Selling to the CISO is hard, but here’s what a former CISO had to say at The Advance.
What are the secrets to selling to a CISO? Dave Tyson of CISO Insights shared his thoughts on this topic as the featured speaker at The Advance, SIA’s Annual Membership Meeting, held on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, during ISC West.
“CISOs are a unique bunch,” Tyson explained. “They are different than anyone that you have ever sold to before. How you approach them matters because they are a very stressed out bunch of people. They have a tough job,” he said, noting that the average tenure for a CISO has been as low as 14 months, but many spend even less time in their roles, due to many factors, some of which are beyond their control.
Tyson, who previously was CISO for SC Johnson, a global consumer package goods firm, offered three ways to interact with the CISO, who he called the “watchdog of a company’s IT department.”
First, consider that CISOs are typically very skeptical people, but are also highly informed, as they process a lot of detail and information each day. “Your marketing techniques to a CISO cannot be the same as they are for everyone else,” he said. “Get to know them and incorporate a sales process that leads with technical detail.”
Second, Tyson said, understanding a CISO’s world is key to successfully selling to them. That knowledge should include the internal company audiences that the CISO is accountable to, and that depends upon whom they report to, as their priorities will change based on their corporate structure.
Last, Tyson stressed understanding the CISO’s specific industry, for example, if they work in an industry that is overwhelmed with risk issues. “The environment that they work in will help you to understand the chaos that they work in,” he said.
Overall, Tyson said: “All of those elements can be valuable into how you sell into the CISO world. But the number one thing that you should understand is that the sale to them should be a relationship sale. Having that knowledge is your best opportunity to get in front of them and sell your products and services to them.”