Recently we must have all seen the headlines about major hacks and widespread new information security threats and breaches.
Many would say cybersecurity has risen recently to the top of the corporate agenda, but over the last few years there has been a growing threat, that many vendors have recognised and offer now a wide range of products and services within a crowded marketplace.
Cybersecurity vendors operate in a complex B2B market, characterised by tough competition, a long sales cycle and a moving landscape of new security threats against software, hardware and IT infrastructure.
So As A Cybersecurity Vendor – How Can You Stand Out?
The changing face of B2B marketing shows us that buyers conduct two thirds of their research on a purchase before they ever directly contact a business and further more Google research shows that on average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site.
There have been big shifts in how B2B buyers behave, the degree of research that they do themselves and how much they rely on content sourced by the Internet to educate themselves in the decision making process.
We’ve identified 5 different steps – that through an inbound sales and marketing methodology will help you target and educate a prospective cybersecurity buyer:
1). Attracting The Right B2B Audience
Creating and distributing quality content will pull qualified visitors to your website.
Visitors are drawn in through content at an early stage in their buying cycle that describes symptoms that resonate with their own situation. In the world of cybersecurity developing a brand positioning as a source of valued information on how to initially combat these threats will be received positively. A corporation has needs to educate internally, to collaborate cross-department on the risks and prevention.
Your investment in education and information will make you stand out from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to talk specifics rather than a broad solution that fixes everything for everybody.
Being generic in your offering means that you are compared to everybody, a risk in an overcrowded marketplace.
Remember the role here your business needs to adopt as a vendor is one of offering prevention, acting as an advisor rather than trying to prematurely sell a solution. Teaching what are the right questions to ask, keeping them attentive and able to manage cybersecurity as an on-going and evolving issue.
The reality is that for many companies they just don’t have enough sales leads to fill their pipeline and therefore struggle to meet sales targets and thrive.
Generating enough traffic and leads for marketing; closing more deals for sales – was according to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Inbound report the top challenges for B2B companies.
So it is tempting to rely on the more traditional methods of lead generation.
2). What Can You Do As a Cybersecurity Vendor?
Cold calling – working through a purchased list or contact data base — seems like the easiest way to compensate for a lack of leads. So how do you cold call effectively?
You don’t. Cold calling is tough and full of rejections, has an extremely low conversion rate, can be a negative experience for the prospects you connect with and undermines your status as a trusted advisor from the first contact.
Inbound vs. Outbound Sales Prospecting
The sales environment as a whole is witnessing a significant shift from the traditional method of B2B prospecting (outbound) to one that is more buyer-centric (inbound).
As buyers – according to HuBSpot before we make a purchase decision, 60% of us rely on Word Of Mouth – friends – social media, 49% on customer references and recommendations, 47% on analyst reports, and 44% on media articles.
So before a salesperson is even aware of a prospect’s interest, they are already 57% of the way through the sales process. Yet, salespeople are still tempted to employ the cold calling tactic unaware of how much self-research the buyer has already undertaken and how little they need to learn from sales.
Value is driven by what information or education you can provide over and above what a prospect can source from the Internet.
3). Know Your Audience And What Makes Them Tick!
If you don’t know who your ideal customers are, how can you attract them to your business? Understanding firmographics to demographics such as age, gender, location to digital behaviours and attitudes — all these facts can help you target your content to engage visitors and grow authority in your sector.
Inbound marketing will help you attract your ideal customers by distributing your content via the preferred online marketing channels – where your prospects go to read up on the latest news and information. To extend your brand reach, you will need for your audience to share your content, as buyers are far more likely to trust content provided by a third party than directly from a corporate resource.
The semi-fictional description of your ideal buyer or Buyer Persona is a core part of the inbound marketing methodology and when used successfully your website visitors go from being strangers to believers in your brand.
“An inbound philosophy puts you in the shoes of your customer – what is the pain they are trying to address with their online research or the opportunity they want to exploit?” When you know your audience you understand the reason for their search, what pain they are trying to address or opportunity to exploit”
You need to make the most of the time from when a visitor arrives on your site. Over 90% of traffic will jump off the home page in less than a minute because what they read is either not what they were expecting, they don’t know what to do, or may be it is content that is not relevant for them just now. The goal is to reduce your visitor abandonment and start to build a level of trust with your audience for them to stay or return for more.
So how do I put all this information together and use it effectively? Download our Buyer’s Personas templates and guide, to get you started and focused on your customers pain.
4). Content Rules
Content marketing creates a reliable and cost-effective source of visitors to your website. It is a strategic approach focused on creating and distributing content that is educational, relevant and engaging for your target audience – depending where they are in their buying cycle.
The aim is to distribute content in such a way that it grows your organic website traffic, and with embedded links and calls-to-actions generates leads and grows brand awareness though social sharing.
Content marketing can take many forms and should be seen as an on-going creative process to nurture prospective buyers through the sales funnel.
So How Do You Start Creating Content?
- Define some clear goals for your content marketing plan
- Budget – How much do you want to spend for what ROI?
- Create your Buyer personas so you know who you are trying to reach
- Assess and audit what content you have produced so far and what was the impact?
- Set out and adhere to your brand’s “tone of voice”
- Develop and structure a content creation process (see below) – that starts with defining your audience through to measuring your KPI’s
From experience in cybersecurity people want access to at the Awareness stage of their buying cycle content in the form of best practices, tips & tricks, checklists, etc. This is content that provides value to a range of users, and helps you build a level of trust with your audience. As the potential buyer moves along your sales funnel there will be other opportunities to share more consultative content relevant to more specific needs.
To connect your content to your buyers you should map out how your customers buy (Buyer’s Journey – see below). Typically this is not a linear process and prospects may move around the sales funnel moving from Awareness through to the Decision stage. At each stage there are different content needs, working out what the symptoms of your problems are, then defining the problem and shortlisting solution providers.
5). Brand Positioning
How is your business perceived in the hearts and minds of your existing customers and staff?
Branding in the inbound age means branding across the Internet, and digital channels – a 24/7 non-stop environment. To add value it is vital to be consistent with your brand experience across all your customer touch points. You will want everything you do to add to being instantly recognisable as your company’s brand.
You will need to research the digital behaviour and patterns of security professionals that hold influence in your marketplace – from the keywords they use for search, to what they are saying on particular social media platforms. Remember to use your social media networks for social selling, to engage with these “thought leaders” to help you improve your authority in the sector.
As a cybersecurity vendor you know that nothing is 100% secure so it is not wise to sell yourself with outlandish claims. A loss of credibility in the security sector will dent the trust in your brand. Don’t fall into the trap of making your brand stand out for the wrong reasons.
Your brand and products must have a solid positioning and value proposition. It is not necessary to sell yourself with solely product features, because you get drawn into race to compare your “bells and whistles” with the next vendor. What you need to think about is how you solve problems, and articulate what those problems and scenarios are so that you can be found by interested visitors.
The best advice is to make it clear what your particular areas of expertise is. No business is looking for a general vendor especially within such a specialist market as security. Are there regulations, or industry standards that are pertinent to your subject matter expertise, for example the GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulation) could be a particular issue to help the positioning of your solution?
If you need help to develop a marketing plan or strategy, let us know how we can help.
- Shortening the B2B sales cycle with inbound marketing
- How to shorten a complex technology sales cycle by wearing your customers shoes …
- A 7x point plan to turn your SaaS start-up into a marketing rockstar …
- 5x ways to market Cybersecurity through education rather than scare tactics.
- SaaS Buyer persona presentation for those targeting B2B customers.