Today we meet Pascaline, sales rep extraordinaire. She arrived at Nuxeo two years ago and is taking care of the French public sector. I had a chance to chat with her during one of our many lunches at La Piscine, our Parisian neighborhood restaurant.
Tell me about your role at Nuxeo. I’m on the Sales team and I handle the following sectors: public, banking, insurance, transportation and media in France. In my role, I look for new customers, help them understand how Nuxeo can work for their projects, organize demos, and advise them in their different choices, with some help from the PreSales guys. I also tell them about our partners, service and support offering, training and development team.
What brought you to Nuxeo? The European Director of Sales was looking for someone in the public sector area, and we had already worked together in the past in the same area, so he asked me to join his team.
Can you tell us more about working with public sector clients? I started two years ago, with a strong focus on Research and Education, then collectivities. They are the people I like to work with. I’ve also started working on some private accounts, which is a new and very interesting challenge.
Isn’t it a little too easy to sell content management in a country that loves bureaucracy as much as France? [Laughs] Yes and no. Yes, it’s easy because there is always a need for an ECM solution. No, because these people like paper so much they want to keep it! Enterprise Content Management system implies change, and users are not always ready to change their familiar habits.
Fortunately, we found some people who are really motivated and always willing to move forward and improve the way things are done. The difficulty often lies in convincing the users.
What did you do before joining Nuxeo? For 13 years before coming to Nuxeo, I was working for a hardware manufacturer, NEC. I sold desktop computers, notebooks and servers in the public sector. For 8 years before that, I was working for a printer manufacturer – Mannesmann Tally. That was my first experience in the IT industry. Previously, I had a 2-year stint running my own clothing shop. That was a really good experience. And before that I was working in real estate, after my training as a notary public at the Ecole de Notariat de Paris. So after my training, I turned quickly to sales, which has a certain logic, as I like law for its rigorous side and I like sales for the human contact.
How different is it to work at Nuxeo compared to your previous jobs? I’ve kept working in the same area, with the same sort of indirect sales with a partner network. There is a real complicity between us and our partners – they are integrators, not retailers. We work closely together, and some are like colleagues.
But I went from the hardware to the software world, to the service world more precisely. So that’s quite different. At NEC, I was selling the quality of the computers and of the follow up customer service, and the attractiveness of the prices. And once the sale is done, it’s over. I recall a complex project, where a regional government wanted to equip every 11-year-old student with a computer. We bundled 8000 computers a year with software for education to give to each family. That kind of exciting project was rather scarce…
At Nuxeo, every project I’ve worked on has interesting aspects. They are all different really. It can be managing submarine missions, organizing social collaboration between PhDs, teachers, and students, or adapting Nuxeo Digital Asset Management system for a TV channel. You don’t succeed in projects like these just by installing the solution and praying that it will work nicely. I think you have to listen to the customer’s needs, to make sure that the result is what they expect, to help them, train them and accompany them in the changes it implies in their organization. And my role is also to follow this closely. Every successful project and every experience enhances the platform. Whatever the size of the project, you always learn. It’s more interesting than selling hardware.
Do you always bring a PreSales engineer with you to meet customers? Yes, most of the time. With some customers it’s a little different. Some of them have already done a lot of research on the technical side of the platform. In the education world for instance, they communicate a lot with each other, help each other and sometimes have already made a lot of progress in their reasoning without our help. When they meet with us, they are already convinced, by their colleagues or by their own experience, that the Nuxeo technology is the right fit. In that case, I only have to present them our service offer based on Nuxeo Online Services.
Were you familiar with the open source business model before joining Nuxeo? No, I’m discovering it. It’s brilliant actually, everybody wins with this kind of model as it’s applied at Nuxeo. We don’t trap customers in a closed, license-based system. We work with them and our partners, so customers become autonomous, with a solution tailored to their own needs.
When prospects have a little time to invest, and they know what they want, then the choice of open source is evident. And our platform approach gives them a lot of freedom in terms of configuration and customization. For Nuxeo, every participant in the ecosystem contributes in one way or another to raise the quality of the platform, and broaden its functionalities.
It’s not too difficult to work in an environment surrounded by geeks? I was a little surprised at the beginning, and a little intimidated. They are rather shy, not really talkative… But I have two of them at home, my two boys, so I knew I needed a bit more time to get to know them. Now I find my colleagues very nice, sincere, and passionate. So it’s quite pleasant to be surrounded by these geeks. From time to time, they tease us a little about our salesperson image in comparison to their altruistic geekiness, but that’s just for fun right? Anyway there is a good atmosphere at Nuxeo, like a little family.
What do you do when you’re not busy selling Nuxeo? Not much! My two boys don’t really need me as much anymore, but I still take care of them. I’m a bit overprotective, I’m told. I stopped dancing and basketball a few years back, and now I go to the gym once a week. I also like parties, dancing, and having friends over. I like all games, like tarot, backgammon, foosball. I like to go to the movies to see fantasy or action films, and read thrillers. I’m also a big fan of Marvel comics superheroes. I watch a lot of American TV shows, and … I LOVE chocolate!
I heard you like to travel. Tell me about your last trip. Actually, I’m a bit scared of planes. But I can overcome this because curiosity motivates me. My last two trips were in the U.S. – the West Coast and New York. That was my dream from childhood. I have many memories of the beautiful countryside and new and interesting places. Everything is gigantic and I found Americans to be adorable, welcoming, friendly and cheerful. We could make some progress in that area in France. I also really enjoy going to Corsica.
And about this restaurant, what is this place? We’re at La Piscine! It’s a sort of Nuxeo team cafeteria. I usually eat lunch in our kitchenette, but when we have something to celebrate, we come here. It could be anything – a birthday, a new contract, a baby, the end of the week – all excuses are good ones! The host is really nice here, and the food is simple and good. The cocktails are very good too, even though I am more into wine. Cheers!