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Hacking Sales by Max Altschuler (2/10)

“Hacking” has a special place among the annoying verbs of Silicon Valley. From a lineage as a negative term used to indicate breaking into a system illegally – it was productively redeemed by Paul Graham among others into a productivity ethos.  The heyday was over a few years ago from overuse of ever-diminishing “hacks” applied to different fields and the rapturous embrace by the ethically-challenged. (The circle of meaning was complete.)

One example is Max Altschuler’s “Hacking Sales.” It consists mostly of lists of puffy reviews of software a sales person should have considered in 2016 to more rigorously spam inboxes. That’s fine enough as a Quora answer, bad as a purchased ebook. What few good tips that anyone with more than a year of white collar job experience doesn’t know have no attribution, so maybe even Twitter would be a better place for that element of the material.

People that read and act upon this book make everyone else less productive. It makes us all ever more likely to shut off from a thoughtful if cold email. e.g.:

“Most outbound reps give up after one to three attempts to a lead, but statistics from and Velocify show that you’ll need six to nine touches to establish contact and qualify the lead. Once you’ve made your six to nine touches over a three-week period, only then should you put your lead into a Nurture Queue for follow up at a later date.”


“If it’s a hard “no,” you can reach out again in six to nine months to see if the timing is better.”

Jesus so this is what everyone (“Just following up”, “Did you get my email”, etc.) who spams me is reading. I used to mark as spam when I’d get a third unsolicited followup. I’m moving that down to two. Maybe I can use one of the software services to guess whether someone has read Altschuler and mark them with spam with the first email.

One way to hack your career is to publish e-books. Put a link to your website at the end of every chapter. Fine. (Hacking your career by publishing a book with hacking in the title is dizzlingly meta.) It’s hard to begrudge for long a young career hacker (that’s his next thing) and there were enough warning signs of the reviews-from-friends. Why did I buy it? Well I saw a few mentions from people I respect, and despite his tip to never discount it was 50% off.

Software-as-a-service entrepreneur and thought leader Jason Lemkin is attributed to have said on the book’s Amazon page:

“”Max has become a dominant force in the next wave of sales: the use of technology, training, and best practices to turn sales into a true science. Sales can truly now be hacked much in the way we learned in the last generation to hack marketing into a quantitative growth engine. Hacking Sales has uniquely captured these changes, bringing together sales thought leadership and leading next generation technologies to together quantify and scale sales dramatically faster than ever before. Kudos, and thank you, to Max.”–Jason Lemkin, Co-founder and ex-CEO, Echosign;  Founder,SaaStr;Managing Director, Storm Ventures”

Amazon desperately needs some indication of previous relationships in the reviews and endorsements of the flood of ebooks. There is little chance someone of Jason’s reputation believes any of this, or at least that it applies to the book and author. But of course the book nudges you that lying works:

“…one study about fundraising, the researchers told average donors that they were in fact among the highest donors. Can you guess what happened? Those donors then did in fact donate above average.”

Wink wink. Do it.  See you as one of the rows in one of the fifty recommended CRM apps.

I like sales guys generally. Perhaps it’s a good impression left over from the first real fictional portrayal I saw of them: Whit Stillman’s Barcelona (1994) beat Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) to my eyes. Books like this fall solidly into the latter universe, where it’s all about the leads.

Published inBooksBusiness

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