The global cyber security market is expected to come in at $173.5 billion in 2022 and expand to $266.2 billion in the next five years. With a market growing this fast, your sales team has wide open opportunity for significant growth. But cyber security technology deals still require effort and finesse to close successfully. We took some time to survey our network of Emissary Advisors who’ve served as senior IT executives with Fortune 500 companies about how they make buying decisions in this space. Their insights shed light on what makes the market challenging for sales and how to sell cyber security technology successfully.
Why Cyber Security Technology Sales Is Challenging in Today’s Market
The recent focus on security risks, labor challenges, and evolving regulations have made cyber security initiatives a priority for many organizations, but the buying process comes with some tricky pitfalls.
Cyber security technology decisions are becoming business decisions.
Responsibility for data security is starting to spread beyond IT. According to recent Gartner research, 88% of boards regard cyber security as a business risk rather than solely a technical IT problem. As a result, business executives will weigh in on technology decisions and risk analysis will drive their selections.
Key decision makers are hard to reach.
Even though technology buyers are looking for more from their vendors, they have less time to spend with sales reps during the buying process. They rarely respond to cold outreach, and with the tight labor market, they’re often tackling pressing business problems that take precedence.
Sales cycles take longer and include more pitfalls.
With more people on the buying committee and complex purchasing procedures, the sales journey can be long and arduous. Cyber security initiatives are under pressure to succeed, and vendors face more scrutiny and higher expectations for demonstrating credibility. Many companies are demanding proofs of concept, pilots, data analysis, and detailed ROIs, which make each engagement more costly for vendors.
The competition is growing, too.
While the opportunity for cyber security technology sales is exploding, the number of players in the field has multiplied as well. The Cyber Research Databank lists over 3,000 vendors and 6,900 products your buyers have to choose from today. The sheer numbers can bewilder decision makers and make it difficult for sales teams to stand out against the noise.
How to Sell Cyber Security in Today’s Market
Although cyber security is a crowded and challenging playing field, there are strategies that will lead your team to success. We asked our network of Emissary Advisors to weigh in with some of the most effective sales approaches from their perspective as buyers.
Address the needs of all decision makers across the business.
Your sales team is used to demonstrating the technical details, cost savings, and workflow improvements that your solution offers the IT departments. But you have to move the discussion into other areas as well. For example, security leaders will expect to understand how your technology measurably improves their ability to protect data in their environment and within their constraints.
As an Emissary Advisor and senior security executive shared with us, “Where are our risks? Where do we see that we’re vulnerable? What can we accomplish through policy? through software tools? Bring it down to a practical level. We [security executives] have to be able to position ourselves. While we’re not contributing to the P&L, we’re protecting the P&L.”
In addition, legal and finance will be interested in how you can support auditing efforts, ease regulatory compliance, or save money on insurance premiums. And business leaders will want to know the impact on customer experience, the security of personal data, and support for cultural security awareness in the organization.
Reach decision makers through community.
The vast majority of buyers will do plenty of research before they connect with vendors. Buyers will turn to vendors they know, subject matter experts, and professional online communities for information and insights about how to address business challenges. Cyber security technology providers need to participate in the community as experts in order to build credibility and relationships with buyers long before the first sales meeting.
When asked about this issue, one senior IT executive in Emissary’s network noted, “Being engaged and recognizable makes a big, big difference. We look at …are the people that are building and selling it are part of the community?’ [The best sellers], they’re not just trying to sell into it. They’re part of it. And they’re interested in raising the tide for everyone.” Security executives form a tight-knit community, and they want to work with active, contributing members of that group.
Keep the sale moving with effective interactions that meet all buyers’ needs.
Buyers understand that security technology initiatives are complicated. And they want to work with organizations who understand the challenges and offer a realistic approach to solving problems, not broad marketing generalizations. Additionally, sales teams should prepare messaging that addresses the business and technical sides of the problem and solution, so you’re ready to discuss the topics most important to your audience at any point. Emissary Advisors have shared that boilerplate content turns buyers off, so customize communications to include your detailed understanding of their business and environment.
Demonstrate your organization’s ability to be the partner buyers need.
The cyber security industry is evolving at a dizzying pace, and as a result, organizations’ security architecture will also need to mature over time. When buyers are considering your solution today, they need some assurance that your team will stay engaged for the long term.
Senior security executives in the Emissary network have expressed their appreciation for salespeople who keep the conversation going by sharing useful and interesting developments and trends in cyber security. That level of partnership builds trust that persists for years, even when buyers and sellers move on to other positions.
Capture the inside track with good intelligence.
The strategies for how to sell cyber security technology successfully depend on detailed, accurate, and timely intelligence about your accounts. Your team has to go beyond the typical research data and learn the personal drivers and preferences for each decision maker. Plus, you need to understand the corporate culture, values, and business philosophy for the organization. There’s no faster and easier way to gain that insight than talking to a former senior security executive from your target account.
Emissary’s Advisor network of CISOs and security executives can provide the unpublished details you need to implement effective sales plans, drive cyber security technology deals to a close, and build lasting industry partnerships.
Emissary is a human intelligence network that connects enterprise sales and marketing professionals directly to a community of over 12,000 talented senior and C-level executives with recent experience at their most important accounts.
Leveraging the Emissary network will enable you to shorten your sales cycles, close more deals, and build positive long-lasting relationships with your clients and prospects – because you’ve gathered the tacit knowledge on their challenges and needs.
Contact your relationship manager or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how Emissary can help you win more cyber security technology deals this year.