By Terry Greer-King, managing director for Check Point Software Technologies in the UK
If only selling security solutions and services could be made easier. Wouldn't it be great to have hard information that could point you directly at real sales opportunities and warm prospects, who are already sold on security and ready to talk to you?
The good news is that these resources do exist, and those prospects are very real. The sales opportunities can be found in solution renewals, refreshes and upgrades that bring end-users' security estates up-to-date, and enable organisations to squeeze the maximum return from their investments.
Furthermore these prospects are easier to sell to, as they need no convincing of the benefits of new technologies. All you have to do is help them make the most of what they already have.
How do you find out about these sales opportunities? Simply by asking the security vendors you already partner with. Indeed, switched-on vendors should be able to provide you with detailed information -- such as product licensing, available upgrades, new functionality and latest protections - on the solutions that your prospects have already deployed in their organisation. This information in turn gives you a checklist to use when engaging with those potential customers.
In my experience, these relatively simple deals are frequently overlooked, because sales teams instinctively prefer to look for fresh new customers rather than grow new business within their existing clients.
This fact was made clear in recent partner events, where we found out that even some of our most successful partners weren't fully aware of the potential upgrade and refresh opportunities within their existing customer installations. When a cash value was placed alongside those opportunities, it was clear that there was some very juicy low-hanging fruit that was simply being left on the tree.
Learning from your peers
The refresh opportunity doesn't end here. Once you have your checklist of possible opportunities, you need some guidance on how to best maximise your sales from that list. A partner benchmark analysis can provide such guidance, simply by giving a straightforward, easy-to-digest comparison of what your organisation has sold, compared with your reseller peers.
This may sound counter-intuitive, yet we can all learn from observing what our competition is doing. All too often in sales, you can find yourself ploughing the same furrow again and again, and approaching a prospect in the same way, over and over, simply because it's worked well in the past.
But it could be that your rivals are mining a rich seam of solution upgrades that you haven't tapped into yet. Or perhaps they are capitalising on relatively easy-to-sell license renewals or system upgrades that you haven't picked up on. It's worth asking if you could apply the same methods to your own customer base and enjoy some easy incremental business, in addition to your more complex new sales.
Taking good note of what your peers are doing, and using it as a basis to assess your own sales performance, can help you ensure that you are not missing on any easy opportunities. For instance this could help you uncover a sales angle you previously weren't aware of and help you further develop an existing customer relationship. In fact, taking a leaf from other vendors' books does help minimise the competitive threat.
As with the refresh opportunities, a select few vendors can provide you with partner benchmarking information to help uncover possible incremental sales opportunities that may have previously been hidden or overlooked.
In conclusion, sales are difficult enough as it is, so why not ask the vendors that you partner with to support you and identify some easier targets? Not only may this provide you with a valuable new stream of potential sales, but it will also give you the opportunity to revisit existing customers and nurture your relationship with them. Those are two good reasons why you should make it easy on yourself.
This was first published in November 2010