Do You Need a Sales Hunter or a Sales Farmer?

What’s a sales hunter or farmer, and who do I need are two questions every recruitment manager should know the answer to.

A common hiring problem Pam and Kristen see executives struggle with is salespeople. Everybody faces challenges in finding the right salespeople. In their pursuit, they all make some common mistakes. In the Cerius Business Today podcast, Pam and Kristen talk about circumventing the issue by hiring a sales hunter or farmer depending on what your company needs.

Pam explains the difference between the sales hunters and farmers:

“Let’s start with the basics. Let’s start with sales 101. So the two main categories are hunters and farmers. Hunters go out and get leads. They don’t sit around waiting for those leads to come to them. Man, they are on it. And if you give them a lead, they are on it. I mean they want to get out there and close that deal as fast as they can. After that, well they don’t really care. Then you have the farmers. The farmers aren’t really good about going out and getting business. They just aren’t sure. They can take a call, a lead that comes in and talk to the client and walk them through the whole scenario, what their services are and how they can help them and they can close. And they can close not because they’re forceful about it, they can close because they develop that relationship with the client almost immediately over the phone, whether it’s in-person or over the phone. They just have that ability. So they’re farmers. They don’t necessarily sell something right away because they like to develop that relationship. The cool thing about that though is since they developed that relationship, they get repeat business from that client. So there’s the farmer. But the advantages of that hunter is, man he just goes out. He will do anything or everything to go out and find business. He will not stand still. He’ll look for ways to find those customers.

She also shares why you won’t find a sales hunter and farmer in the same person:

You won’t find the hunter and the farmer in the same person. You think you got it when you hire the person, but trust me they’re either good in one area or the other. They rarely if at all are good in both areas. So you either need a hunter or you need a farmer. And the best way to go is having a combination of both. Let me give you an example. There was one huge client that was something like $600 million in revenues and they couldn’t figure out why their sales barely was moving. They just were not increasing those revenues every year. And so we had a sales executive go in there and take a look, assess what they have, asses their people, asses the comp and the whole works. They came back and said, “The problem that you’re having is you have all farmers. You have no hunters. You want people to go out there and hunt down business? Or do you just want people sitting in their chairs and wait for the client to come to them, to start talking to them?” Well that’s what they were doing. They were literally waiting for people to come to them.

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