Tori Ward isn’t your average account manager. With almost 20 years in the cybersecurity industry, she knows the sector better than most — and could work just about anywhere. So why did she join CrowdStrike as regional sales manager for the North Central team? For one, because it has so much more to offer than a typical up-and-coming tech company. CrowdStrike may be relatively young, but our workforce is chock-full of seasoned experts with deep experience across a variety of fields, and they bring their perspectives to the table every day.
In the latest installment of 5 Questions, we talk to Tori about her decision to join CrowdStrike and why she thinks it was “the absolute best choice” she could have made in her impressive career journey.
Q. Having worked in the cybersecurity industry for a long time, do you think there are any misconceptions about this field, or about CrowdStrike in particular?
In the past, I think people thought of the industry as being really “techie” — which is to say, kind of boring. I don’t know if that’s true anymore since people are more familiar with the concept of cybersecurity, but I think that was an issue in the past.
That said, there may still be an idea that you need a technology background to work in the industry. But you don’t, and I’m a perfect example. I just need to understand the business problem. So people might think, “I couldn’t do that. It’s too specialized.” But that’s not what it’s about. It’s more about understanding people and being able to connect the dots, as opposed to how the tool operates.
Q. Tell me a little more about that. What do you mean by “understanding the business problem”?
While there are many resources at CrowdStrike and I work on a nine-person sales team, I work most often with my assigned sales engineer. We are definitely a duo. My job is to understand the customer’s needs and connect all those dots. On a day-to-day basis, I focus on the accounts that I call on, understanding what their problems are, understanding where they are in their journey of security, understanding the people who run security in that organization and their issues.
Then, once we understand the issues, my engineer and I drill into the solutions we offer and how CrowdStrike can help. We come up with specific ideas that we could bring to the customer and highlight the benefits, as opposed to asking very generically, “Do you want a meeting?”
That approach has served me really well, not just at CrowdStrike but in general. It’s important to understand the accounts first and then try to go in with a solution for them.
Q. What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The best part of my job is being able to truly solve a problem for a customer. That’s something that is really different here because everything we do is to help the customer. While that’s true of a lot of companies, it feels unique here because our work is very visible to the customer. The impact is almost immediate. Once the customer starts using our product, they understand our value right away. When we roll out to their entire environment, that’s when the customer really sees how much easier their life is — how those parts of their job that used to be real pain points are just gone with CrowdStrike.
For example, I had a call this morning with a customer. They are a large enterprise organization with thousands of users. They had called about a small division, one that operates on its own from an IT and security perspective, that had undergone a massive breach. Everything was encrypted. This division’s current security provider — not CrowdStrike — basically told them there was nothing they could do to help. So the call today was really to talk about how we could bring them into the fold. How quickly could we do that and make an impact? That’s really rewarding. We were on the call for 25 minutes and we came up with a plan and then got to work. Almost all of these use cases are solvable with the right people, skills and tools. We have those at CrowdStrike, which is super rewarding.
Q. Do you think that kind of enthusiasm is part of the CrowdStrike culture?
Absolutely. The excitement is very obvious here. There is an overall buzz that is pretty consistent. Part of it could be about the stock price, which is phenomenal, or that we get new customers all the time. These are things that I would say are unusual in this industry, but normal for CrowdStrike.
I also think the organization benefits from having a leader who is really present and visible. That sense of leadership trickles down to our people and our clients. All of us have a sense of how we take care of each other, our partners and our clients. That’s really important to me — that there is a sense of positive leadership in the company.
Q. What else do you think is different about working at CrowdStrike?
I was in my previous role for so long, and I think that there were a lot of things that I was stuck in my way about. Little things, like the type of computer I was using or not knowing much about Slack. I worked at my last employer for 20 years, so coming in, I knew there would be differences and I would have to learn. And it turns out I love doing it. The systems are really easy to use. It’s actually very freeing to be able to really do your business on your own, which I wasn’t able to do in the past. That’s one of the things I love about working here, that it pushes me to do things differently.
I think there are a lot of practices at CrowdStrike that are meant to streamline work and make the job easier. It’s a new tech company — not some stodgy old organization that’s had to rework itself. It’s seamless. I love that. And I love that I thought I would hate that because it’s a change, but it’s been a super positive change. Coming here makes me think change in general is good.
Are you interested in a career in Sales at CrowdStrike? Visit the CrowdStrike Careers page to browse open positions and share your resume today.