Storytelling in Cybersecurity


Author: Barry Mueller
Last updated: Published:
Amit Daniel, Michael Baker, and Carlos buenaño

I'm Barry Mueller. I'm marketing at the Demostack, your moderator here for today's event

So yeah, let's, so let's start with bios. Thanks again everyone, for our panelists to come. I'll start with Amit. Amit is a marketing leader with two decades of experience in global high tech companies At Checkmarx, Amit is responsible for global marketing, branding, demand generations. She's the CMO.

So prior to joining Checkmarx, Amit was the CMO at Cognyte. Also quite a large cyber company that mostly sold to governments. And she also was EVP marketing and product at cVidya, which is now Amdocs. Hello Amit.

Amit Daniel: Hi. Thank you for hosting me Barry.

Barry Mueller: Absolutely. It's our privilege.

Mike, wonderful to have you.

Michael joined Noname Security in October, 2020 as its first employee in the US and the first in the sales team. And now that go-to market team has more than a hundred people. Prior to Noname Security, Mike was Armis's second US employee. Mike, this isn’t his first rodeo of being the first salesperson in the states and raising hundreds of million dollars with the founders right afterwards.

And then before Michael was at the CRO level, he qualified for Presidents Club 10 times. So if there's any sales people here about that feel free to ask some of those questions. Hello, Mike. Thanks for joining.

Michael Baker: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it, Barry.

Barry Mueller: All right. Amazing. So now Carlos. Carlos possesses a degree in electrical engineering, a master's degree in telecommunications with more than 30 years of progressive experience in the control systems and telecommunications field. Carlos has had many different positions in presales, and that's what I love about Carlos. Among many other things you'll soon love about Carlos.

So he's been a Principal Systems Engineer, Senior ICS Cybersecurity Consultant, Solutions Architect and Technical Account Manager and Principal Solutions Architect. Try to say that five times fast, Carlos.

Carlos buenaño: you can't say that.

Barry Mueller: Yeah, exactly. Just can't. So for the past six years, Carlos has spent his year operationalizing cybersecurity solutions focusing on industrial networks and now works at Armis.

So Carlos, thanks for coming on.

Carlos buenaño: Oh, it's a pleasure to be here and I know Michael from my past life and great to see you again.

Barry Mueller: Yeah, love it. And that was not on purpose to invite people that knew each other. So, that's, I think that one of the unique things about the cyber world is that sometimes you go to different companies that aren't direct competitors and then you can bring that skillset to other companies.

And even that story. So speaking about storytelling, because that is the topic of tonight's panel let's get, let's start big. So let's when you go out to tell a story about your product, how do you end up doing that? What's the process for that? And I'm gonna start with you, Amit, on you are going to tell a story about your product.

Where do you start? How do you get from A to Z?

What is the process for making a product story?

Amit Daniel: I think like every good story, you really need to start from understanding who you're talking and telling the story to. So it's clearly starting with your buying persona or the people that you actually want to make sure that the story will resonate with. And I think that the way that we start is once we identify, okay, who is the one that we want to talk to?

And then clearly what are the main things that you would like to hear more about. And when I'm saying that, I think that there is a tendency, and maybe I'm jumping a bit quickly here, but I think there's a tendency, especially, when you look at cybersecurity companies to come and say, okay, I need to push my product.

Okay. So I need to go and convey everything around the values and benefits and why a system needs to buy that product. I personally think that it's the other way around. I think that the way that you need to start building the story is, okay, let's say that for the sake of the example, I'm targeting the CISO, but I would actually try and think more or let's say wider than the scope of what I'm offering.

So I will try and understand what are the challenges that CISOs are facing today in a wider scope. And then, for example, I'm coming from application security, which is a critical thing, but I will not just bang all my story around application security. I will go wider and I will come and say, okay, you are CISO.

What are the things that you really need to bring as a value? Or what is the changing role that you're facing today? And how does it connect into the offering that Checkmarx can bring around application security? So I think that the beginning is to kind of think how am I going to bring value for the reader or whoever, whatever is the format of the channel that I'm using.

And what is it looking for? What will be something that you will come and say, wow, I must read it, or I must download it because this is something that is going to give me a critical value. And I can give a few examples around it. If, for example, I will write an article now that I know that CISOs would like, okay.

One option is to come and say, how do you as a CISO build a framework for application security that's going directly in the direction of my product. The other way to build a story is to actually come and say, I'll give another example. I'm a cso. What are the first 10 tips that you need to acquire as a CISO?

