B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

69: How to Stand Out in a Crowded Market w/ Lewis Henderson


CISOs are bombarded with companies all making the same promise: 100% protection. How about technology companies took an honest tack for a change?

Being straightforward about your abilities — and eschewing impossible absolutes — will help you instantly cut through all the clamor.

On this episode, I interview Lewis Henderson, VP of Product Marketing at Glasswall, about standing out in a crowded market. 

What we talked about:

  • Creating your own category (content disarm reconstruction)
  • Identifying invasive spear phishing
  • Using storytelling to promote your customers’ successes
  • Transparency and humanity are more important than absolute language

Check out this resource we mentioned during the podcast:

If you’re wondering why Operatix, we’d love to tell you. Check out our lead generation team here.

To hear this interview, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

You're listening to be tob revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executives stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let to get into the show. Hi, welcome to the BTB Revenue Acceleration podcast. My name is dancyber. Can come here today with Lewis Henderson, BP of threat intelligence at glass or. Lewis, how are you today? Are Good. Thanks for having me. Good, thanks for coming on. I will be on horrendously rainy and Wendy Day outside in UK. So today we'll be talking about how to stand out in a crowded market. But before we go into that conversation, that's can you please introduce self to our audience and tell us more about yourself and the company you represent, which is, of course, gloss all. Yeah, sure, I think one of the first things is what is a VP of threat intelligence and and what does that roll sort of entail and go on. Said, you know who we are as a company. So my role in threat intelligence a technology company is slightly different from the people that we actually sell to. So someone that's typical customer of ours would be very interested in their own ecosystem in terms of cyber threats looking to analyze those. Threat Intelligence, when you're a technology company, is actually getting that Fiftyzero foot view across all of your cuss customers, you know, looking at events that are happening across the industry, you know, cyber threats, cyber risk friends, and consolidating all of that into something that your customers can both understand and then action on as well. So I have a quite a proven is roll really, because I have access to a lot of our customer data. But it's how I use that data and translate it into something that that's really usable for them and, in addition to that, helping our customers and future prospects understand our product value. So Threat Intelligence, you know, I'm a geek by nature and quite nerdy, so I love it and I love all the data and I like talking about sort of fight cyber threats and big evangelist about that. But the roles quite critical because, you know, yes, I'll technology actually does something, but you know, the threat intelligence role helps me communicate to the market, communicate a sort of future customers. So glass will as a company. So are UK based cybersecurity company and over the last sort of fifteen years or so we've been developing a technology that's fairly, fairly unique and sort of fairly stand out and as a company we've just emerged from about five years or so from work deep within intelligence services across the globe. So put on that the UK and US and our technology. Doesn't it clearly fairly simple, fairly elegance, which is instead of trying to identify, now we're and sand box types of technologies. are identify the bad stuff. I'll fold you know, I'll technology just revolves around file and document security. So very, very simply we take a file, we take it apart and we rebuild a new, safe, clean version of that original file in under a second and then get that onto a user. So use case for that is that we have that technology concept into an email security platforms, as a SASS offering, as a cloud offering and some other use cases, especially within intelligence services, take that concept and apply in environments where you may wish to secure a highly sensitive network of users and protect them in a protective bubble from from the Internet. So for example, so we feel this the technology is fairly simple and fairly elegant, but clearly there's lot of science behind it. So one of the tricks in how we talk about it is is how do we make this simple and, you know, and human readable as possible, saves the language you use. Okay, interesting. Thanks for that. And of course, throughout your career you have mainly worked within the security space, which you mentioned. Glass will be a disruptive solution between know it's very crowded. There's lots of new exciting vendors and technology coming to market all the time. Whether it's highly back to US companies, UK companies, is rarely venders. Obviously there's a look come from different angles. From your experience throughout your career in the industry industry, what is a secret or what's important for vendors to do to make it through such crowded market and ultimate differentiate yourself?...

