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Outreach’s Hands-Off Approach to Sales Hacker

In that increasingly blurred space where sales tech, ad tech, and marketing tech overlap, acquisitions aren’t always big news. This marketing cloud picks up another niche AI company, that DMP sucks in another onboarding solution. But some stand out. For example, Outreach’s acquisition of Sales Hacker earlier this month.

As regular readers will recall, Outreach is the sales enablement engine which integrates with Salesforce CRM, and — according the company’s livewire CEO Manny Medina — recommends the “next best action” for sales reps. “It’s a full communications suite,” he told me at Dreamforce last year. It prompts actual actions, “or does them for you.” Without Outreach, said Medina, Salesforce “depends on the good will of the rep to enter data.” 

Sales Hacker is a different beast altogether. It’s not a solution; it’s essentially a community: a research and content catalyst for sales professionals, hosting online and in-person events and training. I was curious to learn how these two B2B “heavyweights,” as Sales Hacker founder Max Altschuler calls them, will fit together, and how that trusted community will maintain vendor neutrality.

Altschuler’s new title is VP of marketing at Outreach. He told me: “Sales Hacker stays a stand-alone business and runs independently  think LinkedIn and Microsoft. To ensure this independence, Sales Hacker will not have Outreach branding anywhere as we continue to provide our own service and support. We’re committed to maintaining our community’s trust throughout this transition.”

One predictable change is that Sales Hacker will be eliminating sponsored content from a range of vendors in the space. Altschuler sees this as a positive. “By freeing our team from sponsored content, Sales Hacker can focus exclusively on providing the highest-quality content and professional development opportunities to sales teams. Sales Hacker will no longer need to focus on revenue first. As a result, it will continue to provide the same quality of content or higher now that we have more resources.”

Sales Hacker unleashed, then? “For our audience and customers, it’s a complete win-win-win situation,” said Altschuler. “For Outreach, this is about investing in the future of sales technology.” And about growing the nascent category of sales engagement.

Medina emphasized that this is a meeting of familiar minds. “Max and I have known each other for a long time,” he said, “(while) I watched Max created this much-needed community for our industry.” By the time Outreach grew to support more than 2,400 sales teams and 22,000 users worldwide, it recognized that selling to salespeople is about giving reps the right tools and empathizing with their experiences, Medina explained.

“We’ve realized that many reps have problems that sales engagement tools can solve, but they aren’t aware of their capabilities. As a result, it only made sense that we partnered with a community like Sales Hacker to drive education around sales engagement and provide unbranded awareness.”

It’s an intriguing experiment in connecting an unbiased content-creator with a hard-driving and fast-growing vendor. We’ll be watching with interest.

More from Altschuler on the acquisition here.

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