Uggh, the trust issue. How do we get potential buyers to trust us? We’re good people. We’ve got a good product. If they would just try our product/watch a demo/listen to our pitch/read our white paper.

This is the most common frustration IT and especially security vendors face. This is why they spend fortunes on trade shows, advertising, and content marketing efforts to connect with their audience. In all these efforts, some of the core no-nonsense issues are often missed, and that’s mostly around relationships, and how critical they are in selling B2B technology products.

I had a conversation today with Tim Crawford (@tcrawford), a consultant with AVOA, about how IT and security vendors can do a better job building trust with potential buyers. Below is the full ten minute conversation and the highlights.

Security is not seen as an underpinning element that sits across the entire strata of your organization: For those of you in security this sounds insane, but for others security or even IT are seen as just verticals. It’s still something that another department does rather than something that envelops the whole organization.

Differentiate yourself from the noise: When I go to RSA or Black Hat, one of the comments I hear over and over again is that everyone is offering “threat prevention/protection.” If everybody is using that term, then it has no meaning for anybody. It’s incredibly confusing for a consumer to be able to tell the difference between products in the same category.

Buyers still don’t trust vendors: It’s something I heard seven years ago and Crawford believes that lack of trust holds today, not just for security vendors, but for any IT vendor.

Tim Crawford, AVOARelationship, relationship, relationship: Vendor has to understand the buyer. Buyer has to understand the vendor. Where this fails, said Crawford, “I think a lot of vendors are not truly interested in understanding me as the customer other than ‘how do I find a weakness that I can then use to exploit and sell my product?’…Most vendors are focused on the transaction than they are the relationship.”

The relationship matters more than the company message: It’s less about the vendor than it is the relationship you’re able to build with the individual and seeing that your objectives align. The trust really lies with the individual and not the company. As the individual goes from job to jo
b, the trust maintains because what has not been lost is the relationship.

Transactional selling won’t build a relationship: If you’re just looking for the transaction, then you need to have to be at the right place at the right time with the right message and with the right product. In such a case, a “spray and pray” model might be very effective. But that will only allow for that specific transaction, it won’t help you build a relationship.

In building a relationship, go beyond just business, technology, and transactions: Learn about the family and personal interests.

Trust is based on your understanding of the problem: When you do stop and engage about the product and the technology how much do you truly understand the problem before you start going on and on about your solution? When companies spout out their solutions before understanding the problems consumers lose confidence in the company and their ability to understand the spectrum of the problem.

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For the same reason there are endless get rich quick schemes and weight loss formulas, there are also many experts offering advice on how to “create great content.” These articles attract the reader who wants the quick fix.

“Do I really have to diet and exercise? Isn’t there just a pill I can take?”

Unlike having an athletic body, which really does require diet and exercise, there’s a chronic barrage of evidence that a quick fix for creating great content actually exists. Every day we see dozens if not hundreds of pieces of trending content from complete unknowns.  Since we see it daily, we think there must be a secret to doing this.

Therefore, in an effort to be the next successful nobody, we begin searching, “The secret to creating great content,” and organizations who want your content marketing business oblige by writing articles with that exact title and word combination. While those articles may offer formatting advice, they don’t actually provide the true secret to creating great content, which is:

THE SECRET TO GREAT CONTENT IS TO START PRODUCING CONTENT. And accept the fact that your first pieces will probably suck and very few people will look at it.

In other words, to create great content, you have to create bad content first.

That’s not a recommendation to intentionally create bad content, but it’s more of the need to understand you can’t be obsessive about perfection with your first pieces of content. For most, it takes experience to get to “great content.” Sometimes that process is like a wave where at certain moments there’s a peak of “great” and “successful” content, and sometimes you’re at the bottom and nothing happens. Given the hyper competitive fight for your eyeballs online, you can’t debate endlessly about what “great content” is, you need to adopt “The Hacker Way,” popularized by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and that “Way” is to “move fast and break stuff.”

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The Future Value of Rejection

September 29, 2016
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Shouldn’t you know how a contractor you’re working with handles rejection?

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Can You Protect Your Perfect Business from a Brad and Angelina Divorce?

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How to prevent something that appears so perfect from ending? Big companies such as Eastman Kodak and Sears seemed perfect at one time, just like Brangelina.

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20 Ideas for Your Next Piece of Great Content

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Even if you’ve produced 1000 blog posts, we’re all still struggling to create content that others what to consume, share, and talk about. Here are 20 ideas that will hopefully entice your readers, listeners, or viewers to do just that.

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How to Hire 1M InfoSec Pros When None Are Available

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You can’t just HIRE another 1M InfoSec professionals. It’s not like they’re sitting there waiting for you in the wings. You have to use a strategy to grow them, or maybe you have to lessen the problem. These InfoSec pros offer some sage advice.

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Our 19 Secrets to Producing Content as Fast as Possible

June 8, 2016
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In February, I wrote an article Tricks We Use to Produce Content Quickly. Looking back, I realized that there were a lot more tips I should have included, so I’ve rewritten that article with tons of bonus material. Here goes… Events are a beehive of potential content. If you want to capture and produce it, […]

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View Counts Are for Amateurs. Determining the Real Value of Your Video.

May 19, 2016
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We all rally around a video’s view count to determine its success. But how often can you determine the ROI for your business solely from a video’s view count? Video for business has so many other benefits that can directly impact your bottom line.

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An Argument for Yelling at Customer Service

May 4, 2016
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Are there times where yelling at customer service is validated and will also deliver the service you want?

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Why Do So Many Corporate Videos Suck?

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Before you produce your next corporate video, please do yourself and your company a favor, and watch this video.

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