The past couple of years have been significant ones for Rapid7.
The Boston-based provider of security data and analytics solutions delivered a successful IPO in 2015, was the only Massachusetts tech firm to go public last year, and was named the “Most Valuable Partner of the Year” by the Intel Security Innovation Alliance in 2016.
A large factor in the company's success has been its robust sales team, which is rapidly expanding and currently hiring for 14 positions. We caught up with Kym Venezia (pictured below), Team Lead Account Executive, to learn more about the company’s culture and how she helps lead a competitive and growing group of salespeople.
What made you want to work at Rapid7?
My dream was to be in the fashion world and work as a buyer. I worked for Filenes downtown and was working at TJX during the 2007 breach before I knew what security tech was. From there, I went into sales at a bank in Boston and one of my colleagues’ best friends worked at Rapid7, so I would go out with them and met some really cool people that worked there. I loved the energy they had and my friend mentioned that Rapid7 was expanding their sales roles. I knew it would be a lot of work but a lot of fun work.
How would you describe the culture of the sales team?
There’s a lot of energy. We work in a really open environment and all have standing desks, so we work and play music all day long. I’m excited when I come into work. The sales team is a collaborative effort. We listen to a lot of calls and coach each other one-on-one even though there are multiple sales teams.
Each team has a team name and a team leader, and we make fun banners and have team competitions. Even though we’re constantly doing work, the rewards are great. We’ll win a couple rounds of bowling or a fancy dinner at Del Frisco's steakhouse. We also do inter-office competitions and people get really creative.
If you lose, you might have to wear an elf costume to work. Or, you could win $250 to go to a local spa. The bragging rights keep everyone on their toes. Sales is competitive environment because you want to make money, but we are really excited for our peers when they have a deal.
What's unique about Rapid7?
From a cultural standpoint, we all have a lot of fun and live in and around the city. We joke that when you start working here, you gain the Rapid7 weight because they have fun Friday food carts and are really good about food perks.
We also do a lot of outside work giving back to the Boston community. We want to help good causes and be a good company that people want to work for.
Do you have team traditions?
We have a big gong and a little gong. If you close a really big deal, you get to hit the big gong. It’s super duper loud and you can hear it across all the office floors. Every person in the office then gets up and gives you a high five. Everyone stops his or her day to celebrate a big win. That’s also where a lot of conversations start to happen in the hallways.
How do you sell Rapid7’s security products?
I am not the most technical person so I am constantly talking to our leader board about what we sell. We have an awesome enablement team that puts you through a Rapid7 bootcamp at the beginning, but we have an open environment where you constantly hear Rapid7 elders on the phone talking about our products and can learn from them.
You might find what you like to sell the most, but you learn all of the products. It’s so cool that the executives are available to us. I can go right up to our chief product manager and ask him how a new tool was made and why it was necessary to a product I sell.
As a lead sales exec, I need to know just enough technical stuff to be dangerous. That means I work very closely with security engineers going through proof of concepts and going through all of their product demonstrations. I can’t believe how much I know now that I didn’t even know existed four years ago.
What is the first thing you do when you get into the office?
I come in and look at my plan for the day, looking for any red flags and making sure I’m prepared to ask all the right questions on my calls. Then I check in with my manager. My most successful weeks are when I follow my plan.
What is the last thing you do before leaving the office?
I plan out my next day. Since I’m usually on the phone for the entire day either cold calling or going through demonstration calls, it’s very important to come up with a plan for my next day.
What is the hardest part of your job? How do you overcome it?
I think the hardest part for me is just staying on top of all the new products in the security space. Finally, smaller companies are competing in smaller bits and pieces, so my job right now is understanding those smaller competitors who are trying to do what we’re doing on a smaller scale and getting to customers first.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Making my customers happy. Giving them a solution that saves them time and money. It really makes me excited to help companies’ security teams. After a sale is done, I’m supposed to hand the company over to our customer success team, which I do, but I like to stay close to customers. When you do a really good deal and get them a really good price, that’s the most exciting part of the job.
It’s all about building our brand. I’ve been covering the same area for a long time and I want people to know, ‘Kym at Rapid7 is going to sell me a great product.’
What advice would you give someone wanting to join Rapid7’s sales team?
The biggest thing you need is the desire to be curious and successful in a really cool environment and industry, and the desire to be collaborative with your team. You have to be excited about the technology and have a curious mind that’s willing to work hard.
Having swagger also goes a long way at Rapid7.
What is a big lesson you’ve learned in your role?
The job isn’t just working with the sales team. It’s really collaborating with finance, marketing and engineering. I didn’t realize how much interpersonal relationships would matter to me here. It’s really exciting when so many people are in your corner. I’m not just a number here. Management and executives know me, and they know everybody.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Photos via Rapid7.