Security buyers and sellers need each other. But when both parties don’t approach the relationship in the right way, it can become problematic. Buyers aren’t sure what solutions are right for their business. Vendors have the challenge of helping buyers understand their products, without scaring them off.
Filip Kaliszan, Co-Founder and CEO of Verkada, recently shared his insights on this topic in a CISO Security Vendor Relationship webinar. Here’s a quick look at some of the highlights.
What makes buying and selling security products so difficult?
A variety of elements contribute to the complexity of the security marketplace. First, there are so many different products. Security is a hot topic and plenty of companies are jumping into the space. So, there are almost as many vendors out there as there are products. This makes determining which of these are worthwhile, and eliminating those that aren’t, challenging.
For vendors, one of the main challenges is that security and its associated concerns are constantly evolving. Just a few short years ago, cameras were everywhere, but anxiety about them was lower. People weren’t thinking as seriously about privacy and the consequences of how data is captured, stored and moved. Today, there are more conversations about these topics. Organizations want to better understand who has access to surveillance recordings, when they are being accessed and what purposes they are being used for. This makes it critical for vendors to address these concerns as part of their sales process.
What tactics should vendors avoid when selling their products or solutions?
There are many different approaches vendors can take to sell their products or solutions. However, across the board, there are some methods that are generally not well-received. One popular, but ultimately ineffective, way to sell security solutions is with fear tactics.
Selling fear is a major turn off in the CISO community. The danger of using it as a selling strategy is that your message simply becomes noise. Buyers learn to block out these techniques because they don’t speak to actual needs. There are some instances where using fear can be appropriate. However, it shouldn’t be where the conversation begins.
Filip discussed his stance on this topic by saying, “There are certainly compelling events within organizations that drive decisions and often those compelling events are very scary things that happen in the physical world. We generally stay away from using fear tactics and techniques to drive our sales. We don’t think that’s an effective approach.”
Instead of using fear tactics, vendors should focus their attention elsewhere. Some start with a conversation about other aspects of the industry. Opening a dialog about the state of the industry, privacy and video surveillance is powerful. This increases trust with buyers by driving the conversation forward. Many of the most successful vendors choose to highlight how their products and solutions can impact the buyer’s business in quantifiable ways. Regardless of the specific approach, vendors should endeavor to share their insights, as opposed to pushing the fear and doubt angle.
How can buyers be confident when choosing their security products?
There are different contingencies involved for each organization that purchases a security product. Some have concerns about the physical placement of cameras. Others are more concerned with the IT aspects. Ultimately, buyers need a vendor to provide a security product that satisfies both physical and cyber security standards.
How can vendors build trust and create partnerships with potential buyers?
One way that vendors can build trust is to be transparent with their buyers. Let them dive deep into the technology and identify possible use cases. The more that a buyer is able to understand about what the vendor offers and how the process works, the more likely they are to choose that solution or product. From there, one happy customer can have a big impact. As buyers share what has worked for them, word spreads about the vendor and new accounts start coming in.
In order for buyers and vendors to have a successful partnership, the focus should be on approaching problems collaboratively. This way, the buyer is having their needs met. In turn, this gives vendors the opportunity to solve problems, show their value to buyers and improve their products.
There are many factors that go into developing effective partnerships. Even though it can sometimes be challenging, creating opportunities for cooperation is a worthwhile endeavor that can ultimately reward both parties. Buyers and vendors should aim to stay open to connecting with each other in order to solve the real-world problems that come with making and keeping our world secure.
Want to find out more about how buyers and vendors can work better together? Check out the Building Effective Partnerships Between Security Experts and Security Vendors webinar to get more insight on this topic and the state of the industry.