By Magnus Boll, 2020 InfoSec, Sep 2018
Would you buy a Firewall from this Sales Guy?

You’ve probably come across a fair share of sales folk who’s primary goal is lining their own pockets, and those of their employers. -Ideally in as short a time as possible. Others may be honest, but lack the knowledge, resources or analytical skills required to propose solutions in line with your requirements. The InfoSec market is hot and full of “the newest and greatest” products. Green sales people fresh out of school or from other industries are lured by visions of big commissions and shiny career prospects. Many InfoSec companies don’t extend the necessary resources to get these fresh sales people properly trained in the industry and the products they sell. In short; It’s not easy to find a trustworthy InfoSec re-seller.

My own 20-year long InfoSec sales career is no exception. Many of the organizations I worked for projected an image of putting the customer’s requirements first when in front of their market, but quite the contrary in their business practices.

a Trustworthy InfoSec Re-seller

One notable exception was my last job, with A2N in Toronto. By far the longest tenure of my career at just shy of 10 years. The owner, Frank Rondinone, is of the belief that putting in the effort to identify the best solution for the customer not only gains their trust in the short term, but also wins their long term loyalty. This has always been my own strategy as well, hence the long tenure with A2N.

The question is; How do you find a Trustworthy InfoSec Re-seller in your region? Luckily, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Follow the simple steps outlined below and you’ll be on the road to a long term, mutually beneficial business relationship with a local Trustworthy InfoSec re-seller.

There are two sides to this challenge. The Organization and the Sales guy. At times you will find a hard-working, honest and sincere sales guy working for an otherwise less than ethical organization. On the flip-side you can find sleazy, self-serving salespeople in the most well reputed of companies.

Finding a Trustworthy InfoSec Re-seller

Step 1, Make a Short List

Ideally the shortlist should contain between 5 and 10 companies. Sometimes this isn’t possible if your region is small. Solicit recommendations from Industry peers, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other source you can think of. Use Google to find as many InfoSec Re-sellers as possible before narrowing down the list. Glassdoor is a great way to gain a bit of insight into a business with very little effort. Try to identify not only dealers, but also the most respected individual sales-people that work for them.

Step 2, The First Test

Make up a bogus “opportunity” that has a simple no-cost or low-cost solution. For example; Identify one of the less known features of a product you already have. Invite the short listed sales guys to a sitdown and present a challenge that can be solved by turning this feature on. Most of them will attempt to sell you an additional product that has the required feature. The Sales guy you want to deal with is the one that tells you that you need not spend anything but rather turn on the feature in the product you already own. This sales guy understands the value of trust and long term relationships for the better of both organizations involved.

Step 3, The Second Test

This works best if you have a genuine mandate or requirement for a product or service. Invite the shortlisted companies/sales guys to a discovery-session. Give them a chance to introduce themselves and their organization before communicating what your requirement is. Tell them what specific type of product you are looking for and very briefly why. The trick is to give them as little information as possible. Any sales guy who starts pitching a brand without inquiring further likely only has the one brand available, or is heavily favoring a brand and getting the same support in return from the manufacturer. You know the old saying; “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. This probably isn’t the best candidate. The ones that make relevant inquiries to better understand your challenges are much more promising. However, not all inquiries are for the purpose of serving you better. If they seem more interested in throughput, segments and how many seats/nodes/employees you have as opposed to technical challenges, what you are protecting and how you determined the requirement etc, they are asking price list questions. Eager to get to the quoting stage, but not that interested in making sure you get the best solution to your challenge. The sales guy you are looking for is the one that wants to understand your challenge. When he starts to pitch a product, you will notice a certain level of enthusiasm and pride in what he has put together for you.