Conversations at PreSales Collective's NYC Networking Event
In order to continue to sustain my exposure to tech, I made the two and a half hour bus ride out to Manhattan one sunny afternoon in order to learn more about this exploding community of technologists who label themselves as Sales Engineers, Solutions Architects, Presales Consultants, etc...I'll refer to them as Sales Engineers because that's the verbiage that I've been exposed to most frequently.
Anyway, I made my way over to Tito Murphy's, where PreSales Collective, an active community of Sales Engineers, was hosting a networking event. As I stepped through the doors, I sensed that all the attendee were exultant to be there, which I can't say about many of the tech events I attend.
Sales Engineers Out In Full Force!
I immediately struck up a conversation with Kris Hubert about the Sales Engineering profession. After a good five minutes, the conversation quickly shifted to the distinction between data centers and the cloud.
Such a tech heavy conversation isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I found the conversation riveting. Kris and I visited the deepest depths of tech infrastructure as we exchanged ideas and outlooks. What was most striking about the conversation is that Kris was able to walk me through a fiendishly difficult concept in a matter of about three minutes!
Enterprise level Cloud infrastructure and data centers can be tough topics to absorb. Once you get it, you get it, but it may take a while getting there and I haven't gotten there yet, where ever that is. Despite my neophyte status, Kris took the time to explain the discrepancies that emerge when you get knee deep into the definitions of a data warehouse and a cloud platform. And again, he did this in about three minutes!
Not the Same Thing
Kris is a master communicator and I made sure to inquire about how he was able to so gracefully provide an explanation on the spot. He further took the time to explain how fundamentally, Sales Engineering is a people business and the only way to improve communication is getting in front of customers, getting your ass kicked on tough demos, and learning from the experience.
After listening to a few speeches, and participating in some photo sessions, I struck up another conversation, this time from Craig Hooper. He illuminated that in the Sales Engineering profession, some roles are more tech heavy than others and the roles which require a bit more tech savviness will ask you to perform some programming tasks as part of the job.
This was news to me!
I had an idea that possessing strong tech skills would only help me as a sales engineer, but I wasn't aware of how crucial they could be. After speaking with Craig, I now think of sales engineering roles Existing on a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum exists "Tech" roles, and on the other end, exist "business-y" roles. I'm not sure where I lie yet, but I'm good with tech and I can communicate well.
The event was jam packed with excellent conversations from start to finish. Another notable interaction was with Prashanth Ganesh. I thought my two and a half hour bus ride was an indication of my tireless dedication to the sales engineering profession, but Prashanth traveled all the way from India to have conversations with engineers and to promote his business. I was absolutely astonished and I wish Prashanth well with all his ventures.
Prashanth and I
Also, I'm glad that I ran into Josh Hoge. Josh regaled me with lively stories about his time in Pakistan, which I enjoyed listening to because I returned from Lahore about 2 months prior. Meeting Josh reassured me that there's room in Sales Engineering for everyone. Like me, he doesn't possess the standard tech background, which usually entails obtaining a 4 year computer science degree. But here he is, kicking ass on his job.
Making the trip out to NYC to meet this community was more than worth it. I would find it difficult to engage in such impactful conversations otherwise. When I left the event, I sensed that I was a better sales engineer for attending and being open to conversations.
Finally, I couldn't end this blog without a massive shoutout to the Kaikis brothers, James and Chris, and the rest of the PreSales Collective team, which includes Yuji Higashi, Kevin Mefford and Shawna James. James Kaikis has been a tireless cultivator of the Sales Engineering community and is always down for a chat on the Pre Sales Collective Slack Channel. The reason the Pre Sales Collective tour turned out so well is in large part due to Chris' careful effort in organizing a large part of the venture. Thanks James, Chris, and Pre Sales Collective!!
James and Chris
I'm jubilant that Sales Engineering is a profession that even exists. If your team is hiring Sales Engineers, or you just want to have a conversation on anything other than C++, email me at [email protected] or check out my LinkedIn.
Thanks for reading 😎