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What it means to be a cybersecurity vendor for enterprise clients

So, what helped us win the hearts of our clients and achieve such solid results? Let me share with you five main elements that made our enterprise sales strategy succeed.

By Evgeniya Naumova
VP of Global Sales Network, Kaspersky

2020 was a game changer. We all had to adapt to a new reality and address new challenges. The only question was: how to do this successfully?

I approach all obstacles and difficulties as opportunities and instill this mindset in my team. As a result, in 2020 Kaspersky showed the best sales results in the company’s history. 

The already-strong part of Kaspersky’s global business – Enterprise – grew by 23% compared to pre-COVID 2019. At the same time, it was the most challenging segment for us last year. Nevertheless, with the right sales approach and decision-making, we turned it into the company’s key driver of sustainable sales growth and efficiency.

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So, what helped us win the hearts of our clients and achieve such solid results? Let me share with you five main elements that made our enterprise sales strategy succeed.

1. Trust. 

The new digitalized business environment relies on trust: trust in brands, trust in partnerships, and trust in technology. If you do not understand how something works, or how it handles your data, it is not deserving of your trust.

In cybersecurity, the industry for which trust is key, emphasis should be placed on greater transparency as well as the long-term relationships built with your customers. 

In such challenging times, many organizations find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Businesses have had to adapt to new digital realities by setting everything up remotely (and ASAP), and at the same time, cybercriminals have built momentum and the ability to broaden the pool of those to attack and the tools in their arsenal. Which means, customers need cybersecurity support now more than ever. 

At Kaspersky, for example, we prepared a free online course on how to adapt to working safely from home and offered an “anti-COVID” package that included a number of our different products and services to support all companies worldwide for several months. Our primary focus was on healthcare organizations and we developed a special, free package for this sector, who were on the forefront of battling both the epidemic and among the most vulnerable to IT security risks during this difficult time. With this decision, we were among only a handful of vendors who took such action on a global scale and with wider support. 

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2. Stability. 

In times of turbulence, businesses appreciate stability most of all – not only from us, but our partners as well. When a client sees that a partner’s business is stable and developing, they feel safe and confident in the services being proposed. This involves continuously investing in improving the quality of your services, along with stable customer support. 

Our wider Kaspersky team does its best to make sure we provide our clients with the best service and support at all times. We’ve been actively investing in enterprise product development and enhancement of our dedicated expertise, including generating new R&D vacancies. Public releases of new products, including our new Kaspersky Endpoint Detection and Response Optimum (EDR Optimum) was proof to customers that our company’s B2B business is stable, despite ongoing changes in the market.

As a result, in 2020 and for the second consecutive year, Kaspersky was recognized as a Customers’ Choice for Endpoint Detection & Response Solutions by Gartner Peer Insights. We received a rating of 4.9 out of 5 based on reviews by our customers, who validated the strength of our EDR offering.

3. Flexibility

In times of change for your client, you have to change too, and adapt quickly to their new business needs. 

As lockdowns were imposed, businesses became unable to meet with customers and partners to participate in face-to-face negotiations. In the enterprise segment, such a loss of “personal touch” can have a significant impact. Nowadays, it is valued greatly to be present, operative and available for a client. At the same time, it enables you – the vendor – with greater opportunities: online events can engage greater numbers of attendees than ever before, across multiple geographies, while experiments with virtual formats allow you to bring different experiences to the table. 

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While remote communication with your customers is easily accomplished, it still holds limitations on how you can present all the possibilities of your products. At Kaspersky, we set a goal to organize remote Proof of Concepts (PoCs), because it is still important to exemplify how our products work in real-time.

For industrial segments, such things are complex, as it often involves highly sensitive networks and the physical presence of cybersecurity experts. With remote PoCs, it’s possible to assess the state of a client’s cybersecurity and offer the relevant protection without such a need to meet in person. Thanks to the trust of our customers, we generated many new contracts in 2020.

4. Simplicity.

Although the industry and technology are constantly and increasingly developing, businesses choose to work with vendors with easy-to-handle business processes and products. 

According to the Simplicity Index, 64% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences and communications. A “simplified experience” became especially crucial during the pandemic. While companies already face a vast number of problems in their day-to-day activities, their interactions with their vendor should not be one of them – from communication to support, and financial as well as administrative (bureaucratic) questions. Vendors should value their partners’ time and use their experience, which in the end leads to win-win situations. 

Kaspersky is a channel-driven company, and our goal is always to be the easiest vendor in the industry for our partners to work with. For instance, we have simplified our registration process for enterprise partners, allowing for faster registration and access to the Kaspersky United Partner Portal. 

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5. Expertise

Research shows that for businesses the most important considerations when choosing a cybersecurity provider are product and service quality, as well as expertise in cyber threats. Such a trend is confirmed by the development of the threat landscape that, on the one hand, is amplified by the rise of APT attacks, and on the other by the fact that significant damage to large companies is inflicted by malware not specifically designed to infect corporate networks. 

Today, customers seek sophisticated protection from a vendor with an elite level of expertise that has been proved globally. For instance, Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) is well known for providing leading threat intelligence and research, and the discovery of some of the world’s most sophisticated threats. The team has been recognized at the 2020 Cyber Security Awards for ongoing leadership and expertise in their field. 

Looking ahead, what can we expect from the enterprise cybersecurity sector?

Digitalization, being an inevitable process for every business that wishes to succeed, will see further development in different formats. For instance, a ‘remote mode of everything’ is not just a trend, but a new normal and recent Kaspersky research has revealed that almost three quarters (74%) of employees want to keep a hybrid approach to working in the future. For all of us in cybersecurity, this means that risks to businesses will remain, if not grow. Therefore, the importance of these five elements at the core of enterprise security will only increase. 

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