Sales at Databricks

Oracle CWdK07
Nov 6 3 Comments

Hi, thanks for reading this message.

I'm interviewing for a sales role at Databricks, and was hoping current and/or former reps from could provide some insight on the current state of sales. I have a dozen or so questions, but will limit myself to three:

1. It's my understanding that the company has moved beyond the "educate about Spark" phase, and has moved on to focus more on their Delta Lake and ML Flow solutions. Is that correct? I can well understand the value of these initiatives, and am somewhat familiar with the open source model, but I'm still not sure how the company expects to monetize those solutions/initiatives. And to put it another way, frankly, as a rep is there enough of a potential return to make working for them worthwhile.

2. Who are the company's primary competitors? I heard Snowflake mentioned a lot, and AWS EMR was as well. I was told that the competitors that Gartner lists (e.g. H20.ai, DataMiner) are never seen in engagements.

3. Clearly the sales org has grown significantly. What's the biggest problem facing it now? Org confusion? Morale? Too many reps? Unfair territory allocation? Product confusion? Lack of training?

Thanks alot, any insight would be appreciated!

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TOP 3 Comments
  • Databricks Room429
    To answer a few of these questions:
    1. We still sell our Spark solution. We have a simple cloud software/platform as a service model that is based on consumption. No seat fees, no yearly license fees. ML Flow is free and open source, so we don't plan to monetize that. Delta has also been added to the Linux Foundation recently, but we have a slight charge for that since it requires processing to read.
    2. AWS EMR is a similar product that performs worse, is less user friendly, but costs less. We provide a better service and charge more for it. We also contribute to open source spark, but Amazon doesn't. https://spark.apache.org/committers.html there are no Amazon names there.
    Snowflake is a partner. They do the data warehouse/database part very well. We do the deep learning, machine learning, ETL piece well.
    3. Lack of training for the sales people is an issue. Morale is good as we just had a big funding round with an increased valuation.
    Nov 7 1
    • Oracle CWdK07
      OP
      Thank you for the excellent and comprehensive responses; I appreciate it. Your pragmatic answers indicate you are in sales. If I may, from a competitive perspective, I've also heard that besides AWS EMR, Snowflake is considered (or will be) a competitor since the feeling I get from a brief discussion with some management at Databricks is that the company has ambitions to move into a more ETL oriented product stance in order to generate the revenue necessary to justify the company's capitalization. We're running up against Snowflake increasingly but I don't really see the competitive connection. But I'm more on the transactional rather than the DW side of the house so I don't know all the details on their solution. Are you guys seeing Snowflake?
      Nov 7
  • Oracle CWdK07
    OP
    Of possible interest regarding this subject, I found the following comment describing Databricks' sales culture. Do sales people at Databricks agree with the writer's impression? As a rep, it sounds genuine to me.

    "Grit" is what leadership wants in salespeople. Long hours is the norm. AEs strictly managed to sales process with little freedom to deviate. Especially hard for opps brought by platform partners in which customer doesn't want to be "sold" to again. Must submit recording of yourself giving the prescribed pitch - likely multiple times, as the positioning changes quickly. Lots of data collection (meeting counts, call counts, use of systems, etc). Long-time solution architects hard to get access too unless opp is highly qualified and substantial. Newbies on their own. Success dependent on accounts you're given. Average sales earnings in 2019 likely substantially lower than 2018 given how many salespeople added.
    Nov 7 0

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