Living with Salespeople

OnePageCRM’s Galway headquarters are currently being renovated and the accommodation is slightly cramped at the moment. I’ve moved into the same room as the sales team, and while this has it’s disadvantages (no space for my second monitor!), it’s not a big problem for me. Like many developers, I like to program with earphones on - sometimes I play blues rock, sometimes it’s something more upbeat - but sometimes like to leave the music off and listen to what’s going on in the office. I listen to the sales team, their discussions, their planning sessions and most interestingly, their phone calls.

Personally, I not a fan of being sold to, I’ll try to get off the phone as quickly as possible when I get a call from my mobile phone company or health insurance supplier. It’s just the way I am - I figure I don’t need to listen to these characters and can find a better deal somewhere else without the hard sell. But as I listen to Kevin, Carmel and the rest of the team make their calls, I find myself thinking maybe I’ve underestimated the work these guys do. I’m amazed how cheerful, interested and concerned these guys are when dealing with our customers. They never seem to be in a bad mood and always willing to chat. From hearing the other side of the conversation, I’m convinced they’re interested in helping people get the most from OnePageCRM if it’s the right tool for them.

I find myself thinking maybe if I got a call from one of these guys maybe I wouldn’t be so quick to hang up the phone.

Similarities and Differences

One similarity that stood out to me is the importance of picking the right tools. While we developers have our gits, our Jiras, our terminals, the sales team have Talkdesk, Mailchimp and OnePageCRM. I used to think an excel spreadsheet was all a sales person would need and I suppose the sales team wouldn’t readily notice the difference between Windows Notepad and SublimeText.

The differences too are obvious - the main difference between our workflows seems to be the turn around time on tasks. Where I might need to spend a day or two researching an issue, the sales team are always focused on that one Next Action - a quick phone call, a follow up email, an introductory tweet. This difference could cause misunderstandings - “Why can’t that dev just check those server logs like I asked?” vs “Can’t they see I’m in the middle of something, I can’t do that now!”. Each side has a point and it’s hard to find the perfect balance.

Respect for Salespeople

In a previous life, I ran my own business in adventure tourism sector. As a one man show, I had to shoehorn my skills into every aspect of the business.

I wasn’t a good salesman - I got a fright every time the phone rang. Watching the professionals do it, it’s now clear to me what I was lacking.

It’s been great to spend some time in close quarters learning about each other’s jobs and workflows. I have a new found respect for “Sales Guys” and quickly realised there’s no way I could do what they do. I’m looking forward to the quieter surroundings of our new offices, but I’ll be keeping an ear on the other side of the room every now and then.

Who knows, I could even pick up a few sales tips.

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Peter Armstrong

Peter is a software engineer at OnePageCRM.