Catie Farrow Neuwirth

In the past year, innovative organizations began to truly embrace the concept of customer trust as a critical element of business success. Customer trust — a buyer’s lasting feeling of confidence in a seller’s security capabilities — is an intentional, company-wide approach, led by Security and GRC teams, that acknowledges the role of cybersecurity as a revenue enabler.

In our 2022 SafeBase Year in Review, we were delighted to reflect on the significant strides our customers have made to become more transparent and proactive with regards to their security postures.

In pursuit of supporting business growth, they’ve invested in the visibility of their security postures, collectively racking up hundreds of thousands of views to their Trust Centers.

They’ve also reduced barriers to buyer access of sensitive documentation, enabling the signing of thousands of in-line NDAs and the download of tens of thousands of access-controlled documents.

Enabling Customer Trust in 2023

As we look forward to 2023, we know the biggest strides are yet to come. Our most progressive customers will take pains to smooth the security review process for all those involved, creating — dare we say! — delightful buyer/customer experiences that contribute to long-lasting customer trust.

If you are a Security and GRC leader looking to take initial steps toward lasting customer trust, or hoping to capitalize on the momentum of 2022 to further enhance your programs, we’ve curated a list of commitments to help you on your journey.

5 Commitments to Increase Customer Trust in 2023

1. Shift your communication mindset from reactive to proactive.

A central tenet of trust in any relationship is proactive communication. This year, demonstrate your commitment to your customers by finding ways to proactively share updates, including alerting customers to the freshest security documentation or preemptively sharing responses and reactions to potential risks and breaches. For instance: We saw dozens of companies sharing TCUs outlining their response to Log4j and Spring4Shell, even just to say they weren’t impacted.

SafeBase customers can leverage their Trust Center Updates to send communications to subscriber lists and begin building goodwill right away.

📍Commitment 1: Send out at least one proactive communication to critical stakeholders in Q1 of 2023.

2. Close priority gaps inhibiting your security review processes.

For most of us, creating a truly frictionless security review process is still a moonshot away. But we can all make progress on our rockets — and greatly improve customer trust — by identifying and removing some of the barriers that frustrate buyers/customers and internal teams alike. Work with your sales leaders to map the security review process and identify the key places where back-and-forth cycles originate, where communication is most likely to break down, and where control over the process is most often lost. Choose 2-3 of these gaps and develop a game plan to close them.

For SafeBase customers, this can be as simple as turning on the Salesforce or HubSpot integrations to power seamless connections between buyers and your sellers, and to give your sales team members real-time visibility into where things stand, account by account.

📍Commitment 2: Identify and close 3 security review process gaps in collaboration with sales leadership.

3. Forge a stronger line of communication with your key internal stakeholders.

As you march toward creating a flywheel of customer trust, you’ll need the full support and participation of your cross-functional stakeholders, like legal, sales, and customer success. This year, take steps to open the lines of communication with those leaders and their teams by creating channels and cadences that encourage a mutual flow of information.

This could include regular syncs or information shares, or, for SafeBase customers, the implementation of Slack and/or Jira integrations that automate updates and requests, eliminating barriers to collaboration.

📍Commitment 3: Develop two enduring communication channels that encourage cross-functional collaboration

4. Build an infrastructure that automates approval for sensitive documentation access.

Building and maintaining customer trust often means the removal of internal friction points and deterrents to speed for internal teams. Security and GRC teams can save hours of time by automating approvals for document access based on information they already have available, such as buyer/customer email domains housed in Salesforce or HubSpot. To act on this commitment, review and document your access approval criteria and where that information lives. Then, work with technology partners to enable automatic approval (or denial — think competitors) of access requests based on those criteria.

With the Salesforce and HubSpot integration, SafeBase customers can turn on auto- approvals based on a custom rules engine.

📍Commitment 4: Set up a technology infrastructure that auto-approves (or denies) access to sensitive documentation.

5. Take the first steps toward internal ROI visibility.

Set your customer trust programs up to scale in 2023 and beyond by creating visibility into the effectiveness of your team’s efforts. By building metrics dashboards and implementing internal reporting mechanisms, Security and GRC leaders can reinforce the position of cybersecurity as a revenue driver, and make the case to get more resources and support. Partner with internal stakeholders — like sales leaders — to build a dashboard of metrics that are meaningful to both your team and theirs, and practice reporting these metrics at defined intervals. Provide business context in your reporting and ask for feedback regularly.

SafeBase users can see key metrics and performance in the in-app dashboard. Then, they can go even deeper by leveraging integrations via Data Warehouse Sync that demonstrate the connection between security team metrics and other important business goals. These can be immediately leveraged to prove value and spark conversation around continued improvement.

📍Commitment 5: Identify the most critical metrics to both Security and Sales teams and develop a first draft of a dashboard and a reporting cadence.

Widespread adoption of “customer trust” philosophies may still be in nascent stages, but innovative organizations are making steps every day to develop the muscles and practices that lead to lasting buyer confidence. With the support of their internal partners, and the implementation of these five commitments, Security and GRC leaders will be well set up to increase customer trust in 2023. We can’t wait to hear about the steps you’re taking!

SafeBase is the scalable Trust Center that automates the security review process between buyers and sellers. With a SafeBase Trust Center, companies can seamlessly share sensitive security documentation with buyers and customers, including streamlining the NDA signing process by integrating with your CRM and your data warehouse. 

If you’re ready to take back the time your team spends on security questionnaires, create a better buying experience, and position security as the revenue-driver it is, get in touch with us.