Komprise Sales Director Rob Kummer: Doing Business in 2023

Rob Kummer is the regional sales director at Komprise, based in Charlotte, NC. We caught with him to ask about selling in tech, and what customers and prospects are saying about unstructured data management



Komprise: You started your sales career in medical devices/biotech. How would you describe selling in that sector versus IT infrastructure products?

RK: It is very similar which is why I could make the transition. Both are a complex technical sale with long procurement and budget approval processes. Knowing how to handle a long complicated sales cycle is very important. The challenges are in getting to the right decision maker and helping them justify the costs.


Komprise: How has your job changed since the pandemic? Do you think the days of in-person selling and customer visits are over?

RK: I think it’s just different. There’s still a strong appetite for meeting people in person. I’ve become much more efficient at Zoom meetings and we now do a lot of technical discussions on Zoom. I used to have to drive all over the place. It’s a nice change because now I can sync up faster with customers. My in-person meetings are typically over lunch or coffee rather than in the prospect’s or customer’s office. When you can meet in person, you can really build the relationship and build a champion within accounts and get the information that people are not willing to share over a Zoom call.


Komprise: Is selling these days harder than before the pandemic?

RK: Selling has always been hard. There continues to be more and more new technology, so it’s a crowded space. You’re not just competing for time against a competitor but against any project they are working. For me the best way to sell is to network in person. One of the great things about the IT industry is networking. The partner community is very important and in-person networking is still encouraged. You can meet people for coffee or happy hour and when you send them an e-mail or if you’re able to text them, they remember you. They’re more inclined to take a meeting to learn a little bit more. A lot of my pipeline comes from the partner community by staying top of mind and having a technology that is interesting to them and can benefit them and their customers.


Komprise: Are there any common themes right now when talking with prospects about challenges and pain points—and has this changed recently due to the state of the global economy?

RK: The state of the economy makes Komprise more relevant by highlighting the cost savings we enable for customers. Maybe two years ago, customers would look at us for our data analytics alone; now they are seeing the cost prevention angle. They’re not going to reduce their storage bill on-premises unless you’re preventing them from expanding. If they’re at capacity or near capacity, we can say, let’s archive data into a cheaper cloud storage vendor versus expanding your current NAS footprint.


Komprise: What kind of myths and objections do you encounter when selling?

RK: First, they already have tools that can tier data within their ecosystem, but that gets greatly more complex when they try to go to the cloud. Some can’t do it. The data is not available and in native format the way ours is after we tier it. They also think they already have good detail on their data but their storage tool doesn’t see all of their data. When we get into a POC environment we can scan just 100 terabytes and show a customer our base level analytics, and their eyes open. Sometimes they may guess that they have a bunch of cold data and that’s validated.


Komprise: Can you share a recent story about a customer interaction or a new deal that motivated you?

RK: I like to take victories in everyday things and knowing you’re in an opportunity that is the right one. I was just talking to a prospect at a large university and he invited me to present to his monthly architectural review board in April. Their CIO, CTO and departmental heads all attend this meeting and it was a very positive sign to get invited. That’s the kind of thing that excites me!


Komprise: What do you enjoy about working in the unstructured data management space?

RK: When I was at Dell EMC I liked the unstructured data management platform and it was growing fast. When I learned about Komprise, I saw that it was a great solution to solve a big problem: What are you going to do about all this data you are storing? We’re in the very early stages where organizations are starting to extract value out of that type of data rather than just holding on to it for a long period of time. Most enterprises are just starting to tackle things like getting a data management plan in place. It’s a constant battle against all the legacy products and other tools that are already in place but I truly believe that Komprise is offering a different solution.


Komprise: I need to ask about your swimming career. When did you start swimming and what made you decide to swim at the college level, at Clemson?

RK: From the age of 10 I began swimming year-round. When I was in high school, I don’t think there was ever a question that I wasn’t going to swim in college. It was more of asking myself: can I find a college where I will fit in, where I can be successful and do my best. And that’s what ultimately led me to Clemson. Swimming has given me so much in life. It got me out of Indiana and gave me lifelong friends whom I still see regularly. I met my wife because she also swam at Clemson, after I did. I spent my entire life in a very structured environment and it was easy to carry that forward. I’m extremely competitive, which is why I ended up in sales.


Komprise: What do you do for fun or relaxation outside of work?

RK: I have three boys who are 7, 5 and 4 and I spend most of my free time with them. My wife and I enjoy getting out for the occasional date night. We like trying new restaurants and good food and cocktails. That’s about it!



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