Yeah, I'd like to say I had the secret. I can probably just say this is this is our experience and this is kind of how we've gone about it. So I've been with glass war for about just over five years, but I've actually been in Cybersecurity for about twenty years and I think over the time, you know, the language that cyber security technologies of used used to be one of absolutes so it's interesting to still see that being used today and I think that's something that, you know, should be encouraged to be faced is that when I say absolute, I mean, you know, claims of a hundred percent protection, you know, for all vectors, all manner of different threats. It's just it's just not the case. And I actually my personal story, you know, prior to Glass Wall is, I actually got out of the cybersecurity industry because after fifteen, fifteen years or so at that point, I became quite disillusion because I, you know, I was working for technology companies that couldn't actually deliver on the marketing promise. So for me, you know, exit in the industry was, you know, I di didn't feel great about it, but also felt better because I wasn't basically, you know, taking technologies I didn't have total faith in, and that faith stemmed from the messaging, you know, that it was. It was taking something to market that you were really emphasized to say it worked to the tune of a hundred percent or it gave absolute protection. So certainly I wouldn't necessarily say it's a secret, but I think the recipe of how we've been successful, you know, in the intelligence services, definitely, but certainly with our customers within the legal sector. Is just approached them very, very differently and be the upfront and be honest. You know, our technology only does file and document security. We don't do anything else. And I think just being really up front and really really clear with your messaging, you know, a certainly helped us over sort of last last last few years, and it helps in that initial piece because it helps you focus and makes the messaging quite simple, but it also, you know, that then carries all the way through to the customer experience, you know, to just just so that everyone understand exactly what page you are on in the value you have to add as well. So to being really really clear, really really simple and just being completely honest about, you know, the claims around your products. That's work for us. So, you know, like I said, it probably isn't isn't a secret, it's just a formula and it seems to really work for us over the last few years. Yeah, and we're talking before this as well, and I think one of the other things that you mentioned was around actually how you've been creating a lot of noise through your debty and blogging as well so obviously that's another I guess, channel if you like, or tactic that can help you differentiate in a non traditional marketing way path. Yeah, definitely, it's I think. So we've been really fortunate have a guy called dynnists crews join us. So he's a he's our see so on, our VP of engineering. But what he's brought is this really disruptive force for good in terms of lifting the lid on the team of really, really talented people. And you know, this is this is not sales, this is not marketing, this is just allowing a team of individuals who really, really talented and know the stuff to just talk and share ideas safely in the public domain. And previously, and it's a bit unusual for a technology company, and certainly for us, we're sat on, you know, our own intellectual property and patterns and and you know, over the years you get protective over that stuff. So that's that's that's okay, but you shouldn't have to you know, lift, you know, put a lid on the entire company and it's really important to start to let people actually talk. So, you know, for me person the I'm going also going on my own journey in terms of openness and transparency. So I'll be talking about a whole bunch of stuff that isn't really related to our core messaging. Good example of that is I'm actually again being a bit bit of a nerd. I actually quite like crafting powerpoint you know. So I'm going to be writing a blog about how I created a powerpoint deck out of our corporate color scheme and how I make it easy for users to be able to just, you know, right click on a layout without them having to construct something all themselves. And that's nothing to do...

...with our core technology and it's just trying to bring out this this human side of the business. But there's this really, really other positive side of doing this is that once you get a team of people being a bit more transparent and open and sharing and blogging, and that's really important, is that suddenly, you know, they out they also get their peers out there. You know, what you're doing is really exciting, you know, certainly from our perspective, we think it's really exciting, and that excitement also attracts talent, but also attracts ideas and advice and guidance from people that are just there to help you and for no other reason for that as well. So it's really interesting to watch US kind of go through this process of being really, really closed working with intelligence services, to being now really really open about our methodology without, you know, corrupting or doing anything, you know, to, you know, take away from our intellectual property. So so yeah, I think you know, openness, transparency, you know, certainly for us as a company, and we haven't been doing this very long, you know, admitted. These are all we're all going through learning care from on sort of how to do it. But but no, it's going to work for us and it's just really exciting to see us do that as well. Interesting, and you mentioned that your products. Being developer, thinks something like fifteen years. So clearly, over those years, though, there will have been new categories created, new buckets of competitors that you may have been put up against over those years, even when perhaps not not having product that's released in the market. But what we hear is at a lot of markets say that you should create a new crack category as a startup or as a disruptive technology so you don't actually have competitives. If that is a strategy that the company chooses to follow, do you think the full product should be an updated or adapted to create a new market, or do you think it's a check case of actually just shifting the messaging and shifting how you market and and you'll go to mark. Yes, the interesting points I seek. I think for us we created a technology that has created a market segment. So I think if we say, look, cyber security is actually a massive market. I mean this is now, you know, gone beyond the multi billions and it's heading towards, you know, trillion dollar market certainly, certainly in a few years. So whilst we wouldn't say, you know, we created a market, we certainly we certainly entered a market segment. And it's really interesting actually because Gartner kind of beat us to it a little bit. So back in I think two thousand and fifteen, we started a relationship with gardener and the way our technology works is fundamentally very different really any other cyber security technology. So we're not going to get into server technicalities and fundamentals today, but the way that we described our technology to gardener meant that we didn't fit inside any box or any quadrant for that matter. It was just something a completely new concept of them. So, you know, that was two thousand and fifteen we started relationship with them and then about two thousand and sixteen, they came up with this really elegant phrase and description that perfectly, you know, described us as a technology. So for us, as a bunch of geeks basically just, you know, developing this technology and trying to get this technology in front of people, they did a much better job than we could have ever done and came out with this phrase of called content, disarm reconstruction, or CDR, to use the acronym, and it has a whole paragraph, you know, describing it and it's really neat and this really elegant. So in a way our technology created this this market segment called CDR, which was actually quite interesting. So we almost we didn't go out and purposely do that. What we've done since is actually certainly that. One of the methods that I've tried to do is, you see, many, many cyber threats have their own category and I think probably the one that's all the two that are probably most famous a ransomware and, in particular, fishing, and I think these become so mainstream that, you know, generally, an almost other general public actually know what these are. You know tax are happening. So often people understand that fishing is someone, you know, trying to reach them, typically through email, and even that evolved over time. So, you know, fishing is one thing that the general public can understand, but when you start to talk the slight and more technical audience that we have, cybersecurity people, that fishing...

