fireside-chat-chris-larcade

Don’t Let Your Cybersecurity Be The Emperor’s New Clothes

Transcript of the conversation with Chris Larcade I Synergy Advisory I Strategic Advisor

Alyssa Butler
Hello, everyone.

Alyssa Butler
We are here, with another Fireside Chat at Careful Security. Joining us today is Chris located with Synergy advisory.

Alyssa Butler
Hello, Chris, thank you so much for joining us.

Chris Larcade
Hello, Alyssa. Hello, Sammy, thank you for having me.

Alyssa Butler
Well, let’s jump right in. Will you tell us what you do? And also what you’re working on just today? I’m sure. Tuesday

Chris Larcade
Is fine, right?

Chris Larcade
I’m over on the east coast. It’s rainy and gross. So welcome. Hey, nevertheless, it’s good to be with you.

Chris Larcade
Synergy advisory. To sum it up. When most CEOs see growth and sales stagnating, they assume it’s a sales problem, right? It’s a common mistake to make because for most organizations, a sales team is the highest paid group within that organization for the most part, so you’re gonna go there.

Chris Larcade
However, with my 25 plus years running sales organizations for Fortune 100 companies, I can say that, while the sales function may be part of the issue, high functioning sales is a process that can be taught. So I feel that the crux of the problem tends to lie in marketing. And when the sales function does not have a compelling and clearly articulated value proposition, or USP, the job of sales to get a new customer to retain that customer to increase that customers lifespan can be greatly diminished.

Chris Larcade
So what I do is I look to bring my team in and we address those three buckets, we address sales, we addressed marketing, and we address customer retention, we look to help a business scale up if they’re looking to make an exit, or just go to the next level where maybe they’ve been struggling over a period of time.

Sammy Basu
Wow. That’s great, Chris. Yeah, we should probably make this a live coaching from you.

Sammy Basu
We are good with customer retention. But our marketing is all over the place. And we don’t have a defined sales program. And when I mean marketing is all the places like we’re doing so many things. We’re just focusing on all the different services that we offer. And we’re not simplifying it. And we don’t have an elevator pitch. And we work from home. So we don’t use elevators that much.

Chris Larcade
Sure. I think the elevator pitch actually goes back to selling elevators. But that’s a different story.

Chris Larcade
Oh, well, I see behind you. What’s your value prop behind you? What does that say? Well, we help people see their it blinds provide them find their blind spots? Thank you.

Sammy Basu
Yes.

Chris Larcade
So I understand that that’s basically your rough value proposition or your value proposition. So where you may be struggling with a process and look processes can be implemented as part of what we do. But I’m going to challenge you a bit further on your marketing and say: What are you bringing to the market semi that’s unique? What is your unique selling proposition? Because that’s going to help you differentiate you from people in your space.

Chris Larcade
Look, there are many people who work in sales and marketing consulting, I work with my unique value proposition, my unique selling proposition to help synergy stand above the rest. And what I challenge you to think about is what are your two or three unique selling propositions for your firm?

Chris Larcade
Once you build that coming off your value proposition, I would then challenge you a bit further to develop an ideal client profile or an IC P, build those building blocks and then put those within your sales funnel and pipeline, and then you’ll begin to probably move forward a bit.

Sammy Basu
Got it! So since we are doing a live coaching session, and people see your genius at work, maybe Chris can give us some background on your past lives with the studios before -you know- you’ve helped us get out of the water?

Chris Larcade
Sure. Mostly, I’ll give you I’ll give you my very first job before I get you the more interesting jobs.

Chris Larcade
My very first job was working for a volunteer organization where I learned to work a match pair of draft horses and learn how to plow fields as part of like this tourist exhibition. That was my first job, which that eventually parlayed into a job with a major media company.

Chris Larcade
Well keep them off the record for the time being but you can find them out very quickly through my LinkedIn profile, where I worked in developed actually, with three media companies three separate media sales teams, one ending with a one of the major media companies in the world where I develop their political sales, vertical ad sales team and my group handle Old all linear and digital political sales for that organization?

Sammy Basu
Wow, do you have a creative side to us? Well, site

Chris Larcade
For me, no, I don’t have a creative side I am I am a business, I like to think I’m a creative side.

