Compliance

5 Tips on How to Align Sales and Compliance Teams

Kerwyn Velasco
February 22, 2024
Gain insights on how to improve your sales and Compliance teams relationship from anecdotes

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. 

How to Boost Your Relationship with Sales Teams Gleaned from the Wolf of Wall Street

With a little help from the Wolf, anecdotes experts have put together the following tips using their combined experience in boosting sales with stellar Compliance automation.

1. Understand their Goals and Speak their Language

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:

  • SOC2 - Most US companies are looking for a level of assurance set forth by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) about the security, availability, and data processing integrity of the organization’s systems. US companies also want reassurance about the confidentiality and privacy of the information processed by these systems.

  • ISO 27001 – This certification is relevant to companies worldwide—large and small – especially in today’s age of significant cyber-breaches. Compliance with this framework reassures prospects and customers that procedures are being followed to protect information security and minimize any threats, such as data breaches.

  • GDPR – Any organization considering doing business in the EU must align with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a set of EU rules on data protection and privacy. Failure to comply with the law’s stringent privacy and security standards results in harsh penalties reaching tens of millions of euros.

2. Keep Compliance and Sales Team Communication Simple and Effective

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: 

  • Access to your kitchen – You want to restrict access to your cooking area to be sure your kids can’t add gummy bears to your filet mignon. 
  • Access to your home – You want to choose who can enter your bedroom. Yes, to your wife. No, to your in-laws. 
  • Access to your car – You want to secure entry to your new Tesla to keep it safe from cousin Ned who is notorious for joyriding.

3. Find Gaps and Provide Solutions 

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:

  • Help the sales team identify and restrict who has access to the sales forecast to prevent exfiltration
  • Suggest that the sales team maintain a central repository for standardized contract language to prevent legal risk
  • Provide the sales team with templates for a Change Management policy on posting to social media, which can be applied across frameworks

4. Show your Appreciation 

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. 

5. Get Personal 

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. 

The Ultimate Sales and Compliance Team Relationship

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:

  • Understand the sales team’s goals
  • Communicate in simple terms 
  • Identify pain points and provide solutions
  • Get personal, and 
  • Show appreciation to colleagues on the sales team 

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.

Kerwyn Velasco
Security and Compliance Nerd with 10 years GRC experience wearing all kinds of hats. He currently does marketing at anecdotes.

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