Lead generation is the easy part of the sales cycle. Marketing activities, sales enablement tools, events, and so on should create the perfect environment that allows sales teams to fill their sales funnel (if they are doing their job effectively). But while it may be possible to generate 200+ qualified enterprise leads in any given quarter, it is frequently the “last mile” in selling that can feel like an uphill journey.
Converting qualified leads that result in an actual purchase order can often feel elusive for sales teams, but there are ways to bridge this gap and help partners and vendors see greater ROI from their combined sales and marketing efforts.
The most crucial part of the sales process is communicating and demonstrating to prospects the very real value that solutions can deliver to their operations beyond the hypothetical. Nobody wants to make a significant investment in a product as a leap of faith and simply hope for the best, particularly in such a high-risk, high-stakes domain such as cybersecurity.
Probably no area of the current IT marketplace creates a sense of “us v. them” more than cybersecurity, making it an obvious choice for gamification.
Developments in virtualization and gaming now support a specially created environment that gives prospects hands-on experience of a solution to fight against cyber threats and solve “real world” issues, answering the need for practical proof and demonstrating performance and value to prospects.
So, how can sales leaders gamify cybersecurity to engage prospects and ensure that business discussions are taken to their logical conclusion and reach a mutually valuable outcome?
Path to conversion
Any sales account manager will tell you that one of the most difficult aspects of the sales process is conversion. It is difficult to stand out in a crowded marketplace like today’s highly competitive cybersecurity space.
Creating a customer touchpoint that perfectly encapsulates and represents your brand can be a powerful tool for facilitating conversion and close more sales. In cybersecurity, gamifying the demo environment – i.e., creating game-like systems around product demos by establishing teams and rewarding points for tasks – can be the means to deliver a much more meaningful sales experience.
Conceptualizing and delivering gamified events, such as “Capture the Flag” where technical security architects must defend a company’s network from a live ransomware or malware attack, are an excellent way to capture your prospects’ attention. They can help them get to know vendors’ solutions and capabilities at a much more in-depth level, allowing them to experience the benefits and see the value up close.
This approach to delivering technical demos can be an inspiring and persuasive way to guide prospects through the sales journey and help them to arrive at their “moment of truth”. It delivers the motivation required to sustain the business discussions through-out the sales cycle and incentivizes prospects to return for successive conversations.
Using gamified events to attract the technical influencers of the organizations that partners are targeting, very often the gatekeepers of C-Level executives, is also a valuable way to achieve traction within that company.
Next step in demand generation – The “non” demo
A gamified demo experience exemplifies what an effective demand generation tool is all about: creating awareness and interest in offerings by using technology. By giving security architects, SOC engineers or IT managers the ability to participate in gamified events they will be able to achieve a much more in-depth understanding of the dexterity and value of the solution, and hopefully convert before they have an opportunity to approach the competition.
Once prospects have experience of using “best-in-class” solutions firsthand and given the chance to apply them to a real-world scenario, it removes the incentive for them to explore options presented by competitors with cheaper and less comprehensive offerings.
If they were to pursue other avenues, they would quickly discover that some of the functionalities they have been able to explore during a gamified demo simply isn’t available from a lesser competitor.
Gamification: The competitive edge
Introducing the element of competition into the demo arena delivers an edge in terms of generating higher levels of engagement with prospects. The competition aspect implies reward, so prospects are incentivized to get involved and play to win.
Encouraging competitiveness by having a virtual leader board, for example, offers the reward of feeling more connected to an on-line community. This transforms the paradigm of selling software: usually meeting attendees are simply the passive consumers of information and data, even more so in these current pandemic-constrained times.
Virtual gamification breaks-up the monotony of staring at a screen with a PowerPoint on it followed by a feature-laden demo. Because it works on the principal of reinforcement, it is possible to make the demo challenges creative.
Rewarding participants for what they do also directs that excitement toward challenges that drive engagement, participation as well as other ROI-positive behaviors. This gives them the motivation to keep interacting with the demo platform and keep completing objectives for more chances to win prizes.
The gamification of cybersecurity demos can help channel partners and vendors gain a competitive advantage over the competition, particularly when the solutions in question are “best-in-class”. By creating a fun and differentiated experience that taps into the real-world challenges that prospects face daily, partners and vendors can build a level of trust as it demonstrates an awareness of their pain-points.