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Moving beyond fear mongering, 5 simple strategies for selling security

25 January 2018:

Huw Jones, Cisco Business Unit Director at Tech Data Advanced Solutions UK, looks at simple and effective strategies for selling security solutions

The security market continues to deliver significant growth opportunities for channel partners, however the nature of security sales is rapidly changing. Organisations are no longer looking for security products but rather end-to-end solutions tailored for their business environment. In a world of ever present cyber security threats, many organisations are aware that a next generation firewall alone will not prevent a breach or minimise the business impact. A modern approach to security requires a broad mix of tools combined with new processes to be effective. Here are 5 simple strategies for selling security solutions.

  1. Education – know what’s what

    It is fundamental that channel partners understand the security solutions and services in their portfolio before meeting a customer. Many customers are daunted by the plethora of security solutions available on the market and may have concerns about cost, complexity of implementation and ease of use. The quickest way to lose all credibility is to over commit and under deliver. It is vital channel partners are knowledgeable on the solutions and services they are promoting and realistic with customers on outcomes. No solution is 100% secure and there is no silver bullet.



    Education is key and is readily accessible; channel partners should reach out to their vendor and distribution partners for guidance on what support, online resources and training is available. Knowledgeable partners are able to articulate the value of solutions without the need to push a message of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Demonstrating expertise is far more valuable and builds credibility with the customer.

  2. Knowledge creates trust

    Security can be a delicate subject within some organisations as it involves discussing sensitive topics such as existing areas of vulnerability and potential routes for malicious attacks i.e. threat vectors. Channel partners that can demonstrate their understanding of the customer’s vertical market, including having knowledge of compliance regulations and challenges unique to the industry, will be able to establish themselves as a trusted advisor.



    However, the range of security solutions available is vast and it can be tempting to claim expertise in as many verticals and vendor solutions as possible. Channel partners should avoid this approach and instead focus their resources in existing areas of strength. By taking this route, partners will stand out from the competition, build their brand and become recognised as an expert provider in their chosen area.

  3. Ask the important questions

    Regardless of the size of organisation, someone will be responsible and accountable for security. In large organisations, it is likely to be a chief security officer, in smaller organisations it could be the managing director. It is important to understand who the decision maker is and what their security pain points are. For larger organisations it can be easier to find out as many publicly traded organisations mention cyber security risks within their annual or periodic reports.

    Partners should avoid jumping on a hot topic just because it is topical and making headlines, instead find out what the customers unique business challenges are. Often, it is the need to be compliant to industry regulations that is driving the buying decisions for security solutions. By asking the right questions companies can get to the heart of the problem and start to address the real security concerns of the organisation.

  4. Broaden capability

    Having already suggested that partners should avoid trying to be all things to all organisations, it is important not to limit business opportunities. For example, traditional security partners that specialise in solutions such as next generation firewalls or anti-virus should seek to widen their outlook. By understanding the end-to-end attack vectors, such as viruses, email, instant messages etc partners can work with their distributor to identify complementary solutions and expand their existing product and service offerings.

    By working closely with distribution, partners can up-skill in new solution areas whilst utilising the specialist security services available from the distributor.  This ensures a seamless solution implementation for the customer and a new revenue stream for the partner.

  5. Understand the latest possible routes of malicious attack

    One of the most important things to remember about cyber security and the threat landscape is that is not static. As organisations continue to embrace digital evolution, threat profiles will change and evolve. Cyber criminals operate under a host of motivations and once their techniques are recognised and remedial action taken, their methods evolve to enhance their effectiveness.

    It is important that channel partners keep their knowledge of the threat landscape up to date to ensure they can recommend solutions that work best for the customer’s budget, business environment and risk profile.

Rise above the noise

Too often security sales pitches descend into a spiral of fear and voodoo, with apocalyptic scenes presented to customers. This tactic not only switches people off but it’s unnecessary when there is already a plethora of studies and statistics to support the need for stringent security. Channel partners can differentiate themselves from the doom mongering naysayers by personalising their security offering to the needs of the customer. By understanding their business environment, processes and policies, channel partners, supported by distribution, can rise above the noise and deliver an end-to-end solution that not only secures but also enhances the customer’s business environment.

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