According to Nooks Data, security leaders are the second hardest vertical to cold call and have lower than average pick up rates. So we met with sales leaders Ryan Burke, VP of Sales at Zilla Security and Terry Jordison, Sales Development Manager at Abnormal Security to get their insights on how they've successfully trained their SDR teams to sell to decision makers in the security space. Here are five major takeaways:
1. Focus on individuals and use a multithreaded approach
Cold calling security leaders is one of the toughest jobs for SDRs, these folks are some of the most guarded and protective professionals when it comes to personal and company information. Terry's team uses a multi-threaded approach through email and social media to build familiarity before the call. x
Long story short, return on investment for spray-and-pray calling for this vertical is minimal. Invest in other channels and close the meeting over the phone.
2. Learn to speak the language of Security
Security leaders are responsible for the cyber infrastructure and safety for hundreds to thousands of individuals. They really know their stuff and can very quickly tell when they're speaking with a fellow expert or an entry level sales person chasing quota.
Abnormal Security's Sales Reps learn to speak the language go through an extensive training program where they are paired with a different mentor every week for 4-6 weeks. During that time, they learn different tactics, shadow conversations and build out a cadence that's custom to their own style. By the end of the 6 weeks, the prospect on the other side should feel like they're talking to a knowledgeable professional in their field.
3. Empathize with your prospects
Ryan Burke at Zilla Security trains his SDR team to empathize with Security Leaders through genuine curiosity about them and their company. "It's an evergreen process of being a student of your space," he said in our recent webinar.
He recommends listening to podcasts like Audience 1st during commutes and morning routines. They get guests to speak about their experience as a buyer to give reps a first hand knowledge of their prospect's experience.
Zilla Security also brings customers on calls with SDRs to help them learn the impact that their product is having on their customer's businesses.
4. Stand out from the noise
Cyber security is crucial to business and because of that, the space is always growing. Headcount growth is one of the highest among the SaaS space. With that, CISOs are being bombarded with new tools and solutions to combat ever growing threats.
To stand out from the noise, Ryan suggests fishing in a pond where the fish are biting. To do that, it's important to build genuine relationships through researching your target companies and understanding what they might be dealing with. Only talking about your products and solutions isn't going to cut it.
Identify specific personas and associated titles and hit them was hyper-personalized messaging that communicates how your solution can benefit them and their goals.
5. Automate the things that you can, but not the things that shouldn't
The world is moving towards AI and the industry is still slowing figuring out what can and can't be automated. Ryan and Terry suggest automating tedious dialing tasks with tools like Nooks AI-powered parallel dialer and automating email follow up with Sales Engagement tools. They advise against automating things that benefit from a real human being. Don't automate messaging or use templated (copy+paste) spam emails, for example.
In short, there's no replacement for the research and personalization from a human, but AI can help increase the volume of those activities.
Some personas, like VP of Sales and Director of HR are more willing to listen to take calls and listen then others. With a persona like CISO and other Security titles, those same tactics might not work. Building call lists and adding them to email sequences are bound to have a lower impact. Maximize your outreach to these professionals with research, personalization and expertise.
Follow Nooks for more content on Sales Development strategies and best practices.