At the end of a speaking engagement with a major cloud-based software house one of the attendees asked a question that seems to come up in almost every cloud sales meeting with potential clients. The question was about security of cloud and what is the best way to address the question/objection that seems to be a major barrier in selling cloud-based services (apparently more so in Asia).
Having been at the both ends of these meetings around IT solutions I totally understand the importance of security and safety of data. These days with everything getting connected to everything else and almost daily hearing the news of data breaches at some of the biggest and supposedly most secured networks there is no question it makes the idea of moving your business and livelihood onto the cloud platform could and should be taken very seriously.
I have been working in the industry for over 20 years and for most of that time I have been helping IT organizations to grow their businesses by effectively engaging and serving their clients. Here is one major problem I see with how almost every cloud service provider and their sales executives try to address this data security question:
Most sales executives think that there is a one-size-fits-all answer that they can get from the vendor and deliver to the prospect in the absence of understanding the context and nature of the question particular to that prospect across the table. I think this is this is the number one reason the security question seems to stump so many cloud vendors and sales executives.
You may ask what is the reason for this blatantly obvious shortcoming? Here are a few honest and brutal reason for this:
- Lack of skills in effectively asking the right questions to uncover the real meaning of the question and validating if this is a real concern or just an objection to disqualify vendor.
- Laziness in doing proper preparation for customer meetings/calls and always being surprised with the question that seems to come up in every engagement
- Not taking the time to prepare the necessary data, talking points and proof points to address the concern
- Lack of skills and/or processes to effectively qualifying a prospect to make sure you are talking to the right organization or individual(s) in that organization
Of course in case your solution does not have the right security to address client needs then you probably shouldn’t be in that business anyways.
In case you can think of other reasons that does not fall into one of the above categories please let me know.
Here is a simple high level approach that I guarantee will succeed in addressing the question for the deals that matter:
- Figure out if the question is real or just a roadblock to end the conversation
- Identify what ‘security’ really means to that organization and individual (the two are often very different) and really listen to what they say and how they say it (understanding the prospect’s industry perspective is important).
- Validate where their perception is coming from, data points, sources they use for their beliefs…etc.
- Make sure to have the necessary data points, evidence, testimonials, vendor documents to back up your statements
- Follow the standard object handling process to acknowledge and respond to prospect’s concern. If you don’t have a standard object handling process CONTACT ME for a simple and highly effective approach to objection handling.
This may seem like a lot of work, but I assure you if you do this for your next 4 or 5 prospects properly you can effectively address the security objection for majority of your future prospects.
We often work with cloud vendors to ramp up and accelerate their sales and customer success teams that result in double digit growth in sales pipeline, revenue and improved customer experience. Helping our clients to effectively turn client objections into business opportunities is a crucial part of our programs.
I hope you see that this is a very practical and effective approach to handling the security objection and I ask you to share with me your experiences in dealing with the question.
If you are ready to take your organization and sales team to the next level in improving customer engagement, revenue & customer experience contact us for a 30 minute conversation to share your story and hear how we can help you in your success journey.
Mark Ghaderi is an author, sales coach, mentor, entrepreneur and social selling evangelist with twenty five years of driving business results across the globe.
Vital Strategies Pte Ltd. Provides Revenue Growth Services to companies across the APAC region, helping organizations to grow their top line through digital transformation and improving sales and customer success execution.