Because when you start your job, the 90 days to your role, what do you need? Okay. This is, for me, from a CISO perspective, will be much more appealing than just going directly into the product I'm selling because if I'm going to give him tips and tricks, For the first 90 days a CISO, and it'll include a wider, let's say, package of things that you would like to acquire, and some of it will touch application security, but not all of that is basically building a story that I can go and take and interact with them beyond just, selling the values of my specific proposition.

So I think it's getting the right audience, understanding what exactly the pain points are and the values that I can bring them, and then seeing how my proposition fits into that story. Don't go directly only and look at what you want to sell, because I personally believe that it's less attractive to gain the attention of the person on the other side.

Barry Mueller: Love that. I'm gonna go with, I'm gonna ask Mike now you are a CRO. I love what Amit said. I'm a marketer. I love this idea of, we have this advantage that we can actually, our goal sometimes is getting to the target market. And getting them to just recognize our brand and giving them content for that.

But Michael, you're in the meeting with the CISO, right? You have to show, you have to talk about your product. At least that's what I believe. How do you tell that story within that framework? Are you able to talk about it on a big scale? Are you able to tell that story or do you need to be more specific when in a sales call with a CISO, for example?

How to bring emotion into your storytelling

Michael Baker: Yeah it's a great question, Barry Mueller. I'm going to go at it from a little different angle. And I'll start with me. So in any meeting and it's great to meet, there's over a hundred people on this call. My background is just a quick short story that my mom raised seven of us by herself.

My dad had brain cancer when I was super young. He lived for 30 years, but he was a vegetable in a military hospital. And I grew up in a very poor family. The parish priest would come and pay our electric bill. That was, it was dire straits. But I had this unbelievable angel of a mom, this role model, and she taught me two things.

She taught me never to give up. So every day was a hard day. But she had seven kids and we were rat bastards, like we were horrible children because we were children, right? But she always made it happen. She never gave up. She stayed with us through our good moments and our bad moments.

And then the second lesson that she taught me was this concept of unconditional love. And what that means is that from an unconditional love perspective is that no matter what, no matter the heartache, the good, the bad, the ugly, I always had this. Just this power of love that came from my mom.

And so when I'm in a business meeting, I'll tell that story. And the relationship between the two things that my mom taught me as it relates to this conversation is I want everybody on this call to know, and if I'm speaking to a CISO, there's two things here. Is that our partnership forever?

I'm not giving up. No matter what, Murphy's Law is gonna show up. And I just want you to know from a leadership perspective, from a sales rep, whoever you are, whatever role you're playing in a cycle that I have this mentality that I will never give up on you and I will be your biggest advocate to make sure that you get what you paid for and the partnership you expect.

And then I believe that love rules the planet. Like I just don't think that there's enough of it. And it sounds dopey when you talk about it in a business or sales perspective, but it really works where you're just, is I love my customers, I love my partners and I tell 'em, I tell my team that it's something that my mom, it's a gift that my mom gave me and I cheat because she's no longer with us, but I want.

I want her angelic self to know that she made a difference on this planet. And she continues every day. So when I start contrary to most beliefs is that I start 'cause I want that emotional connection. 'cause that story that I just told you allows people to say, okay, like I can identify, I get you have a picture of my mom raising seven kids, having a hard time, but just doing it magically, right?

And so the first thing that I want in a meeting, and I do this in every meeting, whether it's with my team or a CISO or raising money, whatever it is this personal connection. I want this emotional connection before we talk about the product because I want the other, I don't want the thinking brain working on the CISO side.

I want the empathetic, I want the emotional side to work and then we can get to the product. But that emotional connection, I think is a place where I like to start in a meeting that you just described, Barry.

Barry Mueller: I love that. Humans being humans at its best. I love this panel of storytellers.

So thank you for that beautiful story. And I think you've captured my heart and everyone here. Carlos, we can talk, you can either give a story that is not related to the product or we could give you the option. You're in presales. You could tell us about how you could tell a story when you're actually deep into doing a technical demo, how that would work.

Carlos buenaño: Yeah. The important thing is always the connection. So I completely agree with both Amit and Michael, right? The first thing you need to do is, or the first thing that I do is listen. Listen. Just be open to listen. Don't open your mouth until you understand exactly why you are there.

So from one way or another, they call you in or you actually knock at the door or whatever. The way the lead puts you there or gives you the opportunity to be in front of that person is because for whatever reason they have a problem. And that problem somewhat relates to what you need to offer.

But before you can tell what you're offering, you need to understand why you're there. So you give the opportunity to the, to the potential customer to tell you what the problem is. And in my case, I'm a technical person. So I just tried to relate to when I was in operations, working the day-to-day on a plant understanding the days and how, we have to keep production going no matter what.

Sometimes even. Trying to find the spare part that is actually in a box sober in the store and trying to get that into that equipment and configured equipment quickly because your production needs to continue. Every minute that you lose is a million dollars that the customer can potentially lose.