Chris Larcade
I like all good business guys; my background, my background is English literature so I can be creative as needed. I think actually creativity is incredibly important. But I’d actually do not make copy.

Chris Larcade
I have people within my group that will handle email marketing and email scripts and building that entire component of the marketing system and funnel. But unlike I think what a lot of people with sales backgrounds come into are by case revenue backgrounds, they can handle everything. What I learned early on is you put the best person to the best seat. And that’s how you get the job done correctly. So I bring people in to handle the greatest part.

Sammy Basu
Oh, cool, at least personally. So tell us about what is creativity?

Alyssa Butler
What is creativity? Sometimes it’s getting out of your own head. That’s what creativity is. So I’m Chris, would you tell us a valuable lesson or a nugget of wisdom that you’ve learned through your work?

Chris Larcade
Yeah, that’s a great question.

Chris Larcade
I have one that I’ve carried with me. Even from my very, very early days, in advertising, I was a very young leader, I was 26 When I first started my first company, and I’m just 27 now as you can tell.

Chris Larcade
Yeah, just because something has been done a certain way for a long period of time, it does not make it the right way to do it. In fact, it could make it inherently the wrong way to do it.

Chris Larcade
We need to challenge ourselves. I’m a big believer in positivity, I am not a negative sort of person. However, negative experiences drive us forward and help us learn and help us grow. If we keep on doing the same thing again, and again, again, with no resistance that great but what are we missing?

Chris Larcade
So part of my strategy has always been see what’s been going on for a long time. If it works, great, why does it work, and you might need to change it. And don’t be afraid of that change kind of I occasionally come across. I think ELS is a fantastic system. I’m not an implementer. But they have a fantastic saying in that world. It’s like go with a bond. And I believe you need to like go with the bike sometimes

Sammy Basu
You need to work, Chris… What was the term you used??

Chris Larcade
Sorry, let go of the vine, meaning, you know, you need to trust that if you think of the old exercise, we all did it back in the day you lean forward, someone’s gonna catch us that we’re going to move forward, right? Like go with the vine, you have to let go of where you are, to move over to the next spot, grab onto that new vine, you need to let go of the old guy and you’re holding on to.

Sammy Basu
Right. It’s very similar to security, you know, because we are always challenging the status quo. Cause when we go to an IT team, or our dev team, or anybody that common responses, we’ve always done it this way. Which doesn’t make it secure. You may have you know that yeah, we are in the same business of challenging and unfortunately, sometimes people don’t like us for that. But that’s our job.

Chris Larcade
Surely that must be really hard, from your point of view, sometimes. I look at it, changing sales and marketing; and that whole process it can be challenging working within the firm that way. But you’re really getting into areas that I think can be very sensitive. So how do you I’m curious how you manage that? How do you manage people who are afraid of the change?

Chris Larcade
I could sit here and say like, oh, well divine.

Chris Larcade
For you. That’s that’s kind of a scary proposition. How do you handle that?

Sammy Basu
Oh, thank you for putting me on the spot. So I have Elon in the team. Everybody loves Elon. So whenever it’s a tough situation, I put Elon in the front. But in niche, you know, earlier security was looked as some as an impediment. So security is always the team who says no.

Sammy Basu
But now that focus has shifted to where security is becoming a business enabler. So we are not telling business you cannot do that. We are just giving them solutions on where they can do their stuff yet remain secure.

Chris Larcade
Interesting. Okay. I appreciate that positioning. I think you have some good marketing material in there too, as well. But we can talk about that offline.

Sammy Basu
Yeah. Alisa. What’s, what’s your next question?

Alyssa Butler
Well, then, since we’re talking about cybersecurity, Chris, do you have any personal or business cybersecurity concerns

Chris Larcade
Personally for me, you know, it’s what do you see? My, the synergy general client base is between 10 to 65-75. Right? You’re working in the same space.

Chris Larcade
I’m curious setting, what do you see? What is the blind spot that you see, let’s say in a professional service organization that you see my god, I can’t believe this is Mr. They really need to check on that. Because I know enough to know, I know nothing in the space by computer experience goes back to Fortran and Pascal or basic again, quite young.

Chris Larcade
But what do you see? What can I keep an eye out for? And what can I listen for? Sitting when I go into engagement, that should be an alert for me to call Sammy.

Sammy Basu
Right? So we’ll tell, you know, just like, it’s a very simple explanation for this.

