Channel players should be able to prove they have a deep understanding of a CISO's company if they hope to get a meeting with them, delegates of Fortinet's Accelerate 18 event heard this week.
During a panel at the global partner and user conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, CISOs discussed what gets them to open the door for a VAR or distributor.
"I'd caution you on leaving voicemails. I get probably 50 calls a week from various people, and I don't check my voicemails anymore because there's just too many of them. It's overwhelming," Daniel Hooper, SVP and global information security officer at investment management firm PIMCO, said.
Hooper continued, saying it's about what value-add the channel firm can bring to his company and its projects.
"It's not just a shiny product. It's not just next-generation, artificial intelligence, machine learning. That's great, looks good on a slide, but what does that mean for me? How does that make my life easier and better and our customers' information more secure?"
Kevin Kealy, CISO at Ingram Micro, agreed that voicemails are ineffective, saying if he receives one he hits ‘delete'.
Instead, he encouraged channel partners to come to CISOs with a compelling elevator pitch. He pointed to a short LinkedIn message he once received from an executive at an Australian start-up saying he had a potential solution to a specific problem the CISO only recently realised he had.
"I was sufficiently intrigued by the brevity and the conciseness in his approach that I took a meeting with him," Kealy said. "It was his ability to articulate a problem that showed he knew my business well enough to be able to pinpoint a solution and say ‘I think I have what you need'. That's what gave the value to me."
Renee Tarun, VP of internal security at Fortinet, also weighed in, telling channel partners to make sure they're "doing their homework". She pointed out that as a security exec for a security vendor, she's not going to be interested in a conversation with someone trying to push products that Fortinet itself sells.
"Everyone calls and says ‘I've got the number one solution to solve your problem'. Well, tell me you understand my problems. Tell me what I need, what I'm looking for. Understand what I'm trying to solve before you tell me you've got the number one solution," Tarun said.
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