So you need to remember all that. And when you speak to the customer, then remember all those times where you were at his position, trying to understand his problems. And once he gets to a point where he opens up and you are listening and you know you are repeating what he's listening, I'm trying to relate to when you were in that position as a technical person you create that relationship immediately.

Hey, I know what you're going through. I had exactly the same experience. I'm not here to waste your time. I'm listening to what your problem is, and then when it comes to a demo, then, resonate with every word that he said. Don't try to put more or less unless you can ask, Hey, we could also do this, understanding your process.

I feel that you can also benefit from whatever functionality we can show. But the important thing is just to touch those keys that he is asking you to, to touch, right? So as opposed to you trying to sell more than what he needs, you need to repro resolve the problem that he's trying to address with you.

What are some cyber presales challenges you face when creating a story?

Barry Mueller: Cool. Love that. So informative, really helpful. Now all of this sounds relatively easy, relatively. Show emotion, talk to someone's persona. What are the challenges? Why can't everyone tell a story during a demo? Carlos, I can start with you. It could go with it, whatever way you wanted to go with it.

Carlos buenaño: So the challenge is like every person or every customer that you meet is in a different stage of the journey, especially in cybersecurity. You can talk to a person that they wanna start with, how, device, disability, I wanna know what is on my network, a need to understand what is in there so they can have to protect it.

But some other customers come in and say, I'm not really sure about what I have, but I just have vulnerabilities. I wanna make sure that I need to protect myself from being hacked, right? So how can I protect myself without too much effort? How can I actually get all the risks, understand the risks? I don't have a budget, I need to do this in the most cost efficient way.

So there's a lot of factors that you need to take into account and the challenges are really real for whatever customers you meet. And the important thing is for you to understand, how you can help him understand, what, how what path you suggest them to follow.

In cybersecurity the biggest challenge is that you can add a system. The amount of data that you get is overwhelming. And what happens when you have an overwhelming amount of data? You put your head in the sand because you don't even know where to start. So then you need to understand that and provide guidance to the potential customers.

Say, Hey, the fact that you have all these issues doesn't mean that you have to resolve them all at once. You can probably follow a specific framework perhaps that helps you, step by step, try to resolve the most critical issues and then move on towards your end objective at the end of the day.

Barry Mueller: Love that. So I've got three main challenges. Stage people coming in different stages, different use cases. And with cyber and specifically overwhelming amounts of data. I think those three are huge challenges. We'll talk soon about how to resolve some of those challenges. Before we do, let's go to Amit.

What are the marketing challenges when working in cyber?

Amit, what are some of the challenges that you are facing or that we are facing?

Amit Daniel: I'll continue basically everything that Carlos said, but I'll try to connect it to this stage when the marketing comes in because I think that the tricky part when and I fully agree with Carlos, understanding exactly the situation of your customer but when you are marketing, it's even more complex because you are sitting behind your desks.

Disconnected from seeing the customer, but you need to equip your sales and presales people with the sales play and the sales book and all the optional stories that Carlos is talking about without actually seeing the customer in front of you. But you need to be prepared for all those stories. And I fully agree with Carlos.

The challenge as a marketer is to be prepared for the right stories. And I think that's where marketing is coming in. So if marketing is doing a great job, which I open this is the kind of relationship that is built, which I always know about the hate and love stories of marketing and sales.

But I do believe that when marketing and sales are BFF, and that's the way that it should work, is that you can actually go and understand and equip the sales with understanding. And there's tons of tools about intent marketing and understanding the stage of your account before you actually meet the customer.

So if I can then come and say, listen for customers that are still in a stage that they're not searching anything about Checkmarxs. This is the kind of story that you would like to give to each of the different buying persons. These are the kinds of questions that you would like to get, do a minimal qualification, and if you ask that question, you get that answer.

This is the kind of sales play that you should take into the story. If the customer is already in the awareness stage or consideration stage, he is more developed. He knows more about us, but he's now in a stage where he actually needs to choose between alternatives. He needs to actually say, wow, give me something valuable.

When it comes up of us versus your competition? Then it's a different stage for marketing that needs to tell a different story and to equip and enable the sales to take you to the field, and that says, okay, the customer understands AppSec. Okay, he knows nothing about it. Now he needs to decide if it's me or my competitor.

How do I equip the sales with the right. Questions to ask and then the story so he can actually nail it when he's meeting the customer. And I think this is exactly the discussion that needs to be done between marketing and sales. Identifying the different stories and identifying the different sales cycles and scenarios that, and they're not, unlimited.

