The Editor’s Notebook: Privacy and Data Security, Retraining Sales Teams

Data Security Becoming Increasingly Important for Consumers
With data breaches becoming increasingly common, consumers are realizing that their personal information is at the mercy of the organizations they’re doing business with—resulting in changing attitudes around security.

More than one-third of Canadian consumers have experienced the consequences of a security breach of hack, according to research conducted by PCI Pal, a company that provides secure payments to contact centers. Recent high-profile breaches, media coverage of data privacy regulations and Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, plus personal experience have made security a top concern for Canadians.

“A majority of consumers (are) now reporting a company’s security practices directly influence their spending habits,” said James Barham, PCI Pal’s CEO.

The research found that most consumers (78%) will stop sending with a business after a data breach, and more than half (58%) said they would avoid a company that’s been hacked for several months—if they return at all. Simply perceiving that a company has insufficient security practices affects consumers’ trust and spending habits.

So, what will make consumers feel more comfortable? Survey respondents said they would feel better about data security if

  • Companies undergo regular security audits
  • Sensitive personal information was not required for every transaction
  • Businesses were federally mandated by stricter regulation to protect their data

“Given the increase in data breaches, it’s unsurprising that consumers are increasingly paying attention to the data security practices of companies they buy from,” Barham said. “Our research found that 61% believe it is important to vet a company’s security processes before giving their information, and 24% will go so far as to ask a company directly about their security practices. As these concerns become top of mind for consumers, it will be wise for businesses to adopt and promote stronger security practices, or risk losing customer loyalty.”

If you’re interested in testing the strength of your company’s or your products’ security measures, you might want to adopt the NIHITO line of thinking and look outside for help.

More than one-third of security professionals’ defensive blue teams fail to catch offensive red team attacks, according to a study from cybersecurity company Exabeam. In fact, the survey found that 68% of companies find red-team exercises more effective than blue-team testing, and more companies are practicing red over blue.

Red teams are internal or hired external security professionals that emulate cybercriminals’ behaviors and tactics and gauge the effectiveness of a company’s current security technology. Blue teams are internal security personnel who are tasked with stopping the simulated attacks. In these test scenarios, blue teams must react without preparation to give the company the most realistic picture of its defensive capabilities.

“Adversaries’ offensive tactics evolve more rapidly than the majority of security technologies on the market today,” said Stephen Moore, chief security strategist at Exabeam. “It’s abundantly clear that regular and relevant red/blue team testing helps companies develop their security capabilities.”

Where do security and privacy fall in your list of considerations as you develop, plan and launch your company’s products and services?

5 Trends for Retraining Sales Teams to Hit Goals
It’s no surprise that salespeople who are well trained and equipped to sell are the ones who outperform their peers. That’s why six in 10 companies have said they’re planning to significantly increase their learning and development (L&D) spending in the next three years.

What’s odd, though, is that only 23% of companies consider their current sales training programs to be effective.

“It seems like a paradox that the majority of organizations surveyed are increasing their investment in L&D yet are largely disappointed by the effectiveness of their sales training programs,” said Gary Greenberger, vice president of global sales at Qstream, makers of enterprise-grade mobile microlearning software.

Citing research released by the Sales Management Association (SMA), Greenberger said sales management, training and enablement leaders need to adapt sales L&D initiatives and technology so it’s collaborative, continuous and customized.

“This is a critical business imperative since the SMA’s data showed organizations with effective sales training initiatives reap a 32% sales performance advantage versus organizations with less effective programs,” he said.

To that end, 92% expect changes in the next three years focusing on strategy, structure and the ways salespeople create value. Bob Kelly, chairman of the SMA, said the association’s research identified five specific areas of focus correlated with high levels of improved training effectiveness and higher sales performance.

  1. Customized training: Companies implementing customized training have overall sales training effectiveness ratings 40% higher than their peers and 32% higher firm sales-objective achievement
  2. Continuous delivery of L&D content: Companies that emphasize continuous delivery of training and development vs. one-off trainings outperform other firms, with 21% greater sales-objective achievement and 35% more effective sales training overall
  3. Collaboratively defined learning objectives: Firms that develop training objectives through manager and salesperson collaboration outperform other firms, with sales-objective achievement being 16% higher
  4. Managers capable of skill-gap diagnosis: The 25% of firms with managers who can diagnose salesperson skills gaps outperform other firms by 11% in annual sales-objective achievement
  5. Training outcomes focused on salesforce adaptability: Salesforces that can adapt to new ways of delivering customer value outperform other companies’ teams by 32%

Related to training outcomes, the research also found that sales people who are capable of quickly changing roles see a 30% sales performance advantage; those who can implement new sales messaging quickly see a 25% advantage; and those with sales training that’s agile enough to accommodate changing conditions see a 16% advantage.

All of this indicates how important solid training and development opportunities are when you’re thinking about how to improve overall sales performance.

Andrea Ozias

Andrea Ozias

Andrea Ozias is editor of The Pragmatic. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


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