Last night, Betts Recruiting hosted an expert panel event featuring tech sales representatives from EverString, GitHub, Tintri, Periscope Data, and Samsara. The event focused on how people from all backgrounds can break into the tech scene. If you missed the event you can check out our Facebook Live video here or read the following synopsis. Below are highlights from the main topics of the event: what background did you have before sales, what hesitations did you have, what does sales look like in daily life, and what advice do you have?
There is no such thing as a sales education. Each of the panelists came from different backgrounds and ended up in the tech industry. Tanner Hogan from GitHub came from recruiting and Mike Zahuta from Periscope Data came from nursing. The panelists discussed their different education levels, interview processes they went through, and turning points in their career. Although their professional experience differed dramatically, each speaker touched on intangible characteristics, such as enjoying working with people and being helpful, which brought them to where they are today.
Hesitations About Working in Sales
The sales scene has changed dramatically. Each panelist discussed the hesitations they overcame before diving into a tech sales position. Carolyn Feibleman of EverString discussed how most people in sales are men, and the apprehension she overcame regarding breaking into the industry and becoming successful. “Graduating from an all-women’s college, I didn’t know of a lot of successful women in sales and was nervous about the ‘sleazy salesman’ culture,” Feibleman discussed. Choosing a career in sales was different than most of her other classmates. Alex Fisher of Samsara discussed his change from a larger company to a smaller startup environment and the hesitations that stemmed from the switch. “Everything you do has a big impact, which means you have the opportunity to prove yourself but you also have to overcome being self-conscious.” Fisher stressed how sales is a great industry for self-motivated people who are willing to learn and have the drive to succeed.
What Working in Sales is “Really” Like
Each of the panelists broke down their actual roles and what the sales industry is like today. Zahuta discussed the negative stereotype of sales on the day-to-day. “Coming from a nursing background, I was surprised at how much I could help people in sales,” Zahuta said. Hogan added, “My entire company likes to help the developer community, it’s our main driver.” The collaborative nature of tech sales is something each panelist touched on as being part of their daily activities. The amount of learning involved is integral to a successful sales team, so utilizing the experience around you is key. It’s not the cutthroat environment you see in the movies.
Advice To New Sales People
Each of the speakers ended the discussion with a piece of advice for the audience. Max Branman of Tintri stressed that, “the most important thing has been to be coachable. Always be willing to learn from others and take little tidbits from colleagues, managers, and anyone around you to help you grow.” All of the panelists encouraged the audience to leverage their network, know who they are, and find a job that plays to their strengths. Moving beyond your comfort zone and getting past the hesitations that arise from not knowing about an industry like sales can lead you to an amazing career.