You know your sales team is capable of so much more, but your struggling to figure out just how much more and what actions to take to get them up to the next level.
Giving thought to and identifying the unique makeup of each of your salespeople will go a long way in maximizing your sales team’s performance. When you have the wrong person in the wrong role, they will not reach their full potential; will fear for their job, will become distracted and ultimately descend into a downward spiral.
The Four Types of Sales People
To help you identify the dominant skill set of each of your salespeople I thought it would be helpful to explain the 4 types of sales people:
Account manager – The account manager is basically an order taker. They are responsible for keeping an assigned base of customers satisfied, loyal, and maintaining their current level of business. The account manager is not responsible for finding new accounts; they only need to maintain their existing accounts at a profitable level to be considered a success.
Farmer – The farmer is responsible to maintain and grow a handful of substantial existing accounts. The farmer’s job is similar to the account manager in the sense that they serve and maintain their existing accounts but they are also tasked with going deeper into those large organizations and uncovering and securing additional business.
They are deemed successful when they penetrate their accounts at multiple levels and establish numerous relationships with a number of strategic contacts.
The Farmer is responsible for identifying additional departments, divisions and locations that your company can serve and then securing that business in a profitable manner.
Hunter – The hunter is an individual that finds great satisfaction in the chase and the close. Typically they focus on a list of targeted accounts, usually a mix of large flagship companies (a flagship company is one that offers a strategic benefit because of their size and position in the market place. Flagship accounts often have multiple locations and can be a gateway into similar organizations.) Depending on the territory the hunter may also call on small to medium-sized companies as well.
The hunter is skillful at breaking into new doors and quickly establishing a level of credibility and trust that enables them to reach and involve top decision makers in the sales process.
Typically, when a hunter brings in an account they are supported internally by a Sales Support or Client Service Representative. This structure prevents the hunter from becoming bogged down in the details of the servicing and implementation process which will distract the hunter from pursuing and closing additional net new accounts.
Hybrid – A relatively small percentage of salespeople are capable of functioning in the role of a hybrid. A hybrid is a salesperson that hunts for net-new business and also maintains a set of key accounts.
To effectively function in this role a salesperson must be highly disciplined, focused and motivated. They are the rare individual that enjoys the adrenaline rush of the hunt and the satisfaction that comes with nurturing an existing account. For most salespeople these two traits are at conflict with one another.
Why You Should Know the Appropriate Role For Each of Your Salespeople
Problems arise when the leader of a sales organization puts sales reps in a role they are not suited for. For example:
- If you place a rep who has a difficult time coping with rejection, and is uncomfortable with new introductions, in the role of a hunter, that person will quickly become and remain uncomfortable.
- When placed in an inappropriate role they will find themselves waking up in the morning dreading their work, feeling anxious, and on Sunday night around seven they will begin to experience a sense of dread rising up within their stomach as they think of returning back to work on Monday morning. Sales performance is guaranteed to suffer, and they will not perform to the necessary level. There is no winner in this scenario.
- The person who enjoys the hunt gets an adrenaline rush when they close a new account. If you give them a list of existing customers and tell them the job is to keep them happy they will find the job boring, they will be unsatisfied, they will feel their talents are not being utilized, they will not achieve their financial goals and they will start looking for another company where their needs can be met.
To achieve a consistent and predictable revenue stream, it is important to have the right people in the right roles. It is imperative that these individuals feel comfortable and personally gratified.
Employees that are comfortable in their positions have increased motivation and loyalty, which inevitably translates into success and increased profitable sales revenue.
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