Last updated at Mon, 25 Sep 2017 19:36:50 GMT

This post is a Q&A with John O'Donnell, Director of Sales at Rapid7. For more information about career opportunities with Rapid7, visit

Q: What separates Rapid7 from other security or software companies in the area?

A: The diversity we have here separates us from the competition. Our teams are created by integrating people from all walks of life and then submerging them in the ever-changing and exciting cybersecurity industry. The belief is that you will change your career five times in life and once you move into your second career your goals often shift to loftier financial goals. However, without the proper experience it can be hard to make that transition and achieve those goals. Rather than focusing on direct experience, Rapid7 has created a work environment where people create a mosaic. So no matter what dream you were following before, we help our employees grow together to create success together.

Unlike other companies that are challenged by slower growth, Rapid7 has more opportunities for its employees to grow and further their careers. We have a 90 percent promotion rate from the Business Development Representative (BDR) program to Account Executive roles and are proud to say that nine out of 10 current managers started as either an AE or in the BDR program.

Q: What kind of advantage can someone expect to have starting in Q4 or the end of the year at Rapid7?

A: By starting in Q4, you can be in a position to ramp up more quickly and experience more volume of activity during the busiest time of the year. While some may be reluctant to start at the end of the year because of the anticipated learning curve, by starting in Q4 you have the opportunity to hit the ground running, go through the enablement program and be part of the excitement during a peak time of year. Essentially, you'll be able to shadow and align with peer members of the Rapid7 sales team and collaborate on many opportunities as businesses close out the year and finalize their investment in cybersecurity software.

Additionally, you'll get more exposure as the team builds out the strategy and sets goals for the new year. This will allow you to understand the expectations for Q1 while also having gone through training and being exposed to the busier time of year. By the time you attend the global sales kickoff in Q1, you're already trained and have the opportunity to make the most of a full year. By investing your time to training during Q4 you're really investing in your career and creating the opportunity to have a significant financial impact at the end of the sales year. The possibility of something happening (like a bonus or a deal coming in) could have someone waiting forever, but there comes a time when you need to close the door, open a new window and look forward.

Q: What can a new Account Executive expect during the initial ramp up period?

A: The enablement program at Rapid7 is split into a few weeks of training. The first two weeks are classroom training where Rapid7 specialists from other departments give lessons that focus on sales methodology to product line information to the overall competitive and industry market. The next few weeks are meant to expand on the classroom training by focusing on heavy collaboration and role playing to get comfortable speaking to products and services. The final two weeks are spent getting involved in day to day tasks with managers, directors and team leads. However, training is ongoing at Rapid7 with leaders providing industry updates, marketplace trends and skills sharing.

Q: How does Rapid7 support new AE's to help ensure success?

A: In addition to ongoing enablement and training, each new hire is assigned a mentor – someone that's separate from the enablement team, manager or director. Your mentor will meet with you throughout the day and have an end of day meeting to review overall successes, challenges and outlook for the next day. Outside of the daily mentor meetings, there are scheduled one-on-one meetings with managers or team leads for coaching sessions as well as regular team meetings to talk through successes and challenges. Because we focus on getting new AEs ramped up quickly and efficiently, most new hires are able to close their first deal within 60 days.

Q: How are territories broken out for new AE's and what does a typical day look like?

A: We've developed a scoring system to make sure territories are properly defined based on the number of prospects and past experiences with Rapid7. Territories can be entire states or cities within, but the scoring metric makes it fair for all team members. On a typical day, the team starts with either a team meeting, training or industry perspective during the morning session. After that, the team goes into reviews with security engineers for meetings or calls scheduled for the day. The rest of the day consists of following up with current customers, prospects and opportunities they are currently engaged. The focus is to help our clients understand the technology, industry and making sure they are comfortable with creating a meaningful partnership with Rapid7.

Q: What attributes do the top performing AE's at Rapid7 have?

A: Our top performers have an entrepreneur mentality and approach their territory as their own individual business within Rapid7. The most successful people here get submerged within the security community. They attend networking events and focus on understanding the industry to provide clients with cutting edge insight on what the bad guys are doing to influence the space and how Rapid7 technology and services can provide value to their business. The top performers are the true definition of a rock star: they are able to perform, have a huge fan base and their dedication and passion to keep that fan base happy is second to none.

In my opinion, the most successful AEs at Rapid7 have the drive not to fail. They are passionate about their career and their lifestyle. They are looking to work hard and have the understanding that through that hard work they will advance their career and achieve their goals.