The VAR Guy Blog

Memo to VARs: Use Security As Your Tip of the Sales Spear

Every business, regardless of size, industry or location, needs some sort of IT security. Gone are the days when small businesses could rely on anti-virus scanning on their desktops to protect them from malware. With hackers creating customized targeted attacks for small businesses, the proliferation of personal mobile devices in the workplace, the sheer number of infected websites, and the movement of confidential information outside the firewall, all organizations need to secure their networks with a combination of perimeter and endpoint security products.

The big question: How do those market realities help VARs?

Possibly the most difficult part of solution selling is finding new customers. It is much easier to approach existing customers or clients with new solutions than it is to approach a new contact with a solution.  So it is often easier for VARs with a large customer base to begin selling new solutions as they can target their existing customer install base rather than spending time looking for new customers.

However, even VARs with large customer bases need to grow their business by finding new customers. While there are a variety of ways to find new customers; attending tradeshows, purchasing lists of potential leads, conducting lead generation activities with vendors, the best way to create new opportunities is through successful sales calls on new customers.  So, VARs need a compelling conversation starter when approaching a potential client. Because the need for IT security is so universal, using security as your conversation starter, or tip of the spear, is an ideal way to begin a VAR/client relationship.

Talk the Language

Being educated and conversant in...
  1. Mobility;
  2. Cloud Encryption and Compliance;
  3. Secure Networking; and
  4. Virtual Security Appliances... name just a few, are all great ‘tip of the spear’ conversations to drive a value based consultative customer conversation. If a VAR’s adequately trained by a vendor in these solutions, they’ll quickly create credibility with customers and gain new account footholds. The one thing I did learn from 17 years at Microsoft is it’s always the software application that is the interesting part of the solution. So if you want to be a great VAR sales person and sell boatloads of HP, Cisco, Netapp gear and other big iron systems you really need invest in knowing how to sell software.

Once the VAR has secured that initial business problem needs, either by offering a security solution or even managed service, they have the beginning of a relationship they can then use as a means for discussing other related services and products they provide. The software may only be a small % or part of the revenue stream but it’s the part that makes the rest of the solution go.  Know how to sell security software solutions and it will deepen the value proposition you bring to your customers.

Steve Hale is VP of global channels at Sophos, the security software company. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship.

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