By Shawn M. Thompson, Esq.
Sales interactions are ranked as the most important source of information from providers during the buying process — above provider websites and marketing activities. According to Gartner, sales interactions present the greatest opportunity for providers to directly influence buyers, but they are often ineffective because they lack “domain expertise.” Product managers and sales reps need to understand their market, and to do so requires understanding of the particular domain, especially those that are new or less understood such as insider threat. For example, if you are selling software to corporations to manage insider threats, but you have very little knowledge of the types of insider threats or best practices for managing them, you will likely fail. How can you understand unmet needs of your customers if you do not even understand their most basic goals and tasks?
While sales interactions are of paramount importance, there continues to be a great deal of buyer frustration and dissatisfaction with them. The primary cause is a mismatch between what buyers want to hear and what sales thinks it needs to tell them. Many sales teams are still trained to focus primarily on their own products and services, trying to educate and build buyer interest by convincing them that their product or capabilities are superior.
But what do buyers want? They want to gain insights that they can’t find on their own and they want to see a well-articulated connection between their business challenges and a provider’s products. In short, they don’t want to be sold. They want a value-added partner with technical people to explain the product and how it will work in their environment, but most importantly they want domain experts to help them apply the product to their specific world.
So, what should vendors do?
Based on research from leading sources (Gartner, Forrester, McKinsey & Co.) and ITMG’s personal experience helping numerous solution vendors market, position, and sell their solutions; two key recommendations emerge that will drive insider threat solution sales:
- Increase the number of insider threat domain experts in your organization
Domain knowledge provides product managers and sales reps with the information to make the decisions that will be best for the customer, user, and market. Without some level of knowledge, product managers and sales reps are simply flying blind. Domain expertise helps product managers connect with buyers and users to truly understand what they need and not just what they want. Domain knowledge also steers marketing communications to effectively align your solution with best practices leading to a clearer message for the buyer.
- Adapt Sales Training to Be More Buyer and Domain-Focused
According to leading sales experts, the greatest impact to sales generation occurs when organizations expand beyond basic sales and product training and develop curriculums that focus on the particular market domain. Domain training is necessary to understand and align your product with the customer buying process and business situations. Domain training that focuses on use cases and outcomes and industry scenarios is most effective. Simply training on features, without building an understanding of when and why they matter, is ineffective. It makes sales a walking Web page versus a trusted guide. Providing context for features, and training on how to explore needs and usage models with customers, enables a more guided approach.
So how can vendors acquire this insider threat domain focus?
ITMG, LLC has designed a training program specifically for insider threat/risk management solution vendors and their sales and marketing teams. This course will teach you all you need to know regarding how to sell your insider threat solution to customers and close the deal! Training can be provided live at your office, online, or delivered via your corporate LMS.
This practical training course aligns an Integrated Messaging Sales Model with a comprehensive overview of the insider threat Problem, the Context in which insider risk is managed, the Incentives that organizations have for implementing solutions, and the various categories of Solutions used to manage insider threats. Each step in the buying cycle corresponds to a specific phase in the Messaging Model, making it an easy reference for sales reps to identify the relevant questions and probable pain points of prospects.
Training your sales reps on insider threat domain knowledge offers the following benefits:
- Decrease new reps ramp-up time
- Allow reps to have more meaningful conversations with customers, sooner
- Build trust with customers by understanding their pain points, workflows, and requirements
- Establish greater credibility by “talking the talk”
- Learn how to talk to buyers so they will listen
- Understand buyer personas
- Understand industry nuances and selling points
- Develop domain expertise to be able to help customers develop “best practices”
- Allow you to position your company as a Strategic Partner/Advisor, not simply a sales vendor
- Teach clients about problems they don’t know they have
Contact ITMG today to schedule a training session and to learn more: https://www.itmg.co/vendor-sales-training.html or call 410-874-3712.