Sammy Basu
So I cannot see my own eyelashes.

Chris Larcade
Okay,

Sammy Basu
And IT and internal teams are busy fighting day to day, they’re just kind of so much in the thick of things, that they are missing that external perspective.

Sammy Basu
You know, I was with a friend, and they were like, I give so many good advice to other people, sometimes I should apply that own advice myself. S

Sammy Basu
So that’s what we see. Because we, you know, we just look have a different filter, our job is not to make things constantly work as they should, but our job is to find the unknown.

Sammy Basu
And then once you put that filter on, you always see things that are not right. And I feel like, you know, internal as a person, I was always the type who challenged the status quo, who was you know, in a way, not accepting, I also like, inherently have a sense of justice, like, you know, sometimes people say, vendors would say: “Oh, you buy my solution, and everything will be golden and rainbows” . But, you know, kind of challenging that. We do a fine… What is that called? Like dance and… you know, fine dance, like, we have to be

Chris Larcade
Like a tango, I always picture sometimes a client engagement could be like a tango, very defined, very move, but keep on going, please, I didn’t mean to interrupt.

Sammy Basu
Yeah, we have to, we have to learn how to challenge the status quo without making people upset. You know, like, that’s, that’s the balance.

Sammy Basu
But we have done to share a personal story, we’ve done an assessment for an organization who did an assessment before with another company, and they were like, Pat, on the back, your security is top notch is better than a bank. And then they engaged us. And we created a huge report of everything that they’re missing. And so, you know, we just trained to look that way.

Chris Larcade
I think you and I, we sound as if we approach things from a very similar approach. perspective, right? We challenge the status quo. And as I said earlier, just because it’s been done a certain way doesn’t mean it’s right.

Chris Larcade
I’m going to make an assumption that in your space, that sentence is probably even more true, right? You have to stay on top of it. You need, you need someone like you to come in and your team to come in to really stay ahead of the curve. Because again, my knowledge is small. But everyone, no one’s too small to be broken into hacked and everything else that goes with a debt, everything fall apart. But that overall infrastructure has to maintain I would think relatively state of the art, right?

Sammy Basu
Yeah, absolutely. So our challenge is how do we make change without disrupting business? .

Chris Larcade
i and for me, sometimes I don’t want to disrupt the business, but I do look to disrupt the systems. At the end of the day if they’re bringing the synergy team in, there’s inherently a problem.

Chris Larcade
So like you, I just don’t give them the list of of do I put in a playbook and do this and we’re going to do a couple of variants on email cadence. We’re going to work here and there and it’ll be great. Sometimes you really need to rip it apart. And that can be a process but I don’t know about you, but my approach has always been my job is never to work perpetually with the client. My job is to work myself out of my job, and client in a better in a better situation than when I came in.

Chris Larcade
Our space is perpetually cluttered with a lot of binders on our clients shelves, and I don’t ever want to be a binder. I want to be someone on speed done. And that’s how I approach everything.

Sammy Basu
Was fascinating. Could you share a story without giving out too many details like a kind of before and after story that, you know could be inspiring to someone like us or our viewers?

Chris Larcade
Sure I can there. In a rough case study pulling it pulling out various names throughout. It was a midsize organization with a highly actually you have been great because the their tech stack of their hardware was horrific.

Chris Larcade
They were dysfunctional. They were 20 years in it was a family business. They had way too heavily administrative oversight, they really needed a complete overhaul on their sales and revenue function.

Chris Larcade
Their marketing was horrific, and they had no idea what the customer lifecycle was. And then quite frankly, the business was properly floundering. And the owner wanted to hand off to his daughter in this case, and it was a train wreck.

Chris Larcade
It took about 18 months to turn around. And I actually get choked up a little bit by think about the best thing was towards the end. The gentleman’s daughter. And it was a lot of work. And it was a lot of screaming. But she came to me and she said thank you very much, because I had my dad back. And I really enjoyed hearing that.

Chris Larcade
We still stay in touch, they’re still a coaching client of mine. It started out incredibly acronyms stick between me and the daughter, she was the sales lead, I had to revamp a lot within there, and really work them through bit by bit. But it remains one of my most rewarding functions simply because of that. They had to be completely redone. It was a 50 year old company, basically.

