John Masserini has a set of “open letters to security vendors” on Security Current.
Everyone involved in product or sales at a security startup should read them. John provides insight into what it’s like to be pitched by too many startups, and provides a level of transparency that’s sadly hard to find. Personally, I learned a great deal about what happens when you’re pitched while I was at a large company, and I can vouch for the realities he puts forth. The sooner you understand those realities and incorporate them into your thinking, the more successful we’ll all be.
After meeting with dozens of startups at Black Hat a few weeks ago, I’ve realized that the vast majority of the leaders of these new companies struggle to articulate the value their solutions bring to the enterprise.
Why does John’s advice make us all more successful? Because each organization that follows it moves towards a more efficient state, for themselves and for the folks who they’re pitching.
Getting more efficient means you waste less time per prospect. When you focus on qualified leads who care about the problem you’re working on, you get more sales per unit of time. What’s more, by not wasting the time of those who won’t buy, you free up their time for talking to those who might have something to provide them. (One banker I know said “I could hire someone full-time to reject startup pitches.” Think about what that means for your sales cycle for a moment.)