By Mara Willemin. August 6th, 2021.
At high-growth software companies, we're all becoming hyper focused on how to unlock value for our customers quickly by making product adoption easy. Yet traditionally, we've built our sales motions and processes around the actions we're taking on the seller's side to qualify the buyer.
Whether you're measuring a buyer's interest and engagement through marketing qualified interest (MQL), sales engagement (SAL), or product based utilization (PQL), these benchmarks still miss a critical step in the buyer journey - determining whether or not they can even trust you.
For companies selling to the Enterprise, no matter how much buyers may love your product, they need to know that you can pass their formal security processes in order to work with you. Yet today, establishing trust and security is the last thing we usually address in lengthy, seller-focused sales cycles - and create tension for companies scaling with true product-led growth strategies.
Let's face it, it's easy to understand why.
Traditional security reviews are messy, outdated, and complex, and they require time and resources of your team's top technical minds. So, it makes sense that in a seller-based sales model, we've "reserved" this process for companies that have passed our budget, authority, use case, and timing requirements.
But, if trusting you is the first (and only) thing that determines whether a company can work with you, isn't your traditional pipeline entirely unpredictable up until you pass InfoSec? Not to mention a pain and potential waste of time for the buyer. It's time to flip the sales funnel entirely...
What if the key to product adoption was to deeply understand the buyer's requirements and start leading with trust by establishing InfoSec alignment first?
This requires a true trust-led growth approach.
Trust-led growth prioritizes the buyer's requirements and creates a pathway to customer acquisition based on what they need to actually work with you—trust.
With trust top of mind, we can shape our products, sales cycles, and pipelines to truly reflect the buyer's experience. Here are three ways to start filling your pipeline with trust-qualified leads:
1. Lead with trust early and often in the sales cycle
It's not in anyone's interest to go through a full sales cycle only to get to the end and realize your trust requirements aren't fully aligned. Especially for experienced buyers at large companies, they're looking to quickly understand whether they can get you approved as a vendor. So, if your team has confidence that you can meet the needs of the buyer, why not introduce the conversation sooner rather than later? Introducing your Trust Center to prospects as early as the first conversation - and building processes to include necessary information in key follow-ups - not only helps the buyer, but helps you get out ahead of the competition by talking about what really matters. Not to mention, leading with trust is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to building it alongside them as a customer.
2. Create a Trust Center to host all security, privacy and trust information
So, what exactly is a trust center? It's a single hub for easily communicating trust information amongst all key stakeholders in the sales cycle - internal and external. An effective trust center enables customers to easily access the most up-to-date trust information about your company. Sometimes, this can be enough to create confidence for a buyer without needing a full review.
If still needed, completing security reviews directly within your trust center not only enables the customer to get the information they need quickly, accurately and securely, but saves your technical team the time and energy on repetitive reviews. In other words, it replaces old, outdated approaches to establishing trust and enables security alignment to become a cornerstone of a buyer's evaluation. It's a win-win for everyone. (Pro tip: for how to do this, claim your trust center here.)
3. Allow companies to complete security reviews before ever talking to a sales rep
A big reason we've traditionally held off from engaging in reviews until late in the sales cycle is to protect the time and energy of our technical team. But what if customers could easily complete their reviews within your trust center without talking to a sales rep? Our sales pipeline would become filled with true trust qualified leads - leads who have already begun the security evaluation process and are gaining confidence in their ability to work with you. Talk about a competitive advantage!
This means we've built a pipeline that can now be considered predictable revenue that has a greater chance of actualizing quickly. More importantly, our buyers feel confident in seriously engaging quickly with our products - because they know they can.
At Trustpage, we believe in a world where companies engage and interact around what matters most, and we know that by building a foundation of trust, we can start to create customer acquisition experiences that are truly buyer-driven through trust-led growth.
Mara Willemin is the Head of Growth at Trustpage. After work, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her dog, or learning videography. She lives in Denver.