Clients often tell us they can’t get the security budget they need. This can be interpreted as a sign that organizations simply don’t value physical security, but there’s something else at play: security professionals aren’t making leadership care about security.
Security is bad at sales. This is reflected in the perpetual lack of budget we so often hear about. Security doesn’t bring in revenue, and is seen as a cost. If security pros want this situation to change, they need to learn sales skills and convince leadership of security’s importance.
Security professionals haven’t learned to sell
The marketing department is great at marketing. The sales department is great at sales. It’s the legal department’s job to make a convincing argument.
Security doesn’t always have these skills, and we aren’t always the most popular kid at the table because it’s our job to tell people things they don’t necessarily want to hear. We tell people they need to wear their badges when they don’t want to. We tell them they can’t prop open doors, or that they need to park in a specific place. When we step up to request our budgets, all of this is working against us.
This is made more difficult by the fact that persuasion isn’t often part of our skillset. When Security asks for their budget, it may be with a dull presentation or with worst-scenario, fear-based tactics. These don’t always work.
This means there’s even more of a reason to study sales. We need to sell the need for better security, and clearly communicate the problems security will solve in a way that connects with leadership.
Sales 101 for security professionals
How can you get better at asking for a budget? The first step is listening to your colleagues' concerns.
Discovery: What are your colleagues worried about? What about leadership? Get outside of the security department and meet your other co-workers. Talk to them and learn about the business concerns that are keeping them awake at night. Specifically find the worries that relate to security issues.
Shape your pitch: Use what you’ve learned to build a pitch for your budget. Explain how security can meet their needs and address their worries.
Connect with your audience: Often security pros make a rational argument for their budget, but they neglect the necessary emotional connection with their audience. Make an effort to get to know the people you’re talking to. Build your influence with leadership and colleagues. When leadership trusts you, they’re more likely to invest in your budget.
Don’t get upset: If the conversation doesn't go your way, don’t have an emotional response, or at least don’t have one in public. Keep building influence and working on your pitch.
Make friends: Do you know someone in marketing who can improve your pitch? What about sales? Get out of your department and befriend the people who can help you learn how to be more persuasive. Befriend someone in leadership who can act as a champion for security. The more consensus you build, the easier this process will become.
Use risk analysis to convey key information: Risk is dynamic and changes all the time. Using risk analysis to convey importance, priority, relevance can help you with the rational part of the conversation, however sales isn’t alway rational. Remember most people make decisions based on an emotional connection, i.e. they remind you of their friend in college, they trust you, etc. Don’t strictly rely on information, build those relationships.
If you need more information on getting your budget, read our guide to
Businesses do see security’s value - they just need a reminder
If you're tempted to respond to this blog post by saying “well, businesses just don’t value security” that argument no longer makes sense.
We saw physical security’s stock rise recently. During the pandemic, businesses realized there was a need for improved security, new technology, and more officers. As a result, budgets spiked and security officer salaries rose.
That was temporary, however. A recent survey found that limited budgets to be the biggest challenge facing physical security in 2023. Nearly 60% of respondents reported budgets were holding steady rather than rising, and nearly 40% of respondents said they were worried about not having enough budget, up from 27% the year before.
What happened to the high budgets of a couple years ago? The pandemic receded, and security professionals didn’t use their newfound popularity to keep security top of mind with leadership.
In other words, it’s not that your organization doesn’t value security, it’s that you haven’t convinced your company to spend money on security. It’s your job to make leadership care, and you have more power to do that than you think. You just have to change the way you ask for funding.
Are you ready to talk to an expert about your budget? Talk to us now about assessing your security.