Chris Larcade
But it was when it was done. And going back to I said earlier, they thought it was a sales function.

Chris Larcade
The widget that they sold was a institutional, long term, widget. And the widget just needed to be defined differently. They were defining their value prop, their unique selling propositions from 20 years ago, and it was not translating in today’s marketplace. And they were way off on what their ideal client profile should have been.

Chris Larcade
And once we brought all that together, I got back home. So that that I know that’s pretty vague, but it’s really an emotion, it’s a really close story to my own.

Sammy Basu
That’s awesome. Yeah. Yeah,

Alyssa Butler
Thank you for sharing that. And you kind of brought up something we actually have a question from LinkedIn. And Chris, in the beginning, you were talking about how people think sales CEOs think sales are the problem when actually comes to revenue, stagnation, and maybe marketing, etc.

Alyssa Butler
So Sammy, the question is, what is the decision maker being told when you found a cybersecurity solution? That is usually untrue. So kind of relating to they think it’s one thing but you’re telling them? No, it’s actually this? Do you have an example of that?

Sammy Basu
Well, I feel like anything can be the solution. Right? But what people do that go half way, and then they drop the ball. So if it is simple example, your tool can give you let’s say, multi factor authentication.

Sammy Basu
You secure 199 out of 100 accounts, but you don’t secure one account. That’s the one that hacker uses to exploit the system. So it’s, we focus very much on the capability of the solution, but we don’t focus on the implementation of the solution.

Alyssa Butler
Yeah, it’s not just a quick fix. Yeah.

Sammy Basu
Yeah. I mean, there is no magic fix. It’s hard work is discipline. You know, Chris, is there an analogy like that in sales as well?

Chris Larcade
Yeah, you know, you repeat the question again, in terms of how you how you phrase that listen,

Alyssa Butler
it was basically you sort of and it was what is the decision maker being told when they find a cybersecurity solution that is usually untrue like how you said CEOs think it’s sales but it was really marketing that they need to work on that kind of thing.

Chris Larcade
Yeah, it’s it is Thank you.

Chris Larcade
Generally, it’s if you make more calls we’re going to get more sales that’s almost 101 No if you make more calls with absolutely none of that supporting marketing that’s going in there.

Chris Larcade
Do you understand what your value prop is?

Chris Larcade
Can you communicate the value prop to the market?

Chris Larcade
Do you understand what your ideal client profile is?

Chris Larcade
And do you understand what your unique selling propositions are?

Chris Larcade
You can make 50,000 phone calls and not understanding all that you’re going to be spinning your wheels. However, if you make 1000 phone calls, understanding those elements, there’s going to be traction moving forward.

Alyssa Butler
Yeah, it’s almost…

Chris Larcade
I’m sorry. Listen, it’s not always a numbers game, it’s part of it. BDR work is definitely important part of the process as part of what my team does. But we don’t get to that until we know how we’re going into the market. Thank you.

Alyssa Butler
I was just gonna say a very rudimentary analogy or metaphor for it would be you knock on 100 apartment doors, but you’re selling, you know, a pool. Like they don’t have a backyard so you don’t know your customer. And it’s time. That makes a lot of sense. Well, thank you, Sammy. I don’t know if you have any other questions for Chris.

Sammy Basu
No, I think this conversation kind of sparked something in me, Chris. I was like, Have you heard the story? The emperor has no clothes, the little boy points out. So sometimes that’s our job. And also it’s like a bitter medicine. It has. I think both of us do that. But then at the end you email is good for you.

Chris Larcade
Yeah. 100% And you said Uh, well, I use the emperor has no clothes all the time. Because it’s what we do are it’s very important for what all of us do is that we tell the emperor when they have no clothes on otherwise, you know, what we do has no actual traction and purpose in the law.

Alyssa Butler
Well, thank you so much, Chris. I feel like your background is the perfect theme for this meeting. It’s been you can’t see the forest for the trees. You both Sammy and Chris really point that out. So hopefully people can let go of the vine and trust both of you to do your jobs that you’re experts at.

Alyssa Butler
So thank you so much to both of you for taking the time and have a great rest of your week.

Chris Larcade
Thank you for listening. Thank you Sammy, and thank you Elon as well too.

Alyssa Butler
Thank you Elon, unsung hero. Thank you for watching everyone. Bye bye!