Swedish west coast native Emelie Andersson moved to the other side of the country 6 years ago to pursue a career in software sales. Today she is the Head of Sales for our EMEA team, and is leading the team to capture markets with a growing interest in collaborating with white hat hackers.
Sales – a challenging thrill
Emelie graduated back in 2013 in Business, Accounting and Project Management by IHM Business School. She then decided to pursue a career in sales as in her words, “Sales is the best profession there is!” What she loves the most about it is that she gets to meet and talk to different people and is always challenged to learn and improve from them. There’s a thrill that naturally comes from working with sales that’s also addictive, and she can’t see herself doing anything else.
She says, “the great thing with my profession is that it’s both a whole lot of fun, and there’s almost always one daily surprise that kind of throws you off the course you’́d set, which forces you to activate your curiosity and problem solving ability.”
So what is it about software sales that Emelie particularly enjoys? “Software is influencing how everything around us operates and, to some extent, set́s the pace of the development of society. It kind of tells its own story, and I know I want to be a part of this development.”
From sports business to active sales in SaaS
Our Head of Sales for EMEA, however, did not always sell software. Emelie started her sales career as a Key Account Manager for a sports business company in Gothenburg. There, she learned to act as a key point of contact for different clients. However, she truly learned about active sales and how to acquire new customers when she moved to Stockholm to join a Swedish SaaS company that offers an employee platform for compensation and benefits. She worked there for 6 years and had the luxury to experience the challenges of working in a fast-growing tech company that went from being the three founders to become a 400+ employee company in around 10 years.
The keys to growth for the scale-up phase
During this time, Emelie learned that in order to thrive in such an environment, one has to constantly be prepared for change as a decision taken today could more or less be outdated tomorrow. She experienced rapid growth of teams, which included adding new colleagues, new roles and new ideas that constantly challenged the status quo:
“Rapid growth is both an advantage and a challenge in a company’s development. You have to be prepared to constantly question and be questioned on the way you do things. When you’re in a scale-up phase, you should have a framework and established processes but still always make sure that you do not become too bureaucratic, as that would slow the pace down instead of bringing efficiency forward.”
Into the world of hackers and internet security
After six years in HR software sales, Emelie found that she could do her job with her eyes closed and Detectify managed to catch her attention at the right time. We asked her why she decided to join our rocket ship:
“Internet security will most likely not become less important just by looking at how our society is developing. You could work with and sell IT security in many companies but what’s particularly great about Detectify is that we help our clients understand the importance of keeping track of the latest security findings, and to keep up with the fast-moving threat of potentially being hacked. That’s why I think our Crowdsource community of handpicked ethical hackers is pure genius for product development.”
Emelie goes on about the benefits of working at Detectify: “I love the international aspect and the fact that you get to work with colleagues from all over the world – from different cultures! Everyone working here is very humble but also experts at what they do, which is a work environment I am proud of being a part of. To top this off, you also get to work in close cooperation with renowned ethical hackers – now, how cool is that?!”
But of course, working at Detectify is not all roses as selling the product involves learning how to answer challenging technical questions. Emelie says the technical questions our sales representatives get during client meetings cannot be compared to those posed during her time in previous companies: “The questions I used to get are not even comparable to how much technical knowledge is handled by our sales team in Detectify and this new potential learning curve played a crucial role in my decision to join Detectify as I was eager to push myself to learn about new technologies”.
Selling a product built upon user understanding
Emelie explains that the communication around Detectify’s product is a challenge in itself. “Our first points of contact are security professionals who are familiar with automated security solutions and they ask very relevant questions since they often know what they need. Detectify’s founders are developers themselves so of course, that plays in our advantage, as they have a good understanding of what our clients want from the product.”
She adds that Detectify helps organizations work with security in a more streamlined way: “We have the functionality to support smoother and efficient cooperation through all layers of working with security – from developers to security engineers, application managers up to the CIO.”
However, it takes more than that to become a key player in the cybersecurity space. Emelie says:
“The more digital and cloud-based we become, the more vulnerable things could potentially become if we’re not careful enough. At Detectify we service pretty much every company with a website, small and big. In the best of possible futures – Detectify would not be needed as the internet would be a safe place. Until then, our vision is to fix the internet that is broken and help our clients to stay secure, reducing the entry points of being hacked.”
She adds: “We’re challenging the cybersecurity market around us with a user-friendly product that is made with the end users – developers and security engineers – in mind. We’re constantly adding new tests crowdsourced by our white hat hacker community into the system so that our clients can “hack themselves” with harmless payloads and cutting-edge security tests. We’re helping to make it easier for developers and security teams to make their web apps better and safer, so that vulnerability findings are visible in the existing workflows.”
So we’re building a fast-flying team, together!
In order to make the internet more secure, Detectify needs to grow and scale. The plan for the EMEA Sales team at Detectify is to grow by 5 times in just a year – which means that we need to hire great people to accomplish this crazy mission!
Emelie believes that the best sales teams consist of people who are really driven by teamwork and who wish each other success. She goes on saying:
“Having a bunch of individualists who are not interested in their colleagues’ progress is not a good formula for building a successful sales team – that would just be a group of people but not a team.”
In order to succeed in a fast-growing scale-up like Detectify, individuals need to take on personal responsibility, meaning that if there is a team goal to be achieved, everyone is expected to contribute their part. That is what builds trust. Emelie believes one has to give trust to gain trust. She adds that the last, but not the least important ingredient for a successful sales team, is to leave room for mistakes and make the environment feedback friendly:
“We’re going to make mistakes – most likely a lot of them. I want to sustain an environment for my team where we can give and get feedback with each other and actually work with the feedback to improve. We will continuously learn, we will become better and we will have a team that will help each other with individual personal development. That makes the circle complete.”
SaaS security sales isn’t for everyone, but perhaps it is for you
We constantly look for new colleagues who share these same values. Since we are entering the scale-up phase now, we are looking to bring in colleagues experienced in selling complicated B2B software at high-performing startups and willing to share this knowledge to fuel our fast growth phase. Joining our sales team means you thrive in a self-managed environment, where you are constantly learning and improving your sales skills, and feel the thrill of closing enterprise-sized deals!
Emelie is looking forward to adding teammates that want to be a part of our journey towards making the internet more secure:
“To be in the front line and sell a great product that really gives our customers great value and to represent it – that is the reason why you should apply. What’s also cool is that tech and sales work closely together at Detectify and we promise to give you the best of two worlds combined.”
Q&A with Emelie:
Mac or PC? Previously PC. But once you go Mac you never go back…
Android or iOS? iOS
What’s your #1 security tip? Map out responsibilities within your organization!
How do you keep up to date with tech and business? Honestly… mostly I follow our internal Slack-channel with industry news 🙂 What is shared there is usually really good stuff and almost every day I’m blown away by the amount of things there’s still left to learn in the tech-world. Endless! But that is what makes it great fun to be part of it!
What’s your favorite Detectify blog post? Cybersecurity from an overhead cost to a business enabler – great stuff!
If you are ready for a new challenge in the cybersecurity industry, take a look at our open positions to join Emelie and the EMEA team in Stockholm!