Bob Kruse, CEO and co-founder of Revelstoke Security, shares his two biggest learnings from his success in the cybersecurity sales world and his role as CEO and co-founder of a cybersecurity company.
Bob began his career at F5 Networks in March 2002. He was drawn in by the human element of cybersecurity, or as he calls it the “cyber who done it”! He’s been able to watch this space evolve which has allowed him to advance and grow with it. Now in 2022, he continues in the field leading a company he co-founded.
#1 The transition between being a Sales Manager and becoming a CEO and co-founder is not for the faint of heart.
When you’re a sales manager, you have this sales mentality. You are ready to go, you’re always looking for new prospects and constantly promoting what you’re doing. Your entire job is to be good at selling, understanding what you're selling and how to work with people. Whereas as in this leadership position, you have to be good at more than one thing.
As CEO, you have to understand the metrics and finance. You need to learn how to communicate with the engineering staff and understand what they’re doing and why. Another important factor is picking the right investors because you’re going to lean on them as your primary mentors, so you need to make sure they add value. You have to know how to communicate with board members. It takes more organization and more discipline.
The number one thing Kruse has learned throughout the process is that you can’t be afraid to deliver bad news. This can be difficult for sales people as for the most part you try to be an eternal optimist, but in this role, you will have to deliver bad news, it will happen and that's okay.
#2 Picking a sales leader and team for your company, as a previous sales leader.
One of the things about sales people is we love controlling everything we possibly can around us! We like to be the decision makers, knowing how things are going to work, being able to control the information and we are always following the money. Handing over the reins for Kruse is something a bit new, but the biggest thing is you want to hire people better than you and then you want to let them run.
Hiring a CRO is incredibly important, it’s one of the first hires you will want to make. The goal is to understand that you need to understand your sell cycle completely. Once you understand how you’d buy, you can build a sales team around that.
In this case, Kruse’s platform is similar to what he's sold in the past so he understands their needs and problem statement. The CRO needs to be a CRO that can sell and close deals. Kruse needs a player and seller CRO because then they can scale the team in. He sells everyday so he expects the same out of the CRO.
Having a great network of people with a lot of great talent is an advantage in this situation. There are great candidates worldwide, and because of the new way of working, you can hire someone from virtually anywhere!
Another thing is being open to asking people for help when recruiting. You can’t be afraid to reach out in these situations, and you can’t be afraid to bring in new talent. Kruse’s focus is to create an open, trusted and empowered culture within Revelstoke.
We hope you were able to learn something from our conversation with Bob Kruse and 2 of his biggest learnings from his journey in cybersecurity sales. If you have any questions or would like to get in contact with Bob, you can do so here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading! Make sure to tune into the Sales Bluebird podcast https://www.salesbluebird.com/ for more small tips and big ideas about how to grow sales faster at your B2B cyber security company.
Bob Kruse episode