“Life at ForAllSecure” is a Q&A series dedicated to our growing company.
For this month’s profile, we talked with Shawn Santos, Director of Sales at ForAllSecure, who joined the company in September, 2022 and is based out of Springfield, Massachusetts.
We're a growing company, so a big part of my role is being an individual contributor and helping our business grow its revenue. In doing so, there is a lot of outreach and trying to engage with prospects to share our messaging, discover their challenges that we can solve for, and then presenting the justification or business case—the means for purchasing a product like ours, and then supporting the implementation process.
Also, we’re building out the early stages of leading a team on the east coast. So, I’m working with a couple of our new hires with the same goals of being individual contributors and expanding our customer base and revenue.
I graduated college in 2010 and started a sales career. I wasn't certain I wanted to get into sales; I kind of fell into it. I had a marketing degree and knew somebody who had worked at WB Mason. I worked there for about three and a half years and absolutely loved it. I realized sales was the career for me. I like talking to people. I've enjoyed working in a smaller group of people to grow a business, finding that to be more rewarding for myself.
So anyway, I did that for a few years and really liked it. If it was 30 years ago, I probably would still be there, but with the office supply industry declining, it made sense to transition into tech sales. I started an entry-level business development role and progressed into an individual contributor. I spent most of my time in the DevOps and DevSecOps space, which has been a nice transition for getting into ForAllSecure.
A typical day is a combination of a lot of different things. So, it's important for me to block time for prospecting, like I mentioned. We need to be reaching out to people to generate momentum. So, strategizing on who we want to reach, doing the prospecting, creating the messaging, making phone calls to start conversations, having meetings that are scheduled with prospects and expanding the conversation from there. Also, over the past few months, we’ve spent a lot of time onboarding new tools in our process and hiring new folks for our team.
What's been fun for me is building our outreach program. I've worked at a few startups before, and had some hand in the process, but taking the lead on putting together our outreach program (including tools and workflow) and now having the team onboard that is utilizing that has been fun and rewarding for me. It's never perfect. We're going to continue to improve upon it, but it feels like we have a good foundation to use at this point.
I think we have an all-hands-on-deck approach. People are always willing to either help you directly or guide you to the right answer. We're a small enough team where that all happens pretty quickly and you get a good response. You never feel like you’re on an island of “I'm doing my job. Everyone else is doing theirs.”
That's part of the reason why I like smaller companies. The mission is clear and the group is all on board with that. You're not just a number trying to solve one problem when there's a million other things going on that you're not aware of. It feels like we're all doing the same thing and working towards the same goal.
If you want to be a career salesperson in tech or cybersecurity, get into a business development role. Do your job. Listen. Some of the best advice I had from a college professor of mine is for your first six months in a role, keep your mouth shut for the most part—it's not never speak—but his point was to listen. Be observant to everything that's going on. People are teaching you things and it's likely for a reason, even if you don't understand it. Take what's coming in, be observant, and then you'll pick your head up and things will start to make sense.
For whatever role you want next, be observant to the people that are in that role and to what it takes to be successful there before you get too eager to jump right in. If you're good enough, it will come. But prepare yourself for the next role before you go ahead and take it on blindly.
I have two young kids. My daughter is about to be eight and my son will be five soon, so admittedly that takes a ton of time. When I wrap up the day, they're eager to get energy out and play and be rambunctious, and before you know it, it’s dinner and bedtime and then you wake up and you repeat that. I love it. We have a good time. They're coming to a good age where you can do things out without worrying about protecting them the whole time. So that's becoming fun.
But outside of that, I'm a big golfer. Anyone who knows me knows that. As much free time as I can find, I'm usually on the golf course.
In fourth grade, I was a checker champion. Our fourth grade class had a checker tournament every year. The teacher who ran the tournament was retiring. She typically kept the trophy that she handed out to the winner, but because it was her last year, I got to keep it. So, now I have a trophy in my house that says I am a checker champion. Proud of that one.
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