Wilder Parks III, US Head of Sales and Massachusetts native with experience in the tech industry, is leading Detectify’s US expansion and building our Boston sales team.
Growing up, Wilder was very active in playing sports – especially baseball. He owned the position of shortstop. If you’re not familiar with baseball, to be a good shortstop you need to be fast, good with communication in the field and reliable.
And this is what working at Detectify takes: someone that can speed up our company growth together with the pace of the cybersecurity industry, keeps open communication with teammates and drives them towards the same goals that keep us in the game.
Following the sun and finding Sales
After high school in Massachusetts Wilder followed the sun and moved to North Carolina to study Business Management. He pursued his interest in management and thought it was a good option when not being 100% sure on what he wanted to do, and eventually found himself in sales.
Wilder started his sales career working at a tile company and while it felt like the right role, it wasn’t the right industry for him. As soon as he came across his first software sales job, it all made sense:
“I felt like I finally found this opportunity that fitted me where I could execute on my strengths, talking to people and competitiveness. It gave me the opportunity to understand from early on the challenges of sales and startups.”
Selling software meant working in ever-changing environments, where one needs to focus on what can be controlled and let go of what cannot. He’s become passionate about this industry and its challenges. Wilder agrees that cloud services are the present and the future and he cannot see himself selling anything else.
Working in software sales normally also implies having a more niched target market. For most of his career, Wilder has been selling to software developers. He agrees that it’s a very challenging scenario that adds a whole new level of complexity: “It’s not for everyone and developers are mostly very pragmatic. They want to do their job right and are often hard to reach.”
He says that it’s important to take an educational approach and show them that you want to help with a tool that will support them. Transparency is also key:
“They are engineers communicating with jargon different from broader forms of sales. You may never have the same level of technical knowledge as them, but some will still be open to hearing what you say, so don’t overdo it! Be honest about how much you know and listen to them in order to help better their job.”
Growing and coaching a SaaS sales team
When he joined his previous company seven years ago, they were five sales representative and the company grew to hire over 100. He started from the bottom as a Business Development Representative, conducting cold calls and taking care of renewals and was promoted 6 months later to a team lead position. He admits that it was an intense transition as he was still very young and inexperienced but thanks to his former boss and mentor he found his true passion which is working for his team and sharing best practices: “I love being part of my team’s growth – if I can contribute to that, I am happy to do so”. He tells us that his proudest moment here was to be promoted to the first Team Lead and his greatest achievements were to grow the team and help them get promoted too.
Wilder brings with him his experience leading teams through ever-changing organizations where you cannot take too much for granted and keep the pace forward for leads and new revenue. Seeing a small team of five grow up to over 100, he realized very early that there is a lot of uncertainty in the startup world and it’s important to adapt and change on the fly:
“I had to behave like a leader before I officially became one. I never anticipated that I was going to be a manager but it came naturally out of my interest in wanting people to grow and succeed, and my ability to roll with the punches.”
Returning to the startup scene with Detectify
After seven years, he felt like he learned all he could in this position and sought a new opportunity to further grow himself. He was eager to get back to the startup environment and collaborating with people who are running after the same goal. Enter Detectify. To him, it was a great spinoff of how the security landscape looked like. “I am not an expert in security but I knew enough to be intrigued,” he recalls, “the Detectify Crowdsource platform was what got me even more excited.”
He knows that it’s a challenging task for a startup to succeed in any market and above all it takes hard work, dedication and time:
“You need to put the hours and the effort. It takes open-mindedness, collaboration but above all, execution. The faster you move the more you make. Being aware of this market’s challenge is the first step, and lastly, you also have to be up for it. Being a startup isn’t a purely American thing. Most startups fail, here and everywhere else. It’s important to have a scalable product that everybody needs, and this is what Detectify is offering. In addition, support is quite important, especially for international companies, as this needs to scale up with the growth.”
Wilder says that his first month at Detectify is a blessing and he is happy to be chosen to lead US expansion:
“I am excited for and I embrace the challenge. I spent a week at the head office in Stockholm and was energized by the company culture, where everyone has a voice, is passionate about their tasks, and there is a collaborative environment. My first challenge will be finding an effective way to collaborate together with the European sales team at a distance and define processes to scale up our sales activities and market share here in the US.”
“Security is a very competitive space and it’s important to stand out to your target market. Detectify delivers a great product with meaning. We want to educate clients to work with security from a proactive approach, helping them to save millions of dollars rather than using it to fix the damage when it’s too late.”
The US markets seem to be a tough and competitive one, but Wilder is confident in the entire team and the Detectify Crowdsource community of white hat hackers we collaborate with. We have no other choice than to succeed:
“Personally, I think working with the white hat hacker community is very cool and I am confident others would think it’s valuable too. It’s important to share our knowledge, both internally and externally. We are also good at that. We are informing our clients and teams in order to work collectively towards the same goal: to make the internet more secure.”
Detectify’s US Dream Team
When looking for a new opportunity in such a competitive market, we believe it’s important to both know what it takes to be in this new team, but also, what you will be taking home with you. Hence, we asked Wilder why someone would want to work with him:
“I am very outgoing. I like to have fun. Above all though, I like to work hard. I am not a micromanager, which means I trust people to be accountable and my job is to act as a support to coach them to be better at their job. I like to challenge people but most importantly, I like to be a challenge. I’ve been in the game long enough to not need the glory, nor the spotlight. I grew a team from 5 people to a 100 that was diverse in personalities, talents and work experience and this challenged me to continuously innovate on how to manage situations from different approaches. I still have lots to learn and I am willing to learn from my team and bring a fun and passionate approach that is focused on the success of the whole team. Detectify is new for me too, so I think it is going to be fun to crack this nut together.”
We also asked him what it takes to be on his team. To this, he replies: “Passion and energy! I want people that are happy to come and work with me every day as we need to embrace the challenge together.”
He goes on to tell us that he wants to work with go-getters passionate about challenging a cybersecurity industry to think beyond compliance regulations, and bring automation and white hat hacker collaboration into the status quo. Overall, at Detectify, we look for creative minds with a strong sense of drive and leadership to help out and “Get Shit Done.”
Wilder: “At Detectify, you can make a difference – in fact, you HAVE to make a difference. There is no other choice”.
Q&A with Wilder:
Mac or PC? Mac
Android or iOS? iOS
What’s your #1 security tip? Better to be proactive than reactive!
Your favorite place in Boston? Fenway Park – as a good baseball fan!
If you are ready for a new challenge in the cybersecurity industry and looking for a place to wear many hats, check out our open positions to join Wilder and the US team or our colleagues in Sweden!