Meet George Vukcevich, Respond Software’s New Vice President of Sales
George Vukcevich is excited to join Respond Software as the company’s new Vice President of Sales, where he looks forward to growing the sales organization to position Respond as a market leader in security operations center (SOC) automation for major global enterprises, particularly Fortune 1000 companies.
A husband, proud father, and enthusiastic sports fan who was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, George also has an impressive professional track record. His numerous successes were built over the course of a nearly three-decade-long career in technology sales and management. These include developing the sales strategies and organizations that powered the rapid growth (eventual acquisition) of early-stage startups including Fortify (acquired by Hewlett Packard for $300 million) and Prevoty (acquired by Imperva for $140 million) and leading sales teams at IBM, Cisco and SGI.
“I’m looking forward to being able to make security analysts’ lives better,” George says. “By taking human knowledge and understanding, and combining them with insights from machine learning, Respond has solved the problem of false-positive alerts. There’s a lot of hype and promise in the industry, but the difference with Respond is that it really does take away the noise. This eliminates the mundane and repetitive tasks from security analysts’ responsibilities and instead allows them to do more satisfying work—to focus on fulfilling their core mission.”
A seasoned sales leader with distinct objectives
George’s Bay Area roots run deep. A lifelong Giants and 49ers fan, he’s also witnessed firsthand the explosive growth of Silicon Valley’s software industry, which has transformed the region into a global center for innovation. Working his way up through the ranks in the sales departments of several multinational technology companies there, he’s kept his finger on the pulse of the industry, cultivating an intimate understanding of its trends and tendencies along the way. He’s also learned which sales and sales management strategies work.
“My job is to be able to formulate and articulate a clear ROI for Respond’s solution,” says George. “And to make sure every member of the sales team is able to do that, too.”
He has a penchant for clarity and a flair for explaining complex concepts in clear, everyday terms. “I look at things in a very simple way,” he says. “That is: Can I explain the value to a seventh-grader? Respond’s value is easy to understand. If we can bring machine learning and human intelligence together to solve some of the industry’s biggest problems and remove the most labor-intensive demands being placed on security analysts, it’s a win for everyone. This should be a no-brainer for the business.”
George notes that Respond’s technology is unique in that it’s designed to work in heterogeneous environments, eliminating vendor lock-in. “Other vendors’ solution sets don’t expand outside their platform,” he notes. “With Respond you can use multiple different solutions and data stores and data lakes, and we can sort through it all to provide you with the most valuable information.”
It’s also capable of minimizing the negative consequences of one of the biggest overall problems in security operations: short average job tenures among security analysts. “When analysts leave an employer, they take their tribal knowledge with them,” George says. “One of the best things about Respond is that its expertise stays with the company that implements it. Even when the best employees leave, the software remains embedded in the organization.”
Winning sales strategy for challenging economic times
The advantages that Respond’s product brings its customers have never been more important than they are in today’s economic climate. “The global pandemic has changed everything,” says George. “When it comes to enterprise sales, it’s like we’re working in an entirely new world.”
Enterprise software sales have long been relationship-driven. “It’s always been a very personal process,” says George. “My teams have always established deep relationships with our customers, identifying champions, taking them out to dinner, investing time and effort into understanding their needs and motivations, making sure we know their business goals. In today’s video conferencing-based sales environments, we have to get used to a different methodology of selling.”
“When economic times are challenging, it’s absolutely critical to focus on ROI,” George says. “Whereas before we could do soft selling, today we have to give prospects the cold, hard facts. We have to present the business case for buying Respond. Sales reps have to be very clear on the value we deliver.”
“Currently, Fortune 500 companies are facing extraordinary challenges in the global market. They are still obligated to grow value for their shareholders while navigating uncertain market forces, the fallout from a global pandemic and a dispersed workforce that expands their risk exposure. Sales teams need to be able to provide them with metrics—a concise demonstration of value that’s necessary to move transactions forward.”
Building a future-focused sales organization
One of George’s goals at Respond is to initiate a concerted sales and marketing effort to target larger enterprise accounts. “In the past, Respond did a lot of opportunistic selling. Instead, going forward, we’re going to focus on targeting large accounts in the sectors where Respond software can provide the most value. These include retail, financial services, healthcare, and insurance.”
“The key is being able to provide tangible results,” he adds. “And having a solution that, when it's embedded in the fabric of the enterprise, will measurably improve security operations.”