Selling Security: 3 Ways the Channel Needs to Evolve

It’s about unified solutions and knowing the customer.

Channel Partners

December 21, 2016

3 Min Read

Matt HurleyBy Matt Hurley

Security – once purely an IT issue – has catapulted into the boardroom, and we’re now seeing purchasing decisions rise to C-level executives. While this is a major change to how organizations approach security, it isn’t surprising.

Protecting organizations has become increasingly complicated. Cloud adoption, as well as the proliferation of devices – including tablets and mobile phones – has rendered perimeter-based defenses ineffective.

To cap it off, enterprises are spending more securing their systems, but CISOs have “scant confidence … that their [security] exertions will give them the upper hand against malicious hackers,” according to RAND Corporation’s The Defender’s Dilemma study.

That’s a pretty tough problem to solve, but it also creates opportunity for partners who are able to evolve how they approach customer conversations and what services they sell in order to succeed in this changing marketplace.

Here are three ways partners can meet changing customer needs:

  1. Become a strategic business adviser: Since security is now seen as a business issue, partners have the opportunity to evolve from the role of salesperson to business adviser. This means partners should transition from simply selling products to helping their customers understand how to manage risk. To do this, partners must understand their customers’ businesses inside and out. That’s particularly true if the customer operates in a vertical like health care and financial services. Partners need to offer customized counsel on how each customer can secure their network — end-to-end.

  2. Practice solution-based sales: Instead of leading customer conversations with point products and speeds-and-feeds, partners should orient discussions around solutions to their customers’ business problems — whether it’s end-to-end network security to replace ineffective perimeter-based defenses or creating a holistic security architecture to tie disparate endpoint solutions together.

  3. Stay fluent on threats and technologies: To truly serve as a business adviser and understand customer problems, partners need to double down on staying fluent on emerging trends and technologies. Since the field is evolving so quickly, some customers may not have the bandwidth to stay up to date, and partners can add value by continuing to establish themselves as security experts. Partners should also ask for and take advantage of training courses provided by their channel partners to hone their security expertise.

Security will continue to be a priority for enterprises in 2017, and partners who successfully position themselves as advisers and security experts offering business solutions, rather than products, will emerge as leaders.

Want to know more about threats facing customers next year? Download Channel Partners’ free report on 7 Looming Cybersecurity Risks For 2017 and learn about the evolution of malware, how the IoT increases the possibility of converged physical/cyber attacks and more. Download now!

Matt Hurley is corporate VP, Global Channels and Field Marketing, for Juniper Networks.

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