Post Syndicated from Rapid7 original https://blog.rapid7.com/2023/06/01/rapid7-sales-director-devin-poulter-on-building-a-career-as-an-account-executive/
Devin Poulter is a Sales Director with over 20 years of experience in the tech industry. Recently, we asked him a few questions to learn more about how he built his career, what it’s like to lead a team at Rapid7, and more.
You’ve been in software sales for most of your career, what can you tell us about being successful as an Account Executive?
I’d say building your personal brand is really important for success as an Account Executive. Being able to have open and honest conversations with customers and really focus on where you can (or sometimes, where you can not) add value is something people will remember you by.
Years down the line, when you are either introducing a new product, or representing a different company, that decision maker you are reaching out to will probably remember how you treated them previously. If you took the time to create a positive relationship, they are more likely to take your call and listen because you’ve built that foundation of trust. I’ve seen that play out time and time again, and I think it’s important for people building their career to equally focus on their personal brand as well as the product or company brand you’re representing.
What stands out to you about Rapid7 when it comes to building a sales career?
Well, the cybersecurity market is white hot as threats and bad actors continue to find new ways of exposing vulnerable organizations. It’s a market that is attracting a lot of competition as new companies and startups emerge—but where I see the most value and sustainability is with organizations like Rapid7 that can meet customers where they are—and grow with them.
When we think about our customers, particularly the CISO, their role has become increasingly challenging, and will continue to be so. Between an evolving threat landscape, a struggle to find talent for in-house security teams, and a volatile economic landscape that puts pressure on budgets—they need partners who can help them do more with less resources. At Rapid7, we’re making it everyone’s mission to think about these customer challenges and ensure we’re bringing the best and most impactful solutions to the table so we can help customers build a more secure digital future.
Additionally, Rapid7 isn’t a one trick pony for a CISO. Our Account Executives can sell across the full platform of our offerings, enabling them to be a true partner to customers and add value based on their unique needs and challenges. When it comes to building a successful career in sales (and especially in building your personal brand), this is something that helps our reps deliver the utmost value to customers with solutions that can grow and scale with them.
Finally, Rapid7’s mission is inspiring. The need for our products is something that is never going to go away. All around the world, there are bad actors who are constantly trying to take advantage of individuals and businesses to make a quick profit. When you think of the impact a hacker or vulnerability can have, it’s everything from financial losses to entire infrastructure systems and communities getting disrupted. We’re giving organizations the tools and resources to protect themselves from the bad guys, and helping their security teams work more efficiently and keep their data—and more importantly, people, safe from harm.
What’s it like to lead a team at Rapid7?
As a leader, I’m excited for the opportunity to help mature my team and see them succeed. That’s always been a big motivator for me—and it still is today. As I’ve progressed through my career, I’d say it’s equally rewarding to see the growth and success of the business, and the impact we’re making on our customers.
Today, my motivation goes far beyond hitting our numbers and going to Club. Being part of a company that’s creating real impact every day, whether it’s through our products, our open source communities, or our work in public policy and governance, it’s fulfilling to be part of a journey that’s being recognized and giving us a reputation in the market for being really innovative.
When people are proactively approaching you at a conference or a show, and commenting on the work Rapid7 is doing, it instills a lot of pride in your work and reminds you of how important our mission is. A company that gives you that kind of fulfillment, along with opportunities to grow, is the real difference between finding your next job and finding a career home.
What do you look for in an Account Executive?
What I look for is genuine curiosity, and the ability to critically think about challenges. I don’t need someone to tell me what they think I want to hear or give a generic answer. In order to uncover this in an interview, I’ll often share a real world situation and ask their opinion on how they would approach it. This gives me an opportunity to see what kind of follow up questions they have, how they think, and how they might approach challenges on the job. As far as their answer, I’m not looking for a right or wrong response, it’s more about learning how they think. Sometimes, I’ll even help coach or give the person feedback to help them understand the context or maybe frame it in a way they weren’t thinking about originally. The candidates that stand out the most are the ones who are able to ask the right questions, can articulate their opinion, and who are also coachable and open to feedback. Knowledge of our products and industry can always be taught, but having the right mindset is critical to be able to help them grow and be successful in the role.
At Rapid7, when we say we are open to ideas and encourage people to challenge convention—we really do mean it, and we respect the different perspectives that are brought to the table. This kind of culture is what helps sustain the business and enables you to do some really cool things in your field.
Looking to find your career home as an Account Executive?
Explore what it’s like to work as part of our sales team here: https://careers.rapid7.com/sales