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What interests devs/technical people about sales?

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A few weeks ago, I sent a survey around a few online tech-related groups I'm on. I was looking for things to talk about on my blog, as I wasn't getting anywhere with the audience I wanted to sell to.

The #1 topic people wanted to hear me talk about was sales.

When I started as a programmer, sales was typically considered a nuisance because of the age-old problem of over-selling capabilities. Devs, of course, couldn't talk to the customer at most companies, so the "sales engineer" role evolved to be a sales role for tech people.

I'm curious what everyone here thinks. Does anything interest you about sales?

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As a developer I would say the most interesting aspect of sales is what potential clients we might work with, and also what potential (or actual) projects we would work on for them.

Some clients can be really great to work with, be in an interesting field of work, others can be a bit more "high maintenance", or an area I find a bit boring, so I am curious to know who they are and what they do.

The company I currently work for likes to create long-term relationships with clients.

Also in terms of projects some sound really interesting and others not so much. Interesting might be doing something I have not done before, or leveraging past experience to create something awesome for a new client, be because of the proposed technologies used, or be the impact of the new thing on the market / people's lives.

Fortunately most companies I have worked for during my IT career involve developers in the sales process, so that usually means being in meetings with potential clients to hear their needs and discuss possibilities, or helping write responses to tenders.

At my current employer, everyone is encouraged to be on the lookout for opportunities for new work.

 

At my job, our main salesperson gets on our morning standup once a week and we talk all about sales. The important parts (and the questions the devs ask) are:

  1. what are potential clients looking for in our application that's not there?
  2. what's a feature we've developed that wows clients?
  3. what features have we developed that resulted in sales? Did feature X get that one wary client over to our side?
  4. how much estimated revenue did project X result in?
  5. what is confusing to potential clients about the product? How can we improve this?
  6. Does our competitor have something that we don't?
  7. Clients that don't want to switch (or that do want to switch) from a competitor, why? What brought them or is not bringing them over?

Etc. basically, we all want to see the impact of our work and how we can maximize our own efforts to multiply that impact.

Our salesperson has been amazing especially at communicating with us. These discussions make you really care about UX because we get that feedback. Not just from our salesperson who has to demo our app, but from potential clients, new clients, and even existing clients.

Hope this helps!

 

As a developer I didn't pay any attention to sales. In fact, I hated working with members of sales team. But as I grew in my career, I attest what Sam Altman, president of Y-Combinator said about career growth:

Most careers turn into sales jobs when you get senior enough

Now that I'm a CTO, I get into sales calls. I am a front face for my company. So if you want to grow in your tech career, you need to understand sales. In fact you may have to be a member of the sales team.

If you become a startup founder, then it is inevitable that you sell.

P.S: If you are interested in how I prepare for sales calls, you can read my latest blog post here: Mastering sales as a CTO

 

Simply put, without sales, what ever you are developing wont be around long. So I care about sales because I care about the thing I'm working on.

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