The cybersecurity market was already large—nearly $120 billion worldwide. But those estimates are out of date. The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything, and for companies selling cybersecurity software that means opportunity.
At the beginning of 2020, 24% of IT budgets were estimated to go toward endpoint security tools. That was before work-from-home orders and social distancing mandates forced us to move our offices to our living rooms and our students’ classrooms to our dining tables. Now, those networks companies were protecting are exponentially larger and the many of the devices that are the new network end points aren’t controlled by a business or school IT team. They are rich targets that these organizations need help protecting.
Cyber criminals are already trying to take advantage of these vulnerabilities. Online threats were six times their normal level in March 2020.
With a growing market, most providers would like to increase their market share, but budgets aren’t there to build out a sales team. They need to figure out how to scale their efforts and help their teams selling cybersecurity software to be more productive without increasing headcount.
Technology, though, has a long sales cycle. Even when the company buying it has an immediate or near-immediate need.
There’s not much you can do to significantly speed up the process or shorten the tech sales cycle. You can, however, eliminate much of the buyer’s friction during the sale. You start by being able to answer these five questions.
If we asked you who your buyer is, you’d likely be able to give us a general answer that would allow you to justify a cold call with almost anyone in IT. What you’d likely be unable to give us, though, is something specific that talked about industries they work in or their motivations for contacting you or why, in the end, they would choose you at all. And we’d argue that without being able to go into those kinds of specifics then you don’t really know your buyer.
If you haven’t completed a robust buyer persona project that digs into you buyers’ motivations for contacting you, the things they are looking for in a partner, their barriers to purchasing, and what their buyers journey looks like, then you don’t really know your buyer. And without knowing that information you’re making the selling process harder, because you are wasting time contacting people who aren’t likely to purchase from you.
You need a consistent marketing message to use across all your marketing channels, whether that’s digital marketing, email, content marketing, social media, or ads. Having one message helps you establish authority and should communicate what makes your business unique. This is important in a crowded market like cybersecurity. Your buyer personas are going to be important here, because they are going to tell you what specific message is going to resonate with your specific buyers. Maybe your buyer is looking for a partner. Messages about service will be important. Maybe they are looking to feel like they’re ahead of the game. Then focus on an innovation message.
Whatever it is, that message should also focus on the benefit your company delivers to customers, not on the features of your product. There will be time to talk about how much better your product is. But you can’t do that until they are in your funnel, and if you sound just like everyone else in your market then getting them in your funnel is going to be much, much harder.
Knowing your buyer and developing your message are the first steps in building out a marketing plan, but what does the rest of your plan look like? How are you going to reach those buyers? Again, look at what your buyers told you for guidance here.
Where are they looking for information? Wherever they said they’re going, that’s where you want to be. Does their buying process start with a Google search? Then a keyword-focused content strategy needs to be part of your mix. Are they fans of trade publications and trade press? Then a focus on public relations will be important.
Once you know where you’re going to be focusing your efforts, set a budget. Marketing can get expensive quickly, but by setting a budget for your effort and defining your tactics you can track whether or not your measures were successful. You can adjust if they weren’t or do more and better if they were.
Your marketing efforts will attract leads, and you need a way to move them through your funnel toward the sale.
Yes, this involves creating content for your funnel. You need awareness content at the top and more company-specific content through the middle and bottom of the funnel.
But an inbound marketing strategy also includes email marketing and nurturing. If your content does its job, it will put people into your funnel. Nurturing those contacts with content that takes them from awareness to consideration and all the way to the point where they are ready to talk to someone about a decision is the point of inbound marketing. It sets your sales team up to have better, more productive conversations with a prospect who knows more about you and your offering.
The sales cycle doesn’t stop when the customer buys from you. After all, it’s easier to sell someone who’s already a happy customer than it is to try and sell a new customer from scratch. So, after the purchase, make sure your customers are satisfied with their decision and getting great support. That doesn’t just mean having a call center available to answer questions. Continue to delight customers by adding value to the relationship. You do this in many ways, some of it is being there when there’s a problem. But more often it’s by continuing to be a source of valuable information, insights and data. Give your customer with useful, targeted content, such as suggestions on how to get the most out of your product.
Selling cybersecurity software is easier when customers don’t come to you cold. When you’ve already engaged with them digitally by giving them great content and moved them through your funnel—from awareness to consideration to decision—you are making it easier for your sales teams to have meaningful conversations with potential customers instead of spending time cold calling prospects that may or may not be interested in working with you.
Today, even with everyone investing in some sort of cybersecurity protection, there’s still a near-constant threat of cyberattacks.
As a cybersecurity company, there are a few things you can do to build trust with your customers.
We love helping mid-market B2B tech companies like yours grow with purpose. If you are wanting to turn this moment into momentum, let us tell you how we can help.