Unless your company sells strictly to small businesses where the business owner is most often the sole decision maker, there’s a good chance that identifying the “decision making loop” is the first order of business. And, in today’s collaborative work environments, it’s common that companies will designate teams to make IT and business decisions. This is especially true when it comes to selling IT security solutions and services, such as Cisco ASA (Adaptive Security Appliance) with FirePOWER Services because security impacts every department within a company — although not in the exact same way as we’ll soon see.
The upside of prospecting companies with multiple decision makers is that budgets can be shared across multiple departments, which greatly increases the size and scope of a project and can lead to a larger sale. However, this potential comes with the prerequisite that the salesperson addresses the specific pain points of each decision maker first.
Even if it’s the same security solution that addresses each decision maker’s need in the end, specific details of the solution must be presented in a way that highlights what’s most important to each influencer. Consider the following key motivators among a few decision makers your salespeople are most likely to encounter:
- Chief Security Officer (CSO) — reducing risk while enabling business innovation, protecting intellectual property and data assets, meeting regulatory requirements, improving operational efficiencies
- Chief Information Officer (CIO) — business continuity, business flexibility, meeting regulatory requirements, improving operational efficiencies
- Chief Security Architect (CSA) — developing an effective security architecture, setting and enforcing policies, meeting regulatory requirements, monitoring the evolving security landscape
- Security Operations Director — reducing risk without hindering the business, managing disparate point products, coping with personnel and budget constraints, eliminating security blind spots
- Network Operations Director — keeping the network up and performing well, balancing user demands with budget and space considerations, reducing the network impact of security, simplifying management
As you can see from these examples, there is overlap in motivators, but each decision maker also has one or more that are unique to their position. Think of each motivator as a notch on a beaker. Each time a salesperson addresses a specific motivator it is like adding fluid to the beaker. The most successful salespeople are the ones who can fill each decision maker’s beaker.
So, the big question is how do you train your salespeople to adjust their sales pitches to more precisely address the needs of each decision maker? Honing this skill starts with gaining a deeper understanding of the security products and services they are selling followed by role-playing sales engagements to practice articulating and adapting their pitches accordingly.