Most MSPs who have some experience in the channel understand what it takes to start offering new products to their clients; whether it is a new service, an add-on or additional form of IT support, the rollout can differ greatly. However, when it comes to offering an advanced security solution, there is little comparison—it is an entire category of products and services that are being introduced.
In order to successfully go to market in the cyber security space, MSPs need to solidify a plan well in advance of their solution’s public availability.
1. Define Your Market
Who can you sell your cyber security solution to? Who is the right fit to purchase it? The first step in building any go-to-market strategy is to define your target market.
Essentially, this means discovering the universe of potential customers that exist for your solution, and extensively understanding their business needs. It involves identifying their demographics, pain points, desires, budget and other factors that can assist in identifying whether a prospect or existing customer is an eligible and probable candidate for purchasing a new solution.
Your target market can take many forms; but aligning your approach with a vertical or industry is often a great starting point. Designing a specialized solution enables MSPs to become true experts in the field and builds a solid foundation and reputation for the services you offer. You and your team will deeply understand the requirements and nuances associated with unique or highly regulated industries. As such, the complex security requirements the surround regulatory stands like HIPAA, PCI and others will allow you to command premium pricing for your IT services.
2. Understand the Security Challenges of Your Market
One of the more daunting parts of going to market in the security space is convincing your existing customers that they need it—particularly when they haven’t directly experienced or fallen victim to an attack themselves. On one hand, they have a preconceived notion that there are sufficiently safe from attack using your services; on the other, they are unaware of how fundamentally the threat landscape has evolved. Yet, despite regular media headlines discussing corporate data breaches and leaks, new ransomware variants and other attacks or vulnerabilities, many SMBs remain unsure how to move forward or respond.
For MSPs, the key here is being able to do two things:
- Accurately define the specific risks and requirements of any given SMB environment (and build a relevant cyber security offering based on that criteria).
- Effectively communicate the known and unknown risks in that SMB environment, and clearly convey the value your cyber security services will provide to combat those risks.
To start, it can be helpful to group your customer base into segments, based several criteria. Vertical alignment could be one of these criterion, but risk awareness, essential coverage, previous cyber-attack history, etc., could also be effective ways to segment your market. From there, it will be easier to craft packages and sales talk tracks to meet the specific needs of each segment.
3. Become a Trusted Security Expert and Advisor
It’s no surprise that establishing trust with your customers and in the marketplace is a critical component of any successful security strategy. After all, your security solution is built around the concept of perceived risk—akin to an insurance policy, of sorts—so favorable sentiment, trust and good faith goes a long way in your clients and prospects considering your business.
To that point, keep in mind that SMBs often don’t know what they don’t know, so it’s your responsibility as a technology and business advisor to help them stay up-to-date on the latest technologies, trends and threats they need to know about.
To begin positioning yourself as a security expert, you can use multiple mediums, channels and resources; the most successful MSPs continuously update these as important parts of their ongoing go-to-market strategy and sales efforts.
Blogs that are populated with original content are terrific vehicles for thought leadership, as they enable you to post articles that are filled with target keywords, best practices, and valuable information designed to educate readers. Consider blogging about emerging trends, key SMB security concerns and other topics that align with your portfolio and offerings.
Going beyond the average ‘like’ and newsfeed post, you can use social media as a distribution platform for leveraging statistics, infographics and other multimedia content that’s both digestible and shareable across a wide audience. It’s a simple and fast way to lead a security conversation in a one-to-many format, and works closely with your blogging program.
Whether they are prospect- or customer-facing, email newsletters can concisely share many types of information with readers, while also discussing your own product, company updates, upcoming events, press or media coverage and more. It’s an effective way to keep your customer base engaged with you and your brand.
Webinars are an important method for generating new leads. Whether it’s a live or on-demand session, your webinar should run no longer than 45 minutes, and should focus on a specific security topic. Be sure to provide a combination of industry insights and information while also showcasing your offerings, and don’t forget to communicate how your solution protects your clients.
A newer method on the list, podcasts deliver information in a personal, one-to-one format, usually to an on-the-go consumer that doesn’t have access to a screen directly in front of them. For topics to discuss, consider taking content from blog posts, webinars and other mediums, and repurpose them in an audio format. Keep in mind that most podcast platforms are unrestricted, so it is a means of casting a wider net and getting multi-channel coverage.
Demonstrations, how-to videos, animated GIFs and other animation are invaluable tools as you work to break down and simplify some of the more technical concepts tied to cyber security. Videos boast high engagement and can be leveraged on your website and numerous other channels in this list and beyond.
4. Build a Sales Engine
Your go-to-market strategy is one of the most critical aspects of establishing a new line of security business, and before you launch, several functions of marketing should be initiated to drive new leads for your sales team to pursue, using the channels outlined in the previous section. These include:
This is a critical part of your sales and marketing strategy, as it drives interest and builds pipeline around your security solution. Gated web content, newsletter or blog subscriptions, in-person events and webinars are all excellent vehicles for lead gen.
This focuses on your specific security offerings and the value they provide to clients. Product datasheets, demonstrations, how-to videos and related assets showcase the unique value of your security solution, and clearly communicates the benefits your clients and prospects can expect to gain.
In addition to specific cross-sell opportunities within your client base, customer marketing keeps your existing clients up-to-date on both the latest security threats as well as what you’re doing to protect against them. These activities are often just as important as some of the prospect programs you’ll be running, and can open doors to conversations that did not previously exist.
5. Update and Define Your Service Level Agreements, Contracts and Liability
Lastly, one of the most important aspects of your security go-to-market planning involves the development of service level agreements and contracts.
Considering the financial and business risks associated with modern cyber threats, MSPs must carefully and methodically update any legally binding language or client agreements that already exist or will be put forth surrounding your new solution, so that all parties understand who maintains responsibility and accountability in various scenarios. Make sure to seek out specific cyber security-oriented legal teams and counsel when making these updates, as an oversight in this area could have significant consequences.
Every go-to-market strategy needs a solid plan before it is set in motion, so be sure to use these tips when devising yours, and make sure to build upon it as you move to execute your cyber security solution and successfully bring it to market.
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