You have at a certain stage you can really quantify and say those are the majority of the cases, depending on the stage of the account that I can equip the sales with. But it's a critical element for making sure that you personalize your, customize your messaging and you're not coming with, out of the box, one generic story for all because it won't fly.

Barry Mueller: Yeah, absolutely. We need to set up a marketing therapy session together and would love that. I love everything you said. Totally can relate to everything. Mike, same question to you.

What are some sales challenges for storytelling?

Michael Baker: I think I will continue the theme. But what I, I think from a sales perspective, and I think all the sellers on the phone, you recognize this.

If you look at any organization you have, your top 5%, top 10% of sellers, and they do something different than the other 90%. There's generally a big separation between the very best sellers and the rest of the sellers. And so one of the things that I that we work on at Noname, and I've seen it, we've all been in sales for quite a while, is this is you build muscles, right?

Like you and the muscle is you understand your product, you want to talk about your product, and you show up and you talk about your product. And what both Carlos and Amit hit on is this idea that I just, you know, when you're at this medium stage of selling your. The problem with knowing something is you know it, right?

And so you want and you wanna share what you know. And what I've seen from a technology perspective, probably the biggest challenge is that it's not building a customer story. It's not understanding the customer before you show up. I just see it a lot even now, where. Salespeople will show up and throw up, as we heard that over the years and it, but it's still very, it's true and it's just something for all of us to watch, right?

How prepared are we before we show up? What is our mental state where psychology, like sales, is a psychology game, right? And so where's our head at before we show up? How prepared are we? And then really understanding what part of what I'm offering to the customer really matters to the customer and what's the 90% of what I have.

But that is not terribly interesting. I think Carlos just mentioned that, right? So it, I think that is a, that's a, it's an important shift, but it's absolutely present in your top sellers. Like you're the top 1%. Like my goal in an organization is for any seller that works for me in the field, I expect them to make over a million dollars in W two.

And, but that's, it's not a layup. It's not easy. But if you're a top seller, You start to, you build these habits and you build different sets of muscles in the selling motion that are unique. And I think that this is a big one that when you overcome it, it's meaningful for the entire organization.

Barry Mueller: Yeah, absolutely. I think one thing I, or one thing that we all talked about, and we can skip to that was about personalization and customization via stage or via use case. How can we, I guess what I'm trying to say is what is the process to make sure that you are actually building that muscle, if you will, or building making sure that you are telling that use case what needs to happen?

How presales can customize cybersecurity use cases

We could start with you, Carlos, from a technical perspective to make sure you are telling that use case to the right user and to the right buyer.

Carlos Buenaño: Yeah. So it is understanding your audience, right? That's the first step. The second step, building the muscle, to me I call it is something like a six sense, right?

Understanding and trying to align in a way to the audience understanding that, if your audience is too technical and looks at the faces. And sometimes it's very difficult because these days in a virtual world sometimes we don't have the cameras and we don't really understand the expressions.

But you could also see the amount of participation. I laugh when I'm in a demo and people interrupt me to ask specific questions because I know then that I have resonated with something that he's actually worried about. When they don't do that, when I feel like it's, they don't have any questions, I feel like, okay they either don't listen, they're not listening to me or they're not interested in what I have to say.

So I have to change the pace. And then, it's amazing the dynamics that I have to go through when it comes to providing that information during the demo. Because sometimes I have to change the pace. I have to go a bit deeper into the technical side and then I can see that not, it's not functioning.

So then I have to step back a bit and make a bit more generic examples and tell the story in a very simple way. For instance I had a really good example the other day and someone asked me, Okay I don't wanna put sensors in my environment. It's that you're actually going to buy a lamp at Home Depot and then put it on the table and don't want to plug it in to light it up, right?

So it's just the same thing, right? So you have to do something if you wanna enjoy the product as its best, right? But that's actually that analogy of the lamp. You have to use that type of analogies when it's actually a very generic sort of example to help people understand, ah, so yes, you need to plug it in to get the functionality that you need for that specific item.

It is not different. My product, for instance, when I need to sell it. And that's what I'm trying to say. That muscle that we need to build when it comes to, to, to demoing a product is to be flexible. Okay? So I know you have, most likely, technical people who are very used to having a script and going through the script.

But sometimes that script needs to be very flexible and adapt according to your audience. Adapt according to the requirements from your point of view or even the level of technicality that your audience is capable of.

Barry Mueller: Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. You have to listen and go with the punches, if you will.

And exactly the different pieces of the demo. I love the lamp case. I'm gonna bring that analogy to everything in my Mike, I actually wanna ask you a question. I saw the transition. We saw in, in, actually, I think it was only shown to the host, but we can combine some of these questions that I'm seeing in the Q&A.

