Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Sales, Selling and Titles

We’re hiring for a bunch of different positions at Percolate and one of the big ones is sales. My co-founder, James, wrote a good post outlining how we approach sales and hiring salespeople. This part in particular hit close to home:

I’ve thought a lot about my profession as my career in digital advertising sales has evolved. It is an interesting profession that I’ve enjoyed but there are things about being a salesperson that I’ve always been intrigued by. For starters, a lot of salespeople, even very good sales people, don’t like to think of themselves as being in a sales profession. They will call themselves ‘business development’ or ‘account manager’ or ‘chief strategy officer’, while often their goals all ladder back to a direct sales relationship with the company that employs them. They might pass it off as, ‘well everyone sells’, and while that is hopefully the case, why shy away from what your profession is? Own it and be proud to say you’re in sales.

Towards the end of my time in agencies I began to fully grasp this. Most/all of your job as a senior strategy person is actually sales: You’re helping to get client buy-off on creative ideas. As we’ve been starting to hire salespeople I’ve been talking to some of the folks I know from the agency world and trying to get them to come over under this capacity. Surprisingly, most are much more open than I would have expected. To James’ point, the holdup is almost entirely in the title, they are worried about the implications of being a “salesperson” not in the actual selling (which most of the folks in advertising I know live for).

Anyway, no specific point here other than to say you should read the post and, if you like it, come work for Percolate.

January 24, 2012 // This post is about: , ,


  • Ian Sohn says:

    Odd happenstance, as I wrote a post yesterday that starts …

    “I’m not a traditional sales guy. Not really a sales guy at all. Rather than being pushy I take a more consultative approach, whether I’m working with an existing client or trying to win a new piece of business.”


    So while I kind of fall into that title trap you/James speak of, just one sentence later I embrace that much of my job is trying to win new business. Sales.

    Related … perhaps the challenge is not in getting people to put ‘sales’ in their title because it’s undesirable. Perhaps the challenge is on the receiving end. Unless it’s an established and accepted practice to buy something from a ‘salesman’ (car, dishwasher come to mind), we as buyers don’t normally like to be ‘sold’ to. We like to be romanced. So it’s not that many of us are ashamed to be in ‘sales’ but rather feel like having it in our title will create greater barrier to entry.

    Random thoughts.

  • Noah Brier says:

    Yup, that’s a really good point. At some point at Barbarian Group we actually got rid of new biz title and just hired smart people whose job it was to work on new biz.

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