Enterprise B2B Software Project Summary:

Helping Thales Understand Enterprise Buyers Through Value Proposition Mapping

Market Validation & Value Mapping in Enterprise Security

A recent discovery research project focused on enterprise cybersecurity leaders who are the key decision-maker for security strategies and purchases at their organization. The team we worked with was exploring a new type of security solution that would challenge the model used by most organizations. The team had 2 critical questions, the generic versions of which are:

  • What is the value that such a solution would bring to the organization?
  • Who are our target buyer personas at the organization?
  • How ready are they in terms of budget and strategy?
  • Recruited and interviewed 10 senior-level cybersecurity leaders from large and mid-size organizations
  • Facilitated a collaborative workshop to observe, analyze, and act on the research
  • Delivered a report that summarized the process, research, and workshop outcomes


Step 1: Discovery

We broke down the project into the 6 phases below. Each phase consisted of multiple steps and lasted a week or less. The total project took 5 weeks, from kickoff to final report delivery.

We assigned 1 lead researcher and 2 supporting researchers to this project. After a virtual kickoff meeting and follow-up discussions with the client team, our team designed the research and delivered a 6-page research plan.

A small excerpt from our research discussion guide. We relied mostly on open-ended questions starting with “What,” “How,” and “Why.”

Step 2: Recruiting

The recruitment of participants for this project was particularly important and challenging. The target audience is relatively small, hard to reach, and — due to the topic — reluctant to be interviewed. This makes it tempting to find easier-to-recruit proxies: people who are less senior in their organization but understand the security space. We agreed with the client team that, given the research questions, we could not cut corners with recruiting; we needed to speak with the primary decision-makers.

Based on our rigorous process, we were able to find 10 qualified participants from a mix of industries that met the desired split between large and mid-size organizations.

A table showing key information — including title and company size — for the 10 research participants we selected for the study.

Step 3: Research

We conducted interviews with each of the 10 participants. These sessions were:

  • One-on-one moderated interviews
  • Conducted remotely via Zoom
  • Recorded so the team could watch them in full

Our moderator interviews an enterprise CIO about cybersecurity practices and strategy at his organization.

Step 4: Workshop

Following these interviews, we held a 1-day collaborative workshop to observe, analyze, and make decisions based on the research. 10 stakeholders participated in the workshop, which was facilitated by 2 Marketade researchers. The workshop team represented a diverse cross-section within the relevant business unit, including stakeholders responsible for innovation, competitive analysis, product, UX, and engineering.

  • What their customers are currently experiencing
  • How those desires and challenges might be addressed by a potential solution
  • What the product should provide in order to address the customers’ needs
  • To whom should an MVP be tailored?
  • How ready (if at all) are potential customers to consume a product like this?
  • What are the barriers to it being viable?
  • What’s their biggest “burning fire” or security concern?

Thales product, UX, and innovation team members collaborate on value proposition mapping exercises.

Step 5: Report

After the workshop, we wrote and delivered a 13-page report to the team that:

  • Began with an executive summary
  • Covered the research goals and process
  • Shared basic information about interviewees and their session recordings
  • Documented the workshop process and outcomes
  • Summarized key takeaways and next steps

“Identified the Main Gaps”

While we can’t share the specific outcomes, we can say that the Thales team made a number of key strategic decisions — and implemented critical changes — based on the alignment resulting from this project.

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