Everyone, thank you for asking these questions, keep them coming. Sometimes you have the CISO and you don't know exactly his pain point or her pain point, and sometimes you have multiple people. You could have the champion, you could have the user. They have different pain points and they have different use cases.

Or maybe, all three of your companies sell multiple products. So maybe you have to show multiple products. So how do you, it's overwhelming on all of this. How do you resolve that overwhelm? How do you make sure to resonate that story so it's appropriate for multiple people and you have multiple products.

How to utilize a buyer champion and win deals

How do you tell that story?

Michael Baker: I think the key component that you mentioned, Barry Mueller, is this idea of a champion within an account. If you look at us as sellers, if we look at where we're successful, where we've actually, I. Really ran a sales cycle and we were successful and the customer became a raving fan.

And it was a highly profitable deal for the manufacturer. It really starts with the champion. And a champion is not a coach, right? When I'm talking about a champion, I'm talking about somebody that can influence the organization, that will sell on my behalf when I'm not present and will coach me around obstacles, around big meetings.

So the meeting that you're describing, Barry Mueller, where you have lots of different, like some known players cso, but you have your champion there and I like, I think with any large opportunity, champions are critical to foster and find them and build them and test them to make sure that they're real champions, that they're not a real champion is one that's selling on your behalf when you're not present.

That's, it's a key measure for me and it's something that we think about in our forecast goals. So I would start with my champion first. And I would test him, I would test their story capability to align this story to make sure that they've done some storytelling on my behalf without me present and start to break the room down.

And so then it's not overwhelming, right? So then I have a champion. I know this, I know, the Amid point of view of having the personas understood. So I know that I'm gonna be able to like really emotionally connect with the CISO, but I'm also gonna create a customer story for the CISO and for other people, other personas around I can, I can't anticipate some of their problems and specific verticals or specific organizations where I've seen it before.

ATT is a customer. Now I'm talking to T-Mobile, so I know there's some transferring and you can, those there, there's some re it's not exactly right, so you can test it a customer story to just, again, we're really trying to build emotional rapport and I'm doing this all before really getting into the meat of the product.

Like I wanna. I want to tell my personal story and I want to tell a customer story, and I want my champion to coach me before we start talking about products and how products are connected, right? Because it's then I'm gonna understand they're gonna say, no, that's not right. That's what you're, my customer story is never a hundred percent right.

And they'll argue with me and say, that's really good, Mike, but these are the three things that really matter to me. And so Now I've broken the room down. I've got my champion and we're starting to understand the pain points. And then you got the magic guys like Carlos who can come in and we can do, just do a team effort in terms of identifying specific use cases with specific things around the product and relate it back to the customer.

So I think not being overwhelmed in that room, making sure that you have a champion ha being prepared, like what we talked about a little bit earlier of understanding the vertical that you're in the customer and kind of anticipate what might be some of their problems and test them and have the customer say, that's not a problem, but this is right.

So I think that will lead you down the path of a successful first or second meeting.

Barry Mueller: Yeah. Love that. This is a sales masterclass at this point. Awesome. Great work. Let's, Amit, I think this is too interesting not to ask you. I'm gonna go for it and maybe you can even talk to us about some of the connections.

If you're, you marketing at your company does this, of working with the sales team on some of these pain points you're talking about T-Mobile to AT&T, so maybe some of that product marketing style of bringing that marketing insights and sales insights together to make sure it's actually being adopted and being listened to by everyone.

Tips for Marketeers and Product Marketers

Maybe we can double down on that.

Amit Daniel: So I'll give my first tip and I think that's a really important one. Sometimes marketers tend to stay behind, in their offices in the dark and prepare materials without always understanding the customers on the other side. I think that for me, for example, I'll just give an example, a really strong product marketeer.

He's a person that all the sales know by name and it's an indicator for me for a KPI. If a product marketer is somebody that knows all the sales you'll ask and he'll know his name, it probably means that he is a great guy because he is supporting sales, he understands. Pain points. He knows how to give them value, and that's, for me, really one of the key KPIs for a successful and really good, valuable product marketeer.

Why do I say that? Because I do believe that product marketing and lots of other marketing people need not only to sit and speak with sales and understand what are their challenges, what are the pain points they see in the market and what do they hear from the market? And not just sit and invent stuff, without any connection to reality and go and meet the customers, be in events, be in meetings today, it's much easier.

You can actually sit on the side and listen to Zoom calls and see what the customers are asking, understand what are the pain points. That's for me, a critical element before you write the first line of the story or even understand the scenario that you're going to handle. So that's my first tip.