...category in its own right evolved into something called spear fishing and that, you know, the general definition of spear fishing is is, you know, an attack on a company where they're trying to get the users to click on links, open email attachments, kind of do all that that sort of standard sort of fishing stuff. But this was very much from an attacker to it to a single organization, and what I saw was an opportunity for us to create another extension of that as well. So again, my in my rollers as VP of threat intelligence, like I said, I get to see all our customer data, I get to see all these trends and one of them I noticed. And then this is also really interesting, a good case of looking at all your customer data and trying to use it as a positive, you know, out in the marketplace. So what I saw in amongst all our data, which is based on malicious email attachments, it's a seventy percent of them represented a completely unique event and this was unlike a lot of other types of cyber attacks that I'd seen. So, you know, for example, I think a good example of the the want to cry ransomware on our NHS in the UK. You know, that was a global event. That was one hacking group that managed to disrupt, you know, a lot of machines across the Internet and almost what I was seeing in our data was almost like the complete opposite of that. You know, these were malicious email attachments coming from a single email address, you know, going to a single recipient with a completely unique email attachment. When I say unique, I mean the data set was twenty five million email attachments. So you're talking about a one in twenty five million incident. And like, as from a customers perspective, which I always try and put myself in their shoes, like how on earth are you going to protect yourself against that? But how are you going to spot it? But as from my perspective, like how am I going to define this? So, you know, taking that extension of a fishing which which you know, morphed into spear fishing. Actually came up with a new threat category called invasive spear fishing, and it was the only way that I could elegantly describe what was happening, you know, around all these unique events, and it's really interesting from our perspective. So, you know, if base of spear fishing and what it's done for us and coming up at this new category meant that, you know, the press and the media were interested and start to write about it because it was something new, something they hadn't heard of and they wanted it explaining to them. And I think that's really interesting. From a market hear sort of perspective, is that, you know, yes, go and spend time with the Geeks, you know in your company, sit and talk to them about what's really going on and and what they find interesting, because the likelihood is that your audience is potentially will also find that interesting as well, because you know who is your audience? Ours is certainly, you know, cyber security people, and if I found this interesting, they probably would too. So yeah, definitely, from a from a sort of marketing and sort of messaging perspective, you know, take time to go and speak to your developers, you know, take time to get someone to look at your day to and see how you can translate it. And something really interesting happen when I started to write about evasive spear fishing in the public domain. Because, you know, I've written this, this this mini white paper, this bulletin. It has, you know, had stats and it had some very basic infographics because, again, I'll marketing isn't that sophisticated, let's face it. And what started to happen is that other people were taking this and translating it into their language, their design language. So good example, US, company that were actually pretty good friends with now took what I'd written and created infographics, but infographics in their own branding, you know, in their own iconography, in a what sort of really interesting stuff, you know, referencing us as a company. But they really wanted to use this material and marks their customers as well. And in addition to that, you know that we also saw, you know, the press pick up on it and you know, I like to say that, you know, we all, you know, like to have a bit of a legacy, you know, if you spend long enough time in the industry. So for me, one of my legacies that I can sort of leave behind almost. Is this this new threat category that we we created as this small UK company that...

