Friday Q&A: How To Sell Anything

Friday Q&A: How To Sell Anything
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Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

In last week’s Friday Q&A, David asked:

My answer was:

Great question.

You have two options:

  1. Become a great marketer
  2. Find and hire a great marketer

Becoming a great marketer has truly never been easier. The number of resources out there that can help you get better is huge for just about any industry you can think of.

For great book marketing tips, I’d start here:

As for hiring a marketer—Tim Grahl, who I mentioned above, actually runs a book marketing agency—I’ve shared a few tips in the past that I think could help:

  1. Post a job listing on a site that’s relevant to your industry. I haven’t had great success with the signal-to-noise ratio on the broader job listing sites, but the ones more targeted to us—in our case, WeWorkRemotely is a great fit—have resulted in some really strong hires.
  2. Tell the world what you’re looking for. Send personal emails to everyone that you know who might have a relationship with the kind of person you’re looking for, post to social media, pick up the phone… finding great people often requires a lot of hustle, because everyone else is looking for them, too. So put in the work.
  3. Reach out to marketers that you respect. If you already read some marketing blogs, reach out to the people writing them. If you don’t already read any, then find the ones that people respect (here are some of my favorites). At the highest tier, the blogger might not be for hire, but they’ll typically have very strong networks that they can refer you to. And there are a lot of great lesser-known blogs with highly valuable content written by marketers that you can hire.

No matter how much product you can produce, ultimately, someone has to sell it.

Whether that’s you or someone else is going to depend on your bandwidth, expertise and how you’d like to spend your time.

But the good thing is that you have two options that, if done well, can both be very successful.

A Different Take

Soon after I posted this, I got an email from Zorian, who (rightly) pointed out that my answer was focused entirely on marketing, and ignored sales completely.

Zorian is a seasoned sales pro, so I asked him if he’d be interested in sharing his take on David’s question.

He did, and I think that his approach can be a very valuable one for anyone looking to get better at sales, so I’m pasting it in its entirety below:

  1. Become good at sales:
  1. Hire great sales reps and be an effective sales manager (or hire one): A couple of Sales Management resources to get you started:

    • I wrote an article about hiring great reps and it was inspired by my advisor Mark Roberge (SVP at Hubspot) who coached me about managing sales teams and about hiring great sales reps: 5 Must Have Traits of Great Sales Reps

    • Books I suggest on Sales Management — I posted a couple of good sales books here in my Quora response.

  2. Set goals for your sales team and for everyone supporting the sales team: Use the best enterprise goals system called OKR Goals that Google uses to run high-performance teams, and then set some quota goals as well as sales training and sales enablement goals and some marketing goals (i.e. to provide 1,000 new leads each quarter to the sales team). Now everyone will be aligned and working in sync to help sales do their job well.

Big thanks to David for the question, and to Zorian for taking the time to answer!

Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull Alex is the CEO & Founder of Groove. He loves to help other entrepreneurs build startups by sharing his own experiences from the trenches.