I was talking with sales maven, Dan Dunkel, the other day about changes in the security industry and how security executives are changing the way they buy security solutions.
As one of the leading voices in the security industry, Dan has given birth to a new way of thinking that has changed the nature of its basic sales and marketing strategies.
Here is a peek into our conversation.
Hunt: When companies develop products around open systems, market and support channels have to be changed. End-user security executives are witnessing changes in their roles and in executive purchasing models and procurement processes becoming more IT oriented. Do Cisco, IBM, HP, Honeywell, Bosch and other IT players getting into physical security field have an advantage?
Dunkel: In some ways they do and, in others, they don’t. Physical security companies want to work with IT companies whose integrators don’t want all of the responsibilities because it is not in their best interest.
If there is a proper window to market, they want to hit. IT staffs are over-worked and under-staffed, and they would rather work with the physical security group in areas like accounting, engineering, human resources, etc. They want to eventually become the service provider to every part of the business – down to the last domino to fall, so to speak.
Hunt: What are the opportunities for young start-up companies and what are some of the potholes they should avoid in this market’s current “transformation” environment?
Dunkel: While many start-up companies have different characteristics, a good percentage of them are companies with IT founders who see the opportunity for new niche markets. Integrators with established business acumen and reputations for pre- and post-sales can expect repeated business with successful transformation practices. This represents a tremendous opportunity for integrators to work with these start-ups because it can mean a standard set of applications for security vendors and can provide a migration plan for vendors with an ongoing revenue model.
Tips for Sales People
Hunt: How can sales personnel aid in the transformation process? Do you think the key difference in selling new products will mean selling them to an IT buyer or an IT savvy buyer, or can a traditional security buyer get his or her hands on this technology?
Dunkel: A salesperson who understands a transformation is coming and that he or she can act as a bridge will be fundamental to the success of a sale. The two camps have to understand each other in terms of taking the security policy and deploying it across the IT infrastructure and thus breaking away from a silo mentality.
Whether the company is large or even global in scope, security involves all the different operations of the company. In order to succeed, operations need to be more open and more inter-operable. The transformation cycle, if handled correctly, can bring a huge windfall.
Tips for CSOs
Hunt: What do CSOs need to know about the transformation process? I mean, the transformation process means changing the sale from simply establishing security technology to mapping it to an actual business value (just as would occur when going out to purchase a computer, for example).
Dunkel: A manager or director has to be a business person and starting with convergence and moving into transformation, managers must understand how security adds value to the different departments and elevates everything into almost a cultural phenomenon. Deploying the proper technology is a policy that is happening now and symbolizes the gold ring.
Hunt: That can be pretty frightening to someone who doesn’t understand technology. Every technological procurement is done with the business unit as the main beneficiary leading the way, while the IT folks become the advisors and assessors of the criteria used for selecting technology.
Dunkel: Security should have the mindset to work within the context of the IT infrastructure because executives have been funding this infrastructure for the last 20 years. It will save more money than having proprietary silos where people cannot communicate with one another.
The application of technology for business values is an important concept. In an interview with the former head of General Electric, Jack Welch said: “Now we are an e-commerce company and we will make our employees more productive.” This statement caused the stock to spike upwards, which demonstrates the value of a respected security system. It indicates that such a policy can affect how brokers regard security companies when an effective system is in place. Security and its deployment can increase the value of a corporation and turn it into a trusted enterprise prepared for any event anywhere. It may take ten years for this, but we are well on our way.