...seemed to get sort of picked up and get people talking? So so, yeah, I think, you know, there's a couple of things out of it. Yes, you know, create a category that's an extensions, is something that people can associate with an already understand. Certainly build on that. You know, spend time going through, you know, areas of the business that you may not already talk to people. So start talking to people in the corridor if you work for a big company. You know in a smaller company, just just start asking people they find interesting. You just never know what you may find. And and it's by these sort of almost like these happy accidents of just me one day looking through our data and noticing this sort of trend that that led to this category sort of being created. So yeah, I would I would like to sit here and say it was all genius and it was all planned, but it really wasn't so good. So yeah, no, it's it's work for us and said it's something a little bit different, interesting and obviously you've shared your example there around how you in a niche market created in more niche category if you look at the kind of broader cybersecurity landscape and potentially even outside cybersecurity. But from a tech if we look at the technology industry from a marketing perspective, what are the key trends that you're seeing? Whether that's something that you're applying yourself, something that you really respect another company or part of the industry for doing, what what some of the trends that you're typically seeing? Amm What I mentioned a keyword earlier, and I think that's that sort of transparency and with that comes this this honesty and it's really refreshing and I think, if you so, are audience generally really well educated. And, let's face it, their salaries range between four hundred thousand and five billion right. These are these are, you know, chief information security officers in some pretty big companies, but also some m t it directors in some knots of big companies. So and I think they're they're just completely saturated with so many messages of what I was referred to earlier as these absolutes. You know, this is promises of a hundred percent protection. You know, from soybersecurity perspective, that just complete neatly fatigued by all of this. And also there's this very, very robotic sides of all these companies that are just pumping out the same messages and it's very, very confusing. So if you think of the audience from a from a cyber security perspective, is actually very difficult to distinguish a hundred companies that are all saying the same thing. But if you look at the company WHO's actually talking publicly and openly about their methodology in terms of development, you tend to get slightly more human side of the business. So for us it's really working to get our development team all writing their own blogs and getting that out publicly, because it starts to create something more than just the technology, and I'm not talking all these abstract things are ground sort of brand. It's just, you know, we're powered by a bunch of human beings. There isn't some autonomous sort of robot in the background. And and yeah, and I think you know people do genuinely buy from people and just being open and transparent and on this is it certainly got that shift towards us, you know, as a small company that you know shift towards that sort of slightly more human element, and this is, as I said, without compromising any of our intellectual property. You know, what we're talking about publicly is just here's what we're doing his how we build really robust clown services. And then, like I said, you know, I'm blogging about powerpoint. It's got nothing to do with with, you know, our technology, but you know, in the hope that if I talk about this, you know, our own people, our own employees, are going to actually use what I created and in decisions that someone might be sold though. These are these guys are actually like quite cool. They don't really talk about, you know, complete nerdy cybergeek stuff all the time and and that's that's coming through in all these sort of blogs again, you know, just going and doing something a bit off the wall, like, you know, for example, recently we posted a linkedin picture of myself from one of our marketing guys with a banana stuck to the wall, you know, as a way to do something different and as a way to do something, you know, a bit away from the boring, stuffy stuff that we you...

