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December 18, 2008

Salesmen are from Mars, Security Geeks are from Venus

men mars So Andy ITGuy picks up the gauntlet and fires back. We have Sam Van Ryder and some other sales folks in the peanut gallery with comments and on and on we go with the sales guys are idiots, security geeks don't know how to get anything approved, so we have to go over their head game.  Fundamentally, the problem is that for the most part neither side realizes or cares enough about what each is trying to accomplish and the pressures involved. 

We could go round and round on this topic forever and vent till the cows come home and it wouldn't change a thing. The basic problem that I see is that the security geek is dealing with trying to secure a network with not enough money, not enough time and not enough people.  He has to fight the battle up hill to justify what he needs. At the same time he is swamped with sales people trying to sell him products that he doesn't think he needs.  When he does find something he needs, he has to do it on the schedule and rhythm that his company is running under.  That may not be for the end of a quarter or the timetable that makes a salesperson happy.

The salesperson on the other hand is dealing with his own reality.  It is make numbers or die.  Those numbers are usually measured in quarters by the way.  Yes, if you had people falling over themselves to buy your product, you would not waste time with someone who says they are not ready yet. I don't know many salespeople who have that luxury though? They deal with people who view them as an enemy, don't know how to sell themselves and their agendas to their superiors and don't have a lot of respect for them.

So what is the answer.  Are salespeople and security geeks destined to perpetually butt heads?  What does it take to make them mutually successful?  Good questions.  I think a healthy dose of respect for what each party had to deal with is a good start.  Try putting yourself in the others shoes to better understand what is involved.  Comm0n courtesy and respect would be a good place to start. 

Alas, there is a lot of bad water under this bridge and I think it takes some serious work on both sides to get by it all. However, the most successful folks I have seen on both sides of this are the ones who are able to bridge the gap and do what is best for all concerned.

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