3 Critical Seller Skills for Selling Cloud Computing and Security Tools in Today’s Economy
Every industry is impacted by the ongoing economic uncertainty in recent months, including cloud data and cybersecurity sales. Whether your team sells SaaS, IaaS or PaaS solutions, you’ve likely been faced with customers changing purchasing protocols and placing higher scrutiny on budget approvals. These obstacles may present a huge threat to your company’s growth goals unless you’re able to adapt your sales approach to address these new challenges. Now is the time to support new behaviors on your sales team to help reps have greater impact and meet your revenue objectives. We’ve outlined three of the most critical skills for cloud data and security sales reps in today’s market and how sales leaders can enable them.
For more strategies from elite leaders in the cloud tech industry, watch our recent live panel discussion featuring leaders from Boomi, NWN Carousel and Battery Ventures.
1. Charting the Buyer Landscape
As the economy changes, the way your buyers approach purchases is changing too. Budgets are under more scrutiny, team dynamics are changing and the approval process may be getting more complex for your sellers. This new economic context requires that sellers skillfully execute a deep discovery process, including what we call charting the buyer landscape.
Charting the buyer landscape means documenting all parties of influence in the buyer organization, including their required capabilities, priorities, potential risks and relationships to others involved in the deal. Knowing these elements early on prevents deal stalls and helps sellers maintain negotiating power with budget-conscious buyers. When sellers have a process for charting the political landscape of the buyer organization, they are able to identify where influence lies and visualize a path to the economic buyer. This skill is crucial to executing a successful champion selling strategy in today’s market, where buying committees continue to expand and C-level decision-makers are involved in every deal.
Sales leaders can support sellers by defining a system for methodical deep discovery and empowering managers to hold sellers accountable to this process. To streamline the management operating rhythm, consider implementing a deal management tool like Opportunity Manager. By guiding sellers to collect and document specific information about the buyer organization, Opportunity Manager constructs a detailed view of the buyer landscape and makes that information readily available across the organization to enhance collaboration and deal review opportunities.
Here are some resources to share with your sellers to help them start thinking about charting the buyer landscape:
2. ROI-Based Messaging
Faced with economic pressure, buyers are not making purchase decisions without clear and provable ROI. It’s critical that sellers are able to tie your solution to key positive outcomes their buyer is trying to achieve. When it comes to selling complex cloud data and security solutions, sellers have a tendency to focus on exposition and demonstration of the product. Sales conversations about features and functions are not going to cut it right now - sellers have to be able to demonstrate the value you’ve provided to other customers and help the buyer envision how that value will impact their organization.
Help sellers craft a message that speaks to each buyer’s desired outcomes by providing a messaging framework that focuses on the value your solution provides. A messaging framework helps sellers get off-script and communicate value that is responsive to the needs expressed by the prospect. It can also help sellers better leverage metrics and proof points to convey specific ROI that aligns with each buyer’s priorities.
Leaders should provide sellers with a framework for connecting the data/security solution to key outcomes and develop proof points from customer success stories that show clear and relevant ROI for those customers.
Here are some resources to share with your sellers to help them bring ROI to the forefront of their sales approach:
3. Influencing the CTO / CISO
There’s no doubt that influencing the top technology officer is crucial to ensuring support for your cloud computing or cybersecurity solution right now. Whether it’s a Chief Technology Officer or a Chief Information Security Officer, someone in the C-Suite has final signoff on the budget for your solution. The reality is that your sellers may never get face time with these execs - or if they do, it may be late in the sales cycle. If a seller waits until they have a meeting with the CTO to start uncovering and addressing their priorities, they’re giving up valuable leverage and risk losing margin or worse, the deal itself.
In order to influence a C-level technology leader, sellers must be able to identify and coach one or multiple champions to sell on their behalf. By leveraging internal players who have influence with decision-makers, sellers can begin to feed their ROI message up the ladder from the very first meeting. It’s crucial that sales leaders equip reps with the necessary materials and messaging to support champions and eliminate the personal risk of selling on their behalf. Ensure that sellers are prepared by providing messaging and developing proof points that speak to the main priorities of today’s CTO and CISO:
- Collecting and leveraging more data to increase efficiency
- Compliance with changing regulatory, industry, and customer requirements
- Reducing risk to protect and improve company value
- Success KPIs: Discovery and recovery time of cyber incidents, Level of security risk, Cost per incident, Security training effectiveness
Here are some resources you can share with your sales team to help prepare them to leverage champions to influence the CTO and CISO:
How Tech Sales Leaders Are Supporting Teams Right Now
If the economy is impacting your growth plan, you’re not alone. Learn the leadership actions that get results in a challenging economy from three proven leaders who have built and led highly successful teams in the cloud data and security space – Marcy Campbell, CRO at Boomi; Jim Sullivan, CEO at NWN Carousel; and Bill Binch, Operating Partner at Battery Ventures. We recently hosted them for a live Industry Leadership Panel. Watch the on-demand panel discussion to hear their insights on how you can support and enable your sales organization to achieve revenue goals this year.