Lessons Sales and Compliance Can Learn from the Wolf of Wall Street
Connecting with your sales team can be challenging, but it's vital if you want to use Security Compliance as a factor to help drive business growth and success. An informed sales team is well-positioned to use Compliance as a selling point to close more deals and surpass revenue goals. As Jordan Belfort, the infamous protagonist of the movie "The Wolf of Wall Street," demonstrated, selling (even through illicit tactics) is about connection. In one scene, Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, challenges his sales team to sell him a pen. The exercise may seem trivial, but it highlights the importance of understanding your audience and what motivates them.
In this blog, we'll explore five practical strategies to improve the relationship of Compliance with Sales to help sales teams market your Security Compliance program to its full potential.
Most salespeople have an ultimate goal (quota, ARR number, net new logos) and use that number to stay focused and motivated. Their goal may appear on their screen saver, or written on a post-it note on the corner of their laptop, or maybe the topic of their dreams each night. Any activities or conversations that are not seen as relevant to them achieving their goals may fall on deaf ears. When communicating with Sales teams, it is essential to emphasize how Security Compliance not only ensures the organization is aligned with legal requirements, industry standards, and best practices but also builds trust with the prospects and customers the Sales team will engage with… and that translates into more closed deals. For example:
Jordan Belfort found success using inexperienced staff because he simplified his pitch to the point that it was easily communicated and understood. His script was attention-catching and did not mince words, so even the most clueless people sounded like qualified professionals. Refrain from bogging down your salespeople with Compliance jargon. Use everyday language and examples that they can relate to easily. For example, when discussing logical access controls, do not mention the active directory, access control listings, and encryption standards. Instead, use simple analogies that every salesperson can understand clearly. For example:
Belfort always asked his customers, “What is your greatest headache right now?” Once the problem was identified, he would offer solutions to resolve it. When Compliance people enter a room, they are often met with disdain since they can be seen as obstructions to the business. This false narrative takes away the value Compliance offers to an organization. To improve sales team relationships, avoid becoming the person always wagging a finger in disappointment. Instead, Compliance professionals should position themselves as the ones who find solutions to the problems, working with salespeople to better comply and secure the organization. How to communicate this to sales teams? Examples of this might be:
Belfort often showed his thanks to employees in wild ways, such as throwing extravagant yacht parties, but it did yield fierce loyalty and trust amongst his subordinates. Security Compliance can tap into the concept of appreciation to advance their cause. For example, praise the sales team for their cooperation in obtaining a goal, or buy them a round of drinks after a night of work going over issues identified from an audit. Showing your appreciation can go a long way in cultivating a positive relationship with your sales team.
Belfort built strong individual relationships with his employees outside of the office and related to their successes on a personal level. This resulted in his staff having more respect for him and being willing to sacrifice for the company. Connecting with the sales team means learning what they are passionate about. Try to build a personal connection with each member by showing interest in what they do and how they got there. What is their educational background? What town do they live in? Do they have a family? What do they enjoy doing in their spare time? Understanding their experience and relating to their home life is a way to show the human side of Compliance.
As the Wolf of Wall Street once said, “Best way to sell something: don’t sell anything. Earn awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.” This quote perfectly illustrates the importance of connecting and communicating with sales teams to ensure they understand the benefits Security Compliance offers their prospects and customers.
Compliance professionals should strive to:
For more practical tips for communicating between the Sales and Compliance team and a list of the relevant controls, risks and policies related to them, check out the anecdotes Sales Travel Guide.