From my first day at Threat Stack, I’ve encountered one critical issue time after time: prospects who have had their sales cycle slow to a crawl or stall out completely because they can’t easily assure the prospect of their security stance.
They get to a critical point in the sales cycle, and then see it slow down, or in some cases, become completely derailed, because they need to go through a lengthy process to assure the prospect of their security posture — or sometimes they can’t, in fact, satisfy the prospect of their security stance.
Before I dive into the topic of this post — which is how you can use cloud security to accelerate your sales cycle — let’s do a quick review of the subject. Four key factors dictate how much your company sells:
- Number of Opportunities Worked
- Win Rate
- Average Sales Price (ASP)
- Average Sales Cycle
To increase sales velocity, you need to increase the number of opportunities, the win rate, and/or the average price while decreasing your sales cycle. One way of doing this is by introducing another element into the equation: cloud security. Let’s take a look at a couple of common scenarios to see this in action.
The following scenario is typical of many companies that want to scale fast. It involves an expansion-stage SaaS company that has just raised a Series B funding round. At this point they have clearly found product market fit, acquired a healthy number of paying customers, and are looking to put their foot on the gas to scale out the sales and marketing organization to acquire more customers, at a faster rate, and most likely, at a higher ASP.
When the CEO and/or founders are out on the fundraising trail, they look at their sales velocity to build out a capacity model to show potential investors a compelling plan for how they intend to spend the check they are about to write. Part of that plan could also include moving upstream to sell to bigger companies or breaking into new verticals. And this is often the point where a lack of cloud security can come into play and start seriously decreasing the company’s sales velocity or win rate, and ultimately, mess with the sales capacity model they built for the next phase of growth.
As stated, this is a common scenario, but fortunately, there’s a straightforward solution: building cloud security into the infrastructure.
Here’s another common scenario that’s based on the experience of one of our customers. They were selling to higher education and non-profits and made a decision to shift their focus to B2B. They were beginning to get traction with larger, well-known companies, and then began to experience a slowdown in sales velocity. In one case they were cruising through the sales cycle, talking to the decision maker, and getting approval from the technical team. It looked like the deal was about to be inked!
And then they ran into a brick wall in the form of a 1,500 question security survey that had to be completed before the prospect would sign. To get this done, they had to divert resources from other deals and focus on completing the questionnaire. Thirty-five days later, they finally closed the deal, but the experience was painful, time-consuming, disruptive, and very uncertain as to outcome. While the requirement didn’t turn out to be a show stopper, it totally put the brakes on the company’s sales velocity.
Recognizing that this kind of situation would rear its head again in the future, they decided to proactively address their security issues by implementing Threat Stack Cloud Security Platform™. Not only did this improve their internal operations, but also it gave prospects the assurance they needed when they were making a decision on whether or not to engage with the company.
The math was simple: with cloud security taken care of, they could decrease the sales cycle and increase their win rate.
The Bottom Line
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a startup, an emerging company, or a mature organization: the people who deal with you are concerned about the state of your security and how it could affect their data, systems, profits, and possibly, reputation.
By taking care of your organization’s cloud security, you’ll be able to speed through the sales cycle from discovery to close, assuring your prospects and removing the question of security as a stumbling block or show stopper. Here’s what we’re typically hearing from customers who have taken this approach: “In our opinion, security assurance is a sales accelerator,” and “We view Threat Stack as an insurance policy for customer acquisition.”
Again, by proactively building cloud security into your infrastructure, you can reduce or eliminate one of the biggest concerns that prospects have, and thereby significantly accelerate your sales cycle.
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