TEN Marketing Breakfast

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For a number of years, I’ve had the honor of participating on the T.E.N. ISE® Sales and Marketing Breakfast panel at RSA. This year’s panel included some of my most esteemed colleagues in the industry and was once again a packed house with over 100 vendor representatives.

The idea behind the panel is to provide an opportunity for vendor marketing and sales professionals to ask questions directly to the CISO’s they are trying to reach. Questions range from ‘What’s the best way to get your attention?’ to ‘How do you find emerging companies and solutions?’ It two-plus hours of frank, open dialogue that you find nowhere else.

The article below is a recap of this years event.


At T.E.N.’s 2019 ISE® Sales and Marketing Breakfast, eleven leading industry executives offered their insights and experiences with security vendors and how they have built relationships with sales and marketing teams for mutual success. The discussions centered around top-of-mind issues in cybersecurity, how marketers can navigate the CISO’s buying cycle, the influence of security teams on product implementation, on giving back to the industry, and much more. Over one-hundred security vendor representatives attended this exclusive event, receiving valuable knowledge about the best ways to connect with future clients and foster long-term relationships with them.

Discussion Summary

Our breakfast began this year with each panelist detailing their enterprise’s unique security needs and requirements along with the initiatives they’re pursuing in the future, with many focusing on reclaiming visibility, identity and access management, cloud security, IOT security, and data loss prevention. Regardless of the industry and future security pursuits, every executive agreed on the following: vendors need to know intimately who they’re selling to and be aware that the buying cycle is often slower than they would expect. “Have you ever sold to the government before?” asked Paul Morris, Chief Information Security Officer and Executive Director, Information Assurance & Cybersecurity Division for Transportation Security Administration (TSA). “The pipeline is not going to fit your sales compensation log. We’ll spend a year chasing down a solution, getting management on board, building a spending plan, and then next year, we’ll finally implement.”

Understanding your client expands to understanding the people CISOs work with within their own company, including the upper management they report to and the security team members they work with every day. Each of them has a common goal they’re working together to achieve: Implementing security solutions that line up with current business objectives. “We’re absolutely group decision makers,” said Kim KeeverCISO and Senior Vice President of Security, Analytics & Technology Services for Cox Communications. “It’s either my directors or team members who find solutions and raise them up. Everyone on my team knows they have to be customer service-oriented, so new solutions have to add positive effects to that experience.”


“If you really want to get my attention, educate the industry, make a mark on the industry. The more attention you give, the more you’re going to get back.” – John Masserini, Global CISO Millicom, International Cellular

The information security industry lives and breathes on just that: Information. Security executives are often preoccupied with information about the latest threats, but they will also be on the lookout for new technologies and cutting-edge techniques, becoming knowledgeable of the reputations that vendors bring with them. “I’m a voracious reader,” continued John Masserini. “I spend the better part of an hour over coffee reading industry news, finding new companies through what they give back, so if you have a blog, if I read something about you that sparks my interest, I’ll find you.” The influence a vendor can make on the industry doesn’t stop once a deal is made; what a solutions provider can give back to their partners also travels far through word-of-mouth. “I always turn to five or six other CISOs to ask them about solutions providers I encounter to see if trust can be established,” noted Paul Morris. “It’s valuable to start at that place because it doesn’t come from a phone call.”

You can read the entire article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/relationships-come-first-building-foundation-security-marci-mccarthy/

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