...know that we probably sort of pushed out recently a probably for reference that that banana starts the wall was the artwork that sold for a hundred twenty thousand dollars. But interestingly, you know, I took a picture. There was a picture of me at an award ceremony where we won a few it awards, and I just, on the spare of the moment, decided to just pull a pose that I wanted to, not just one that the shareholders would be interested in, which is me to this stupid high kick, and I was really excited and happy in the moment. So I had that picture, but or so I wrote a blog about. Why did this award actually means so much in that moment, and it was really because we put so much hard work and effort into the years that sort preceded it felt like a really cool moment and that was me sort of celebrating on behalf of the company because I know that everyone in the company's really excited, and I did think twice about putting it on social media, but actually got over and I think that likely five thousand views and a whole bunch of like people just saying this is great, this is like such a such a cool picture, and it's the similar one with the one that we taped the banana on to the wall. You know, it's just this crazy moment and we just thought, you know, let's just do this. And the point that of that we're recording this today, you know, we did it yesterday and it's about two and a half thousand views already and like really positive views and comments and you know, people just like seeing that, that human side and, like I said, it's you don't have to do it in every post. You know, there is a serious site of what we do. You know we have some extremely serious sort of customers, but I think you know, when you go out, you know publicly commercially, you're allowed. You're allowed to kind of have a have a human being actually sort of represent the company. And Yeah, that is just like I said, that's that's working really well and, you know, above everything else, is actually been a bit of fun. So I you know that that that's really important a well and that shines through. So the people that have been seeing US actually having a bit of fun and being a bit off the wall really responding positively to it as well. Absolutely, and and I guess a last question or point, if you like, from me would be making marketing fund making a bit of a noise, doing things slightly differently from your traditional marketing. I think in particular, sybersecurity space becoming ever more important. Talking to a lot of our clients are in the space, they find it difficult more and more these days to get public references, public case studies that you can talk about, which, of course, would, I believe, would make someone in your position, it would make your life more difficult at least to get them right. The name out there from a glass will technology perspective. So in just case getting the name of glass. Well, they're exactly and one of the so, for example, our customers are to call them sort of risk a versus an understatement. So we have to think along the lines of critical national infrastructure, like, you know, electricity companies, some of the world's you know leading law firms, you know family funds. I mean you know what's at stake behind our technology is massive. But of course, you know, with a risk averse type of customer you will never be allowed to mention them by name publicly. We reach some of our customers through partners. So yes, we can mention them and and we do that. That sort of no problem. So the way I found myself, you know, I've found myself go a bit frustrated because, you know, we've got one case study and it's a really good case study with a global technology company brand, but I can't write anymore and it's been this really sort of frustrating thing. So what I've what I've basically been doing in the background, and we will be publishing these as to the point of this recording. There not out yet, but they're what I call Customer Success Stories and I've written them in such a way that each one is no more than two paragraphs, but each paragraph in paragraph one is about presenting the problem, you know, the scenario, and laying it up, and then paragraph to is about how we helped our customers overcome that problem and then getting creative with a title. So one of them is, you know, how do we keep the lights on in Canada? Is a really cool story about how we stop ransomware reaching one of our customers while simultaneously another organization of a similar, similar level actually got hit with ransomware. So it's nice to always have that here's how we helped our customer and that duality of is what happens.

You know, if you you know, you know what happens when you when you don't have this particular technology. It was good to have that example. But I think what's really, really important is writing these in really plain English and which is something that I struggle with. So again, might being a bit eeeky, I can get a bit overly technical, te you know, technical and lose people. So my measure and the way that I do that is sometimes I open source these stories and I let a whole bunch of people read them before I get before I post them publicly, and in doing so with a range of people who were nontechnical, that certainly helps me, you know, makes me better at writing, makes me better at you know, how do I how do I kind of unpick something that's actually pretty complicated and talk about it in plain English, and I think a proof of that was our PR team and our Pur Company, their copyright, you know, read through these I've got for that that I've sort of crafted in the background, and he came back actually making sort of pretty minor changes but interestingly said these are really cool, you know, and that's that's the exact response I wanted to try and get. So you know, if you are constrained in this in this way, and you may not have a bunch of customers that you can either talk about. You may not ai even have a bunch of customers. They're probably is some really, really interesting stuff that you could sort of still write about that. But again, you know, the writing style has to be really, really sort of plain English and and I've found ways that if I can, if I can share and be open with the stories with a bunch of people before they go public, really helps get your point across about you know what you're trying to do originally. Okay, excellent, cool, all right. Well, I think we're approaching the end of our conversation today, so I really appreciate the insights and appreciate your time. Yes, the last sort of finishing point from your side is if anyone wants to connect with you to learn more about glass wool or continue this conversation or indeed open up another conversation, would be the best way for them to get in touch with you and the come. Yeah, we're part from searching up. You know, Bernarda takes a wall picture, you know that sort of stuff. So linkedin really good. I'm on Linkedin Louise Henderson on the glass wall should be sort of fairly, fairly sort of searchable and obviously throughout our website, glaspel Solutionscom. So there's a whole bunch of people you can sort of reach out through that, but linkedins. It's really goods really easy and I on that publicly. Okay, fantastic. Well, once again, appreciate your time. Louis has been great at me on the show, so thanks for having me. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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