to find out exactly what security problems potential customers have?

I’m sure we’ve all wished for clairvoyant skills that would help us find out exactly what issues a potential customer really has before we go into the sales meeting, so we could move straight onto scoping out a solution that addresses those needs.

A key problem in selling security is that all too often the customers themselves don’t fully know or understand the extent of the issues they are facing. This isn’t through lack of market knowledge or ignorance; far from it. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of end-users know the security sector, and also know they have security concerns that need addressing. But in most cases, they are simply too busy dealing with day-to-day tactical IT issues to be able to find out what their real security priorities should be. They can’t see the forest for the trees.

As such, wouldn’t it be mutually beneficial if you could identify and assess those security issues for the customer, and deliver a prioritised specific plan of action covering the immediate priorities to them? This not only positions you as a problem-solver, you’re also giving them an unambiguous report on exactly how the customer can improve its security posture and safeguard its business. While this sounds great in theory, it could also mean a lot of initial work if approached in the wrong way.  So how should you go about doing it in practice?

The first step is to partner with a switched-on vendor that is as keen as you are to identify new opportunities. A handful of vendors offer threat assessment and discovery solutions, and a very select few of those actively collaborate with their partners to offer a consultative security assessment service that is free to the end-user. 

With an approach such as Check Point’s own 3D Security Reports initiative, VARs can either install a simple virtual machine, or a physical appliance on the customer’s network, to monitor network traffic and identify security strengths and weak points over a period of a couple of days. The findings from this assessment give concrete evidence of the issues that a customer currently has, and enables the VAR to help the customer prioritise the issues that need urgent attention.

It also enables VARs to take the security message to the boardroom, by putting the customer’s security issues in a business perspective. The hard evidence of these reports is a powerful sales ally: as Winston Churchill once advised: “Please put your conclusions and recommendations on one sheet of paper at the beginning of your report, so I can consider reading it.”

With this kind of assessment report, you can show concisely and exactly what threats are currently on the customer’s network, what threats they are vulnerable to and the risks to the business, and make recommendations to cleanse the network and close those security gaps. What’s more, it’s a proposition that can be just as effective with existing customers as with new prospects. 

In conclusion, sales is difficult enough as it is, so why not ask the vendors that you partner with to support you in engaging with customers and helping them to understand the real security risks they face? This could not only provide you with a valuable new stream of potential sales, but it will also give you the opportunity to revisit existing customers and nurture your relationship with them.

Terry Greer-King is UK MD at Check Point

 

 

Image: Shutterstock

 

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