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.
Relationship, 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.