Don't stay at your desk. You don't need to physically travel everywhere today because Corona made it much simpler for us. Go and attend sessions. Hear it. Make sure that your salespeople know your marketing people and you have really tight relationships so they can understand the value and the contribution you can bring.

Secondly, I think that part of the story, and I'm now connecting to what just Michael mentioned. We have a scenario today, for example, that we're getting into a room and we have, I don't know if it's the first meeting, but it can be even the third. We have three different people sitting in the same room.

So you will have a CISO, you will have your technical champion. That is in my case, for example, the EC manager. But you'll also have other influences. For example, people that are coming from the development team now, each one of them, and we know that in cybersecurity, They have different needs. They have political issues between them.

We need to be aware of the sensitivities and to think what's the story we're going to bring to that team? So they're all sitting in one room and we don't want to position the story in a way that it doesn't cater to the entire type of personas. An influencer that sits in the room. And I think that for scenarios like that, where you know that you start besides understanding the champion as Michael mentioned, and be prepared ahead of time to understand that's the sensitivity with this one.

So please make sure that you're covering this and these topics because this is something that I want him to hear. And when you're touching this one, please make sure that you demo on the product and you're showing this and this one. And it is really important that you show on your slide the ROI and the TCO for the CISO because this is what is being measured and this is the top priority in taking to the board.

So it's really looking and understanding the map of the people that you need to influence and connect to. You cannot do customization from a marketing perspective to every specific scenario. But if you are well connected to sales and customers, You'll probably accommodate the majority of the scenarios that sales needs to be enabled on.

And then they can manage because strong salespeople can also navigate with that material and to handle challenges and stuff that they come across in specific scenarios. Be well connected. Hear your customers directly, don't get it second hand. It's not good enough. And make sure that you build enough scenarios to handle different things that you can enable the sales to take to the field.

Barry Mueller: Love it. And it's amazing to see how aligned everyone is.

Amit Daniel: We need to watch together the three of us in the same company.

Barry Mueller: That's fine. I think that's what's actually happening. So I'm reading all these questions. There's a ton of questions, specifically, some are cyber related, so I'm gonna try to hit those up.

'cause obviously this is when we saw the signup, how many signups we had for this webinar, it was very clear to us that this is a real pain point for companies in cyber. It was a little too easy for marketing on how many signups we got. So everyone in the audience, we hear your pain. I'm gonna go through some of your questions now and hopefully we'll get through some of them and then we'll go back to our original questions.

Cyber positioning: Is your solution a painkiller or vitamin?

I see a question from Edgar Ortiz. Thanks for asking. I often see sellers in cybersecurity use stories of breaches. So what's the most graceful way to present these stories without being perceived as ambulance chasing? So I guess it's, if you will, that there's like this idea of a vitamin or a painkiller and a breach, and your cybersecurity is that painkiller.

How do you make sure you're not just a painkiller, but you're also a vitamin? That's another way to put it. But I see Mike nodding his head. So let's go with you, Mike, to start off with this question.

Michael Baker: No, I think that the metaphor is the right metaphor actually, that you use Barry Mueller, is this idea of a health check as opposed to a vulnerability assessment, right?

Like vocabulary matters in everything that we do, right? And so you could be saying the same things, but if you use slightly different words, they have different emotions, right? And so what, what I think about, 'cause you we're in API security and there's a breach a week, right? So it's very easy to go there.

I think that the context of, and I think there it's efficient, like fear is an efficient motivator. Like when any data will tell you that that people will move three times as fast for something that they'll lose rather than something they'll gain. So it's actually, it's a fair motivator. But in context, it needs to be done in this.

Health check sort of manner, right? Of it's, so it's done in I just can't stress enough the early part of a meeting and building rapport, and it's not rapport, it's emotional connection with your customers is super important because if you're emotionally connected to your CISO or to your champion and you bring this topic up they know that you're doing it in their best interests.

That's the key. When you're bringing, you're just bringing forth data of saying, look, let's don't let this be you. Let's, and here's the couple things that in my scenario that Noname can do, and here's a couple things that we can't do, so I thought Amit, brought up a really.

Interesting point is the story is much bigger than just a singular product. The story is the story of the CISO who has a very difficult life and this and multiple problems to solve. And Armis can solve a handful of 'em. No name can solve, some check marks can solve some, but it's this context of really protecting your customer and you're protecting the customer by sharing information that they may not be aware of.

And sometimes it's negative information. I just think context is really important. Vocabulary matters, but emotional connection is your high weight to success there, I believe.

Barry Mueller: So quick follow up question on that, and this is maybe more for me than the audience. Yeah. Are we okay using painkillers?

Instead of fighting.

