Selling technical solutions for non-tech people
One of the make-or-break elements of many successful tech businesses lies in the success of their sales and hacker team working together. Eden Stroet, our Technical Sales at Hadrian, is responsible to be the bridge connecting these two departments with the customers.
Born and raised in the United States, Stroet is just not a regular sales rep. Previously worked as an Application Security Engineer, their technical background comes in very helpful in the sales department at Hadrian, especially when it comes to dealing with customers who are the decision-makers, but not necessarily familiar with the technicality of Hadrian product.
One fun fact about you is the fact that you and your husband are both working at Hadrian. How did you know Hadrian?
This is a fun question. I found out about Hadrian through my husband as he had been working here long before I joined. Because of my previous technical background as an Application Security Engineer, I started getting invited into borrels, drinks and events by Hadrian, which allowed me to get to know everyone in the company. Since my husband is a Hacker, I’ve learned that the majority of the team has a bug bounty background, and with my AppSec background those two mix very well. This made for some really fun conversations.
Working as a sales person in a tech company means you’re selling technical solutions for non-tech individuals. What are the challenges that come with it?
Most challenges I face usually involve helping individuals understand how a cyber criminal thinks, and why it is important to adopt a hacker mindset. People often have this idea that security is for compliance, without knowing the how or the why behind what it does. That’s why I have to explain that cybercriminals, especially dedicated ones, will try everything until something works to infiltrate your system. And this is where we come in to prevent that from happening.
How can you translate what Hadrian product offers into our customers’ needs?
This is a tricky task, as it involves understanding two different people. Hackers have this mindset of wanting to secure and protect things at all costs, but there’s a business side to cyber security of which customers are often more aware. Our hacker team would love to see all risks be remediated; however, in reality, customers are the experts on themselves internally, as we only have the external point of view. The sales team must make sure there is a fine balance and frequent discussions, especially when it comes to our customers' security.
You’re not only the bridge between the customers and the hackers, but also play a role in mediating relationships between the hacker and the sales team. How do you navigate that?
The hackers and sales teams definitely butt-heads and that is where I come in to mediate and ensure that the relationship stays good, as I understand both worlds. The hackers are very straightforward and forefront in what we do, what we have, and what we offer. The sales team is very good at selling that, but also likes to talk about what we’re developing, and that can put pressure on our teams to build faster. I always say it's better to get it done right the first time, as there’s always time to do it right the second. We have ironed out a lot of these difficulties and I’m confident in our ability to continue doing so in the future.
Having a good grasp of our customers’ needs – the so-called pain points – would be key in your role. How do you achieve this?
Understanding their pain points is my specialty. I like asking a lot of questions during our demos to understand what they’re struggling with, ensuring our product matches what they’re looking for. I’m not a salesperson by nature, I’m very technical by heart. When I hear that someone struggles with false positives or risk fatigue, I’m thinking: “Will our product solve that problem for them?” (The answer is yes, it does) I want to be sure that Hadrian is a good match and that I’m not just selling a dream to someone. What good would we be if we aren’t actually helping people?
That’s a great sales mindset. Any difficulties you’ve come across often in your demo with customers so far?
The language barrier can be tricky sometimes. Dutch is my third language, and I’m fluent in Dutch. However, if conversations speed up, multiple people begin talking over each other in excitement, or there are a lot of bigger new words, it can get a little difficult to follow along. The same goes for calls where there might be an entirely different language present that I don’t speak. I haven’t encountered a client without a common language yet, but we might in the future as our customer base is very international.
Cyber security is a blooming field, with new businesses, start-ups, and companies emerging every year. What are the challenges we’ve faced trying to put our product at an advantage in the industry?
One challenge that stands out is that we have so many ideas we want to do, and we want to do them all at once, but that’s not feasible, so we really have to take the time to plan and prioritize what needs to happen. In addition, we have to balance that with customer feedback and maintenance. Hadrian is a relatively new company, but we’ve done a great job so far breaking into the industry, and I’m so excited to see us grow.