Getting the Greenlight: How to Sell Video Surveillance Systems to the C-Suite
If you would love to upgrade or expand your security technology but are struggling to get the funding, I’d like to suggest a few strategies that could get your project the greenlight.
Strategy #1: Mitigating Risks
Risk analysis is always a good place to start. Identify the potential risks your organization faces and what possible impact they might have on the company’s financial viability, reputation or other aspect of the business.
When you analyze risks from a safety and security perspective, it’s important to view the organization holistically. Consult with other operational stakeholders to get a broader picture of company concerns and where there might be overlaps. For instance, a manufacturing company might be looking for an efficient way to monitor machinery temperatures for safety reasons. Another operations team might be focused on monitoring the production floor. If your solution provided a way for the security cameras to do double duty – help to mitigate the risk of machine failure and detect safety hazards before they caused injury to workers on the production floor – you’ve doubled the solution’s value to the company. By funding your investment, the company could avoid costly production shutdowns and prevent expensive workman’s compensation litigation.
To be effective, you need to present your business case in terms of how your project will help mitigate those risks of most concern to the C-level executives. Show how your project will either prevent them from happening or, if they do occur, help to minimize and contain their impact. Be sure to include people and processes as well as investment in technology in your mitigation strategy.
Strategy #2: Dovetailing with Other Objectives
I call this the “Help me help you” approach to selling at the C-level. There isn’t a business or operation out there that doesn’t have a core mission. It could be a retailer looking to create a unique customer experience or a school that wants to increase graduation rates. Spend some time learning what challenges or obstacles they’re facing that are preventing them from completing that mission. If you can show how your project can help them overcome those issues and achieve their goals you’ve got a winning project.
Let’s take a school for example. Assault and bullying can negatively impact graduation rates. Students who don’t feel safe experience a higher degree of absenteeism, and even when they do attend, they’re more concerned with their personal safety than learning the material put in front of them. By including aggression detection analytics in your proposal, you give school resource officers a valuable tool to help them quickly respond and defuse aggression incidents before they escalate. If you demonstrate how video technology that can also assist the school in remote learning, educate staff in emergency response and provide a safe and secure environment for after-school events like the Friday night football games, you’ve increased the value of your project well beyond achieving the core mission.
In a retail environment, the opportunity to generate cross-departmental value for your project is perhaps even greater. And with more stakeholders, the return on investment increases which is a very appealing proposition to C-level executives. As an example, I recently spent time with an integrator and their retail end user discussing the expansion of their surveillance system to include analytics to help them improve business operations and their customer experience. They began testing the collection of data such as customer counts, traffic flow, wait times for customers in lines, and merchandising display effectiveness. By working with the C-level marketing and operations leaders, the integrator helped the security team receive funding for their initial risk mitigation plan, but also additional camera counts and coverage for collecting business operations data that would have a significant impact on the retailer’s bottom line and customer loyalty. Once we had helped them make the case to the marketing and financial executives, funding became a much easier discussion for the security team.
Interestingly enough, the most progressive security directors I’ve worked with over the years take a business approach when looking to expand their security technology capability. And in fact, they see themselves as financial contributors to the success of their company’s operations.
Strategy #3: Ensuring Compliance
Compliance is another factor to consider when preparing your business case for the C-level executives. Today many businesses, schools, medical facilities and government agencies face compliance issues. Take the time to learn how non-compliance might impact their operational safety and financial health. Then present the C-level executives ways the security technology solution you’re proposing can help them mitigate that risk.
The Greenlight Partnership
Security integrators frequently tell me that being their customers’ trusted advisor differentiates them from their competitors. By helping security departments present a strong case for the project at the C-level they not only get the funding they need, but potentially expand these solutions into other areas of the organization to help everyone succeed in their mission.