Re-positioning a Cyber Security Company for Growth and Acquisition

When I met Carl Banzhof and Billy Austin, the co-founders of iScan Online, they had an innovative cyber security product and hundreds of paying customers. The company had been heralded two years previously as an innovator by SC Magazine and CIO Review. Their technology was patented. It seemed like the business had everything going for it.

Hitting a Growth Plateau

But their ambitious plans for growth had hit a plateau. Their products were being sidelined into a commodity category that was mainly purchased by small businesses. They had recurring revenue, but it was hard won and at low margins. They had recently hired a sales team to sell to enterprises in order to “scale up”, but the experienced sales team was having trouble getting a foothold.

Fuel Growth Group was brought in to align their sales and marketing with their technology innovation, and to help the team scale.

The Value of Positioning

Often companies focus on the tactics of selling their products. Marketers are busy generating leads with emails, webcasts, and Google ads. The sales team is calling their existing contacts armed with brochures and a demo.

Who is the Best Customer and How do You Make Them Successful?

What is missing is finding the highest value “who” and “why.” “Who” has the biggest problem that you can solve and the budget to purchase your solution? “Why” should they buy your solution, and why should they buy it from you? In short, how will your solution make your customer successful?

We started by re-positioning the company.

Achieving Your Highest Value

The philosophy at Fuel Growth Group is that you should always be positioning a company or product at its highest value. That means finding the value in the technology instead of dropping the price. Obviously a race to the bottom on pricing is not the best way to grow a business or the bottom line.

Finding Meaningful Differentiation

iScan’s algorithm discovered the risk in a device and equated it to a dollar liability – what became “the Security Number” in our messaging. This was not of value to the small business owners, but Billy had been finding it piqued the interest of some types of customers.

Applying the Pain & Money Framework

To uncover who iScan’s best prospect really was, my team and I went through a short discovery process. We applied my Pain & Money Framework(tm) to help bring to light the best customers. We held one-on-one interviews, reviewed analyst research and attended local conferences. We were looking for the highest level of buyer that would have a business application for the technology, and the budget to buy it.

When Unique Value Intersects an Important Market Trend

Our discovery revealed that Chief Information Security Officers in enterprises were being faced with a new challenge – high profile security breaches were making headlines, and hitting bottom lines. The Boards of their companies were demanding to know how at-risk the company was. At the same time, business line owners were not reinforcing the need for employees to implement the cyber security prevention measures the security team was asking them to do.

A Perfect Cyber Storm

The Chief Information Security Officer was sitting at the intersection of the new demands for Board oversight, the need for business unit owners to be actively engaged in security, and resource constraints of the security team.

A Category from Another Industry

iScan was in the process of combining their three products, which also had a dashboard component. The natural extension of this development work in process was to create a “platform”. But how to describe the platform?

Data Breach Risk Intelligence

The category of “Intelligence” is used in many industries to describe executive analytics dashboards that translate data into actionable information. Putting a meaningful, relatable name on a product can often improve success. We created our new-but-relatable category: “Data Breach Risk Intelligence.”


iScan’s top line pitch became:

“Data Breach Risk Intelligence: Security matters when it’s connected to business results. Prioritize data breach risk in the language of the C-suite, dollars.”

Positioned as a Platform for a Large, Budget-Owning Audience

Collaborating with Carl, Billy and their leadership team, we re-positioned iScan from targeting small business owners with several low margin commodity products to targeting the CISOs of medium to large enterprises with a unique Risk Intelligence platform.

Fuel Growth Group also provided the tools to jumpstart the sales and marketing teams’ efforts to this new market. This included revamping the website messaging and flow, a sales presentation, partner materials, infographics and preparing a cornerstone benchmarking report for CISOs.

Acquired within Six Months

Shortly after iScan was repositioned, SolarWinds, a large IT managed software company with the power to scale the technology, acquired the company. “Risk Intelligence” is now a new category in their LogicNow portfolio.

“Jean helped us reposition our security product into a risk intelligence platform. It definitely worked well — we were acquired within six months.” Carl Banzhof, CEO of iScan Online