Max Altschuler, founder of the Sales Hacker Conference, has no shortage of mad sales automation hacks. From making his way to drive sales for Udemy after being an entrepreneur in Nicaragua to creating the Sales Hacker brand, Max explains his views on networking connecting with other smart people doing cool stuff in sales.
Heather: What’s your “superpower”?
Max: Automating anything and everything. I always find a way to automate things; whether it’s through the use of a virtual assistant in the Philippines or using new technology that improves my efficiency for creating sales processes.
Heather: What drove you to create the Sales Hacker Conference?
Max: From the start, I was really curious about what everyone else was doing and how they were automating things.
We originally started an small meetup group about a year before the conference. It was a couple of sales founders and early hires in SF that knew each other and were either building unique internal tools or were messing around with developing interesting sales processes. Everyone was really hands on. I was really interested in what they were doing, and I thought, “why not throw a conference around it?” I expected we would get around a hundred attendees and a few good speakers, but I had no idea it would become such a large event. Right off the bat, we had 6 speakers and a few sponsors. It was important to have a base around me for launching it successfully though.
Heather: How did you first get involved with sales automation?
Max: I first really cut my teeth at Udemy. We had to grow 20% month over month. In our case, growth was centered on creating high quality courses and on-boarding instructors, but early stage companies don’t have many resources. You can’t increase spend or headcount, so you have to find ways to increase efficiency and productivity. You have to build out real processes, pipelines, and sales channels to compensate for this. You have to fill in gaps in the beginning until you can hire more people to fill positions in the pipeline. The more we could outsource, utilize scrapers, etc, the less we had to spend on hiring people in the short term. What I ended up building managed to keep our costs fairly low while we continued to ramp up.
Heather: You have built quite a network for yourself in tech startups, but you aren’t from the SF bay area. How did you build that up?
Max: When I started at Udemy I didn’t know anyone. I had an apartment a block from the office and I was always there. I really liked building a process from scratch. For 6 months I was the only full-time employee on the supply side of the marketplace. After we started becoming successful, we got a fair amount of inbound curious about what we were doing.
If you just work hard and put your name out there, good things will happen. Doors started to open as we became more successful. Since we were doing unique things, people were interested in talking to us about it. Through sharing hacks and creating cool new processes, you eventually end up meeting and connect with more awesome people. SF is a very small community and everyone is willing to help everyone else out.
Heather: What do you think makes a great sales person?
Max: It’s always good when you find somebody who has a chip on their shoulder and they can use it in the right way. You want that hunger without the vengeance though. The best sales people and entrepreneurs are those who came from nothing, with that chip on their shoulder, and have nothing to lose and everything to prove. In tech I think empathy is an important attribute. Tech sales can be like consulting at times. Salespeople should be able to build trust easily and be worthy of it.
Heather: What’s your favorite book and why?
Max: I have many favorite books, but for sales I really enjoyed “The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino. It has many great lessons for sales and life, including the importance of persistence in success—that you must keep pushing in order to reach your goals. I read it early in my career and carried it around with me for a while.
Be sure to check out Max’s Sales Hacker conference on April 24th if you’re in New York. Use the Sales4Startups discount code SALES4VIP at checkout for 20% off. If you can’t make it, sign up at saleshacker.com for more updates, live stream and new ideas for great sales hacks.
If you or your company would like to be featured in a Sales4Startups interview, please contact Heather (at) salesfolk.com. You can also get in touch with Heather if your business is looking for help with your copywriting and content marketing.