Michael Baker: Yeah. If the context is right, Barry. I just think that if it is done in the right way, with the right vocabulary and the right emotion, it's absolutely, painkillers are necessary, right? You just blew your knee out and it's helpful that you're not suffering while you're being operated on.

So this is basically what we're talking about from a cybersecurity perspective. So I believe the threat is real, right? The CISO's gonna lose their job if they don't do X, Y, or Z, and you're just letting 'em know the, here's some things that have happened, now let's just make sure it doesn't happen on your watch.

So I'm supportive of it, but it needs to be done in a coordinated fashion.

Barry Mueller: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I'm gonna move to a different question just because we have so many questions including some stuff from mine. This one is for Carlos. But I'm also curious to hear other panelists.

So we have storytelling we've discussed about learning who a lot of storytelling comes outside of actually the sales calls, which I loved and never thought about in that way. In that prep technical, sometimes there's technical issues. What do I mean by that? Demo environments, sometimes it's hard to show something that you want to show.

One, you have multiple products, so maybe your products aren't ready or the demo environment is ready, but, or even if you have one product, I know many people have the paint of that demo environment, even if they have one product, maybe they're an earlier startup. So Carlos, maybe you could tell us some of the ways like when we're talking customization, like I.

Maybe there's specific use cases that you try to specifically customize for, or maybe sometimes it's not possible to customize it. How do you get around with these as a presales engineer? And how detailed do you try to go within your customization?

Carlos buenaño: So it, it's all about the data, right? So how do you, and then, sorry.

It's all about the data, how you present the data and how the customer end user expects it. Whether you like it or not, the technical person needs to be very creative and very quick trying to figure out a way to use that data in order to meet the requirements or whatever requirements that the customers expect you to meet.

So the reality is that, sometimes the demo has been defined with limited capabilities, right? So you don't really have everything that you need to show or actually cover any permutation of cases that they might want to, they won't want you to show them.

But the reality is that the data is there. And we can actually just talk about it. Hey, because. Because, actually, lemme just step back. We can help the customer understand the mechanics behind how the product works so that and for that, the technical person needs to really understand how everything works.

And that's actually one of the tricks that I use. And, in and provide the visibility to the customer to help them understand, how we collect the data, what the availability of the data is, and how we can provide that solution that he is looking for, that we can show. In that way the chances are that the person that you're talking to is technically enough to understand the mechanics behind it, and then he can understand that the possibilities that the data that you, or the results that they wanna do is in the data.

That's one method, right? So essentially, and understand the technology, helping the end customer understand the mechanics. And then hopefully they, he, he will actually resonate when you ask or when you tell them. How we can meet that specific requirement. Other tricks that we use I don't, they're not my favorites, right?

But the chances are that we have already talked to other customers and they have the same or very similar required requirements. We already have it in the roadmap and we create mock caps and we have mock caps in hand that we can actually show during the presentation. Hey, look I knew you were gonna ask for this.

And so this is how it's gonna look like it's on the roadmap. It will be available in X amount of releases. I think it is important to, to have, again, that connection to the customer. Help the customer understand your technical capability.

And they show as clear as possible and as honest as possible. When these specific capabilities will be ready.

Barry Mueller: Okay. Cool. Mike, similar question, but with little twist. Feel free to answer both of them. Consistency in demos, that's something I hear a lot from CROs. They wanna see consistency in demos, the demo environment changing or, and a product environment changing.

Predictable vs consistent demos? What matters more?

How do you ensure consistency, if that does matter to you?

Michael Baker: Yeah, no, I think it is, I’m sort of laughing here because it's the old, it's Murphy's Law, it shows up. Every week, every day in technology, right? And so I think the nimbleness of the seller and of, we call 'em solution architects, but the solution architect on the account because I think it's part of the pre-planning if you need to anticipate what's not gonna work, right?

What, what could happen? So what am I not seeing? It's that it's the gap in getting you from here to there. And so it's For me we have all sorts of rules around, the demo environment can't, it can only happen over the weekend and there's just a set just to this idea that yes, it's very important for us to have a consistent demo environment.

Predictable really is what we're looking for, right? That we know when we hit that button, this report is gonna show up. And but it's in the moment that it doesn't, that really tests you as a sales team. And so those moments are super important to me because it will speak to us as a company, how we're gonna recover, to how we're gonna recover, how we can communicate with the customer when.

The technology's not working, and that's gonna happen when they become a customer, by the way. And so our, I think the one thing that hopefully is understood with this whole conversation is at the end of the day, what we're really looking for is our customers to be raving fans of our technology, whether it's Noname or Checkmarxs or Cisco or what, whoever the company is, right?

And so that's the end goal is to make sure that we are all aligned, like the sales team in the demo. But how about the customer success team? That's not, they're not doing demos. They're doing, they're in production and they need consistency with the product to, to deliver to the customer. And so it's it that, it's the right question, but it's a it's, it.

