Are You Turning Off Buyers with Jargon and Geek Speak? | Jenny Botton
There are too many people who think that if you fall into jargon and start spouting geek speak that you're going to impress people. In fact, the opposite is true.
In this episode, I had a brutally honest conversation with Jenny Botton, Head of Corporate Information Security at CCL, about her challenges, goals, what vendors do that piss her off, and the alternatives.
Jenny is interested in the human brain, human psychology and human behavior is a fan of crime and home and garden makeover shows, and has a secret desire to be a superhero and save the world.
That’s why she does what she does in her career as a cybersecurity practitioner.
Guest at a Glance
💡 Name: Jenny Botton
💡 What she does: Jenny is currently the Head of Corporate Information Security at CCL, an IT Services organization in New Zealand.
💡 Noteworthy: Jenny is interested in the human brain, human psychology, and human behavior, is a fan of crime and home and garden makeover shows, and has a secret desire to be a superhero and save the world. That’s why she does what she does in her career as a cybersecurity practitioner.
💡 Where to find Jenny: LinkedIn
What Jenny hates most about the cybersecurity industry:
There are too many people who think that if you fall into jargon and start spouting geek speak that you're going to impress people.
In fact, the opposite is true.
All you're going to do is turn them off because they're going to start tuning you out and then you've lost your message and potentially you've lost an opportunity that could be quite valuable.
How those who are stuck in the geek speak ways can shift to the softer skills to articulate the business side of things:
Go and talk to somebody who perhaps doesn't isn't technical, go and talk to your marketing manager, go and talk to your communications manager, practice and validate your explanation and message on them.
“If you can explain to a non-technical person what the impact is, it's so much more likely that you'll be able to have this business conversation.”
Security should never get in the way of somebody doing their job. If it does, we've made a mistake.
Jenny’s one bleeding neck challenge:
There are just not enough people.
We're in a bit of a state of cannibalism at the moment, because everybody's just trying to eat everybody else in terms of poaching their staff and their team members.
How to solve this challenge:
Automation. If we can start automating, alerting, or patching and let people focus on the stuff that actually needs a human brain to analyze, that's going to go a whole long way to helping us with the skill shortage.
How Jenny evaluates security orchestration automation and response tools:
It needs to start off with defining requirements ranging from functional to non-functional.
“It's going to help me make the decision around what's good for our business. What's going to fit in with our business model, our strategy, but most of all, the teams that are going to have to operate them?”
Requirement's definition is absolutely critical because then after that, if she has that clear list, then looking at the 2, 3, 4 vendors that she may have or tools that she may have shortlisted, it becomes so much easier to do evaluate and buy.
Once she has the requirements, she shares them with vendors and requests from them to make the business case and explain how they match up to the requirements.
She does not want to have to do the work to analyze that.
“Tell me what you can do for me and how you're going to solve my problems. Show me the value that you're going to deliver to me. And most importantly, what are you going to be delivering in the future? When I can see that there's a good solid roadmap, and that even if there are perhaps, some restrictions on value now, but there's going to be huge value in the future,I'm far more likely to look at that vendor favorably. ”
Barriers to evaluating security solutions:
The pure amount of time that it was taking for her team to respond to all the stuff coming at them held her from looking at solutions.
“Every person who ever has had to work in a security operations center will know that there's a hell of a lot of noise. If you don't have some way of filtering out some of that noise, you’re heading for the loony bin very, very quickly. Because you're going to be stressed out of your mind.”
Differences or anomalies in the New Zealand market that marketers or salespeople or vendors can take advantage of:
New Zealand is still seen as a relatively small market and is a good test bed for things rolling out on the vendor side because they are so far ahead of other time zones.
“If something breaks in New Zealand, they can turn it off and then they've got a bit of time to fix it before they roll it out to the rest of the world, particularly in the U.S.”
Cardinal rules vendors, marketers, or salespeople are breaking these days:
Not truly understanding their customers.
Not researching what the company does, what she does, and what she enjoys. (It’s blatantly listed on her LinkedIn profile.)
They send out mass emails that aren't even relevant to her role.
Quick tips to write a good email that she would open and respond to:
- Context and personalization matters in your subject line and body - include a topic of her interest connected to something new she can learn
- Provide the value and opportunity to learn - for example, invite them to a roundtable discussion or a closed community to talk to peers.
What Jenny hates that vendors do:
When vendors get the check and then ghost her, not providing any support or follow-up to help if issues arise while using their solution.
What Jenny appreciates that vendors do:
When vendors go above and beyond to help her solve a problem.
She inherited technology from a service that she was not fond of and could not wiggle out of. They went out of their way to build a relationship with her, talk to her regularly, meet with her, have honest conversations with her and apologize when they mess up, and help her throughout her career.
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