How Do I Make Cybersecurity Sales To CISOs?

  • UserVal Tsanev
  • December 02, 2022
  • 5 min read
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Cybersecurity is fast becoming one of the largest areas in the business landscape, and it’s no wonder why — it is expected to grow by $224 billion in the year 2022. Despite the high growth, making cybersecurity sales to CISOs is no easy task.

Why Are CISOs Important For Cybersecurity Sales?

If you’re a cybersecurity enterprise or startup, know that CISO is your key internal champion. They are the first line of defense and have a major role in protecting their organization’s data systems. With a vast amount of data in motion, constant shifts in technology, regulatory requirements, and new threats arising every day, CISOs, today, have a greater role in developing and managing secure business models.

To meet the rapidly changing security needs, CISOs look for reliable solutions to patch possible vulnerabilities and minimize the risk of cyber attacks. They do extensive research to find products that fulfill their core security needs and pain points.

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Why Is It Hard to Sell Security Solutions to CISOs?

Despite the growing demand for cybersecurity solutions in CISO networks, vendors fail to make successful sales. The problem lies in their irrelevant, untimely and unconnected marketing approaches which make them look unreliable.

Randall Frietzsche, a CISO | ISSA Hall of Fame | FBI CISO Academy, says, “If you email me, I will just block you and your email domain. That way, I don't need the 13 emails after the initial email saying - not sure if you got my first email but... - since you haven't responded to my emails you must be busy.... BLOCKED

I don't take sales calls. I tell you that when you call. Mostly, you ignore me and continue to call and email me. I will stop answering my phone and let it go to voicemail.”

It’s because CISOs are busy people and approaching them using traditional approaches won’t cut you any deals.

To learn how B2B cybersecurity vendors can make successful sales, we have shared our top 5 tips for the cybersecurity marketing and sales team hoping to improve their close rates and achieve sales targets.

1. Frame a Sales Pitch That Syncs With CISO Needs

Selling cybersecurity solutions to CISOs requires an in-depth understanding of what CISOs think and which security solution they need. They are a busy bunch of folks managing a lot of activities like organizational transitions and ever-changing security needs. Approaching them with a random and cold pitch will get you no air time.

Cybersecurity sales to CISOs primarily concern making the CISOs' needs clear from the start of your pitch. Remember that today’s CISOs don’t just want to be the passive recipients of templated pitches. Quite the opposite, they want cybersecurity marketers to educate them on looming threats and what solutions they have in the bucket.For vendors, here is the clear takeaway: Use a customized sales pitch that specifically talks about the problems CISOs are trying to solve and how your security solutions can solve these acute problems.

For instance, if you’re sending a cold email or LinkedIn message something like, “Hi, do you want cybersecurity solutions?” of course they do and messages like that will hardly get you any response. Hundreds of other cybersecurity vendors are using the same practices. So if you want to make a difference in your approach, ask them to have a conversation with you. CISOs actually love it when cybersecurity vendors try to know their security problems and needs. For more information, you can read our blog on how to connect with CISOs Executive Network for Cyber Security Services

2. Prefer Face-to-Face & Hands-On Approaches

With so many security solutions in the market, CISOs have to be very strategic and careful about the resources they leverage to make their security purchases. In an effort to better evaluate cybersecurity vendors, they prefer a face-to-face approach more than anything else. Before 2020, the most useful settings for cybersecurity vendor evaluation were roundtable meetings and dinners.

Frietzsche suggests various ways to engage with CISOs: consider sponsoring a lunch or dinner, supporting CISOs’ conferences, or becoming a partner in the ISSA or ISACA chapter. Take the opportunity to connect with them, allowing them to reciprocate. Aim to provide value beyond immediate sales prospects, and focus on building long-term relationships.

However, much of this changed after the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on in-person meetings requiring security practitioners and vendors to find new ways to connect. Since then, conferences and roundtables have gone virtual. Today, 43 percent of the CISOs have listed virtual roundtables as their preferred way of evaluating vendors’ solutions.

Execweb—a cybersecurity marketing platform— provides an excellent opportunity for vendors and CISOs to connect and develop strong business relationships.

3. Focus on Getting Referrals

When peer opinion is given value, referrals are gold.

For CISOs, peer-to-peer opinion carries the most weight than any other factor. More than 70 percent of CISOs rely on word of mouth and peer communications to find the best security solutions.

Whenever a CISO needs a solution, they turn to a cybersecurity executive network for genuine information. That’s good news for cybersecurity vendors who can focus on building relationships and reputations in CISO networks instead of courting influencers’ favor to get cybersecurity sales. If one CISO likes your solution, he is likely to share his experience with other CISOs in their networks. They ask each other, “Hey, have you tried product X?” or “I have talked to a cybersecurity company ‘Y’ and they have the most reliable security solution. Let me know if you need an introduction.” As people trust their colleagues and value peer experience, you will win more cybersecurity sales in a short time. Thus, building strong customer relationships and earning referrals can be the vendor’s most rewarding asset to any other source in the market.

4. Use Blogs and Research Reports

CISOs' jobs require them to be up to minute on what’s going on in the cybersecurity world. For this, they turn to sources such as blogs and research reports to stay current with the industry news. More than 90% of CISOs read vendors' blogs, read articles on new threats, and look into research reports to analyze market trends. These sources carry more weight than general business press and journals.

So if you want to get the attention of CISOs and make more cybersecurity sales, it is important that you have an up-to-date website and blog. It will also help you build strong brand awareness in the cybersecurity industry trade press.

Where Do I Find CISOs to Make Cybersecurity Sales?

Getting a foot in the CISOs door is no easy task. Vendors need the right third-party platforms to connect with them.

At Execweb, we are committed to providing a platform where vendors can have virtual roundtables with CISOs to have in-depth cybersecurity discussions. We encourage security practitioners and vendors to have their conversations going because —because now more than ever — the world needs a combined effort against hackers. If you need more information about how to reach your target audience and make cybersecurity sales, you can reach out to us at

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