Tom Cross, VFC Sales Manager, MD5

Tom, you’re VFC Sales Manager at MD5. Tell us about your role: what does a day in your life look like?

A day in my life as VFC sales manager in a nutshell consists of me developing new and existing customer relationships, and promoting and pushing VFC as far as I possibly can. I spend a lot of my time researching potential customers. I feel that is very important to know who you will be dealing with. At the end of the day I am not only selling a product, I am also providing a service to our customers. This to me is the different between making sales and making customers. 

Not every day is the same and I absolutely love it. Some days I will be preparing for demonstrations and webinars. Some days I will be researching new markets. Other days I will be sorting through my emails and compiling quotations, along with other administrative type tasks. I am still new to this. I have only been in the field and job since February 2020 – and most of this has been interrupted by the pandemic! Hopefully, when all this is over, I can start going out on the road, visiting new and existing customers to showcase VFC in all of its glory! 

Can you tell us about your background? Why did you decide to work in this field?

In answer to the first part of the question – I have quite a varied background! The roles I have occupied have been sales oriented, but the industries have been very different.

Once completing university with a degree in business management, I just wanted to start working. When I did finish I managed to find work pretty much straight away, working for a small, family run business in the motorhome, towing, and trailer accessory industry. As it was a small business, I pretty much did bits of everything. I dealt with 99% of customer enquiries – from quotations (for standard and bespoke enquiries) to full demos of the products that we offered. 

I then managed to find myself in a quotation advisor role for an organisation in the data and power management industry. I think the job title pretty much tells you what I did there. I then left this role to become a sales and service coordinator for an industrial and waste water pump company. And finally, here I am today, VFC sales manager of MD5, in the digital forensic world. 

I will be honest; the position caught my eye first. Don’t ask me why, but I have always wanted to work in sales. Once I heard of the position, I looked into the industry and was instantly excited. I love learning. I love finding out new things. I have never done anything remotely like this before and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Of course, with my background, I was taking a huge leap of faith having no knowledge of what you are going into – but that’s the most exciting part! 

Please talk us through VFC and some of its main features; what’s exciting to your customers about it?

How long have you got? I will try to keep this brief! 

  • VFC’s ability to create the VM in literally minutes. 
  • Password reset and bypass tools. 
  • The ‘experience’ VFC has gained over the years. 
  • Conversion of live accounts to local accounts. 
  • The ease of access.
  • Restore point. 
  • Versatility.
  • Caters for pretty much every operating system. 
  • Ability to create a standalone copy. 

I could go on and on and on.  It is easy to list the features. What is exciting is the benefits that VFC offers. 

What advantages do users realize when they can create a virtual machine of a target system? What about this capability gives VFC an edge over other forensic tools?

The advantages are what excite our customers. The speed, the understandability, the versatility, the no nonsense, the experience. The time saved itself makes VFC an incredibly powerful tool. Human error is avoided, the evidence gathered using VFC is black and white. As previously discussed, I have walked into the industry with 0 experience and I can use VFC with ease. Literally anyone can use it. You can access proprietary software just as the suspect would have been able to. I could go on and on. You know the saying ‘save the best ‘til last‘ – VFC enables the Investigator to see the digital data through your suspect’s eyes. 

VFC is in no way designed to replace existing tools already in the field. There are tools out there that are fantastic at what they do – VFC is 100% included in this. It’s different – it is designed to work alongside these other tools. At the end of the day, the whole point in an investigation is to find, collect and present evidence in the best possible format. VFC is the perfect tool to help maximise the credibility of the report. A picture paints 1000 words! 

What are some of the biggest challenges your customers are reflecting that face digital forensic investigators today, and how does VFC help to address these?

Being able to save time obviously helps the investigator. The time saved using VFC can be used elsewhere. Being new to the industry and learning about all the tools, VFC is one of the best out there, and I am not just saying that. I’d more than happily prove that with a demo! Keeping a Judge and jurors engaged can be difficult. Being presented with something they have no background knowledge on can be confusing. VFC bridges the gap. Everyone knows what a computer screen looks like. 

Is there a typical VFC user — or any you’d like to see become typical, regularly solving problems by using VFC?

The typical user is obviously law enforcement. This speaks for itself. Once people know about VFC and its capabilities, they will realise they can use it for much more than what they already do. I want to be able to push VFC into the financial investigator/ forensic accountancy world. Discussed in the previous question, VFC bridges that gap and any can use it.

I also want to get it into universities. The majority of our customers in the UK are law enforcement and they do use VFC regularly.  I think it is only logical that students are exposed to this during their course. 

Finally, when you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

At the moment, I don’t do a great deal haha! #pandemicproblems. However, I am a very passionate football (soccer) supporter. Outside of work, it governs my life haha! Aside from that, I play a few instruments – mainly piano and guitar. I have no shame in saying this – I also love Pokémon and have for the last 20+ years. I also seem to get tattooed quite a lot, before the pandemic, I was in the studio at least once a month haha!

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