Frank Slickman

Frank Slickman is the enterprise sales guy you probably don’t want to hire.

Regular attendees to Business of Software Conference over the years may have heard of Frank Slickman, even if they have not met him. He’s somewhat elusive, spending most of his time on the golf course closing enterprise sales deals. He’s a super experienced enterprise sales guy. The sort of person that you might think could take all your sales issues away so you can focus on the important stuff. (Code).

Jason Cohen wrote about him way back in 2008 in a blog post, bad advice. You should read it.

It tells the story of how Jason was beguiled into working with him. As a dyed-in-the-wool techie who was allergic to sales, Jason loved the idea of bringing a hugely experienced sales leader with successful IPOs and umpteen huge sales deals behind him into his team. It didn’t end well. Hiring the wrong people from the wrong companies with the wrong experience rarely does in a startup.

Jason talked about Frank at BoS 2010 in his talk on When to Break the Rules and How to Take Advice. Paul Kenny, who spoke at the same conference defended Frank, a little, in his talk Hardwiring Sales Into Your Organisation.

The truth is, Frank Slickman can a great salesperson in the right organisation. You’re probably not running the right organisation for him to fit into though.

Being an entrepreneur is hard at the best of times. One thing great ones do is learn with experience. What worked for someone else isn’t necessarily what will work for you. You have to be able to work out what advice you take and when to make your own rules, no matter what Frank Slickman tells you.

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