There isn't predictability in software, right? Specifically in the world that we live in. And so it's the nimbleness of the organization to be able to move with a customer and to be able to communicate that this is working, that's not working and still show value. And really ultimately what we're talking about is business value, what our platforms provide.

I, yeah, I hope that answers the question. Very glad to answer a follow on.

Barry Mueller: Yeah, no, that, that does answer it. I'm going through some of the questions now. Such good questions. And we're over, but I don't wanna stop now. So we'll go for five more minutes. This is something we asked them to poll yesterday.

How do you know if your cyber story is working?

What questions do we have to ask? And so this was rated number one, so we have to do this one. How do you know if your story's working? Not only do we have to do it because the people have asked, but because it's very interesting, how do you know if your story's working? I'm sure all of you view it differently, so I hope to do a little rapid fire to get everyone to. I'd love to hear everyone's opinion

Amit, we'll start with you .

Amit Daniel: So for marketing different types of stories, different types of channels. So one side, which is clearly the easier one, is the one that relates to the demand generation and the creation of the pipeline. So if you tell a good story, and it's not really important if it's the SDR, BDR telling that story, when they're prospecting outbound customers or if it's activities that you run on LinkedIn or your website and you see it's converting.

It means, and we are doing lots of AB testing. That's a clear cut. You can actually measure it, do it, see what works, what doesn't, and it's lots of optimization and really being very delegate in testing and seeing what works to which audiences, different geographies, different verticals, et cetera.

The same thing is, by the way, in face-to-face interactions. So I'll give an example. We're doing ABX, so we are really working on a targeted list of accounts that are usually the very large enterprises. So for example, if I'm doing a round table and I have 30 CISOs with me, and I can actually make sure of that, and I see that one of the questions people ask, how do you know what's the pain points of a CISO?

My answer is just ask them. Okay, just go and spend time with the CISOs. I do. I have like in the last few weeks, only 30 CISOs that I've been talking with. Okay. They don't expect me to understand like Carlos or Michael, the same level of product, but that's the level that you need with a C level. You can actually speak with them, understand what the main pain points are.

They will not get into the de, the details and all the areas that I'm not interested to learn. I really want to understand what are their main challenges, what are the pains they're facing, what they need to take inside their organizations, and I can help. As a trusted partner to assist them by building the right story.

So I think that if you actually ask people, and you can do it in surveys, you can speak with them, and then you go to a round table or you go to a webinar and it captures those messages. It works. There are no miracles there and you need to be really transparent in asking the people.

Don't be shy. You don't need to invent or think about what they want. Go and ask them. This is why customers exist. They want to share the pain with you. They don't expect you to guess what they want.

Barry Mueller: Okay, Mike?

Michael Baker: Yeah, I think I completely agree actually. I think the easy answer is just to test it, right?

So anytime I tell a story, I am just testing it, right? Just in your, and you're tested by asking questions, and you can, it's really quick if it's working or if it's not, if you're outta it. What I love about this idea of connection is that when you're not connected, you're not connected.

Like when my wife is upset with me, it's very clear to me that she's upset with me. We are not connected. And so then it's time to do a course correction and to bring the connection back. And so it's really what we're talking about here, right? I will pay attention, just pay attention.

Watch their movement. Watch what's happening in the room, feel the energy and then just ask, to a miss point, is it just asking them is this working or not?

Barry Mueller: Yeah, absolutely. Your first story definitely worked and everyone else's story is also really helpful, Carlos.

Carlos buenaño: Yeah, very quickly. Yeah, the same, the same, right? When you're doing a demo you pause every now and then once you actually hit the mark for a specific use case and ask questions. And for me no questions is a red flag. So I think if someone is interactive, to me that is a good indication that the message is actually getting through.

And they're, because they're actively participating in the conversation, they're listening, they have a question, something resonated, but they just want that little clarification where, okay, you know, okay, you, you seem to be going on the right path. I just wanna clarify this. And it's okay.

And then once that interaction happens, I know then that the storytelling is working. Love it.

Barry Mueller: Carlos, Mike, Amit, this was awesome. I really appreciate it. I'm looking forward to one myself, learning from this one, making sure my team watches this if they are on it live, so that they can also learn from it and really spread it through the cyber community.

And even, I would say most of these even applied for people not in cyber. Maybe some of the pain points and some use cases where cyber specific, but a lot of storytelling rules goes outside of this. Thank you for being excellent panelists and looking forward to staying in touch.

Tell us about yourself

Tell us about yourself so we can show you a demo on the first call

Hand holding screenshots of an application