This article is the second in a series on go-to-market strategy for cybersecurity and infosecurity SaaS companies. You can find our first article on product marketing here.
Why Your Cybersecurity Value Proposition Matters
With the recent onslaught of high-profile cyber attacks and the widespread shift to remote work due to the pandemic, security, IT, and business leaders are recognizing that attacks are inevitable and are dedicating more money to their security budgets as a result. This is both a boon and a burden to cyber and infosecurity SaaS companies: organizations are now on the hunt for your exact product, but you’ll have to stand out in an oversaturated market to make the cut.
Keep in mind that, just because your product is great and the need is urgent, as it is for cybersecurity, potential customers still have a number of reasons to walk away. One of the reasons, which we see all too often in the cybersecurity space, is a breakdown in effective communication.
This is where your value proposition strategy comes in. At its most basic, a value proposition demonstrates to your market that your product meets their unique needs. It should make the benefits of your product crystal clear from the outset and should tell prospects why they should choose you over competitors.
Because cybersecurity SaaS is so complex, education should be at the core of your value proposition strategy. How will you convey the value of your highly technical product to potential customers with varying degrees of content knowledge? How will you translate developer jargon into accessible marketing language? (Remember, translating the technical aspects of your product into a value proposition requires a whole different skill set than the one required to build the product.) And what format will you use to educate your prospects: blog posts, social media campaigns, white papers, or webinars?
If you’re a cyber or infosecurity SaaS company, we suggest thinking through your value proposition by taking both a proactive risk management approach as well as an ROI-based approach. We cover both approaches in the following sections below.
Proactive Approach to Risk Management
In the past, an organization might have sought out cybersecurity software only after being attacked. But now, with cyber attacks routinely making headlines, many organizations want to be proactive about protecting their data and high-value assets. But don’t respond by pitching your feature sets to prospects. Instead, first identify their particular pain points and then address the kind of risk they’re most likely worried about. Depending on the prospect, your value proposition might speak to:
In 2021 alone, global cybercrime has cost us $6 trillion USD, up from $3 trillion in 2015. These figures include damage and destruction of data, stolen money, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, lost productivity, lost revenue, embezzlement, fraud, forensic investigation costs, replacement and remediation costs, increases in insurance premiums, and sometimes, extortion costs (i.e., the cost of paying a ransom to the attacker). Your value proposition should therefore make these costs tangible to the potential customer and emphasize that no organization is immune: even small businesses are vulnerable to attacks, and they may lack the resources to fully recover following a breach.
Check out Kaspersky’s “Measuring the Financial Impact of IT Security on Businesses,” which is a great example of how you can approach financial risk education. With this report, Kaspersky positions itself as a thought leader in the cybersecurity space and fills an important information gap in the market with a fairly rigorous study. Although producing a resource like this will take time and tie up internal resources, it is significantly more durable and quotable than a single 500-word blog post on the topic of financial risk. Case in point, even though this guide was written in 2016, it still shows up on the first page of results when you search “financial risk and cybersecurity” on Google.
Reputational damage may be less obvious than the financial costs of a breach, but it is no less important: cyber attacks may erode trust among customers, suppliers, partners, and investors. While it may be hard to actually quantify reputational risk, it’s easy to see how a cyber attack could lead to lost customers, lost contract revenue, difficulty getting loans, brand devaluation, and ultimately, lost future profits.
Explicitly addressing reputational risk is even more critical if you serve an industry that is especially vulnerable to reputational harm. For example, does your client operate in a saturated market where customers have plenty of other options if your client is breached? Think law firms, banks and credit unions, or financial tech companies: if they were to suffer a breach, customers will waste no time switching to a different and more trusted firm or service provider. Or is your client a professional service provider with even a small portfolio of small to medium-sized companies? If so, just a single breach would lead to a cascade of subsequent breaches, leaving your client’s and all of their clients’ data compromised.
In the wake of a cyber attack, organizations are liable for data protection and privacy violations. This means that, following a breach, companies may have to pay fines and regulatory sanctions – or worse, they may get sued. Therefore, prospects will be looking for cybersecurity software that reduces their exposure to class-action litigation and regulatory defense. T-Mobile was sued for a data breach that impacted 53 million customers, and Scripps Health is facing several class-action lawsuits for an attack that occurred in May 2021.
Potential customers will also want to know how your software keeps them in compliance with federal and state requirements for data protection and security. You’ll want to learn about compliance requirements for certain verticals (e.g., HIPAA in the healthcare industry or GLBA in the finance industry) and then speak to how your product ensures that they play by the rules.
Your overall value proposition strategy should give prospects the ability to evaluate their cyber resilience and risk exposure based on these four metrics. And remember, your value proposition should contain more than just your feature set. When your messaging is effectively a laundry list of your technical features, potential customers are more likely to skim past, as they may not have the expertise to translate how these features will ultimately affect or protect their business.
ROI-Based Approach to Risk Management
You’ll also want your value proposition to be presented in terms of return on investment. In other words, you’ll want to make the value in your value proposition both clear and credible. A prospect will want to know exactly how your product will save more money, generate more money, or both.
When calculating your software’s ROI, ask:
- Does it provide labor-saving automation?
- Does its implementation reduce personnel costs?
- Does it help end-users save on cyber insurance?
- Does it make the end-user more attractive to their respective clients? For example, does your product include an accreditation (like SOC2) that makes the end-user more trustworthy and thus more likely to generate business?
- Does it provide access to new markets that require certain forms of cyber risk mitigation by law?
Whenever possible, you’ll want to present dollar figures. “We save our customers $XX each year” will have more of an impact than “We help customers avoid the enormous costs of a security breach.” Compelling numbers are more likely to get the attention of a high-level decision-maker or the financial team member who will need to sign off on the investment in your solution.
Connecting Your Value Proposition to Each Stage of the Marketing Funnel
We also suggest tailoring your value proposition messaging to each stage of the marketing funnel:
- Top of the Funnel: Stick to high-level thought leadership and education around mitigating cyber risk, enhancing cyber resilience, and improving ROI. The goal should be to establish your brand as a trusted thought leader in cybersecurity.
- Middle of the Funnel for the End-User: Offer a cyber risk questionnaire, an ROI calculator, or a risk assessment worksheet for teams so that prospects have a general sense of their security needs.
- Middle of the Funnel for Partner Channel: Offer a selling toolkit for partners so that they can easily provide their clients access to your gated content and evaluation tools.
- Bottom of the Funnel for the End-User: Create a clear and repeatable discovery or demo call strategy and consider a consultative sales model.
Creating Your Cybersecurity Value Proposition with RFDM Solutions
In an oversaturated market like cyber and infosecurity, a compelling value proposition is the only way to stand out from the crowd. We recommend taking both a proactive risk management approach and an ROI-based approach to make sure your value proposition resonates with prospects at any stage of the marketing funnel. Contact us for a free cybersecurity or infosecurity go-to-market strategy consultation.
Watch our on demand info session, Cybersecurity & Infosecurity Go-to-Market Playbook 2022.