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Programmers v Salespeople Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 10:21 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Programmers v Salespeople






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Post #1253585
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 10:55 PM


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20+ years as a technology professional, so just guess my answer to this question. PLEEEEEEAAAAASE. Are you kidding me?

Jay Quincy Allen, Managing Partner, ADAMA Systems
Post #1253593
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 12:00 AM
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If your compensation as a programmer or a DBA is aligned to a certain vendor / stack then you should be hoping that the salesperson is competent and very well paid. You should also not begrudge them if they do earn more than you.

IT departments might think they drive transformation in an organization but most companies view their IT department as cost centers. Enter the salesperson to sell the value of their technology, for business as usual and for the future, while trying to align the technology to the business drivers and challenges of the organization.

If the salesperson does a poor job of it and cannot make their targets then they're goneski while a programmer on the other hand will most likely earn a salary for far longer while under-performing. The salesperson who does a great job however also gets you the latest gear for the programmers to build their job security on.

I'd propose though that a developer who is independent, in demand and bills per hour probably earns as much as a successful salesperson.
Post #1253630
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 2:13 AM


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I heard an experiment the other day about peoples attitudes towards good wine.

Test subjects were put in an MRI and given wine.

Some were told the wine was cheap rubbish while others were told that it was rare expensive and of the highest quality.

Those that were told that it was expensive experienced visible improvements in their brain reaction. Coming from a technical background I would hope that such statements would not sway my opinion but deep down I probably realise that it would affect me in some way. I've heard of other research that shows that children enjoy apples better if they see them coming out of MacDonalds bags.

I think we all realise that there must be more intrinsic value to science based disciplines than the kind of artistic soft skills required for selling.

But having someone out there who really sells your product can add to the received quality of that product whether real or not.
Post #1253674
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 2:58 AM


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Started my career as a sales person. Then, became a general IT person (programmer, database admin, web admin, etc).

I can tell you from experience, it was much easier to become a sales person than an IT person. I could train you to sell a product or service in a week but cannot teach you everything you need to know to replace a tech person in that same time period.
Post #1253696
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 3:01 AM


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I do think that good developers and technical staff are harder to replace. You don't need exceptional specific knowledge to do sales. There are so many fields where within 6 months I have had to become almost expert across the board in a topic I had never previously visited, in a way that none of the clients I develop for have to be - admittedly without depth in some important areas.

However that is not to say I think good sales is 'less' worthwhile - it's generally an essential part of any business with a large effect on viability and profitability. Good salesmen are brilliant to work with and will smooth the paths we need to tread as technical guys. I wouldn't care to do it - I'm uncomfortable when stuck in a room of strangers to network, and all the other things that need doing. Phone calling saps my energy in a way that creative development does not.

I think as long as top performers could aspire to a similar level of pay in either sphere I would be happy. In my prior experience to my current job, salespeople always got better renumeration - here we don't really have any!
Post #1253700
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 4:33 AM
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having had experience of both roles I woud say in imho that the overlap of skills required goes mostly one way -

most techie people have to have some element of a salesperson in them (you never had to 'sell' your app/code etc to a not easily pleased group of end users??)

, but most salespeople are not that techie.

So of course, programmers win!


Post #1253751
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 4:52 AM
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I think the best sales people I have worked with were natural at it. They were fearless in talking to complete strangers about something the person might not be interestet at all and networked with ease.

I think these people have talent that is hard to teach.

I have been involved in many pre-sale activities as a technical person and its easy to try to sell to someone you know is interested and is actively looking for a product like yours. But that is not the same as the "cold" contact these natural salespeople master.

I think I have to agree with some of the other replies that the best in each category should have similar compensation as the two groups usually need each other.
Post #1253754
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 5:11 AM
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I would suggest that a well developed IT product can sometimes sell itself. Also, you can have the absolute BEST salespeople in the world, but if the product is crap, you won't be in business for very long.

IT people win
Post #1253767
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 5:40 AM
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A programmer produces value, a seller produces money. Money wins every time!
Post #1253782
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