Hunters and Farmers: Hiring for the Right Sales Role

“I need a salesperson,” you say. That’s fine, but too often we find business owners looking for sales help without giving adequate thought to the exact role that person will fill. In sales, one size definitely does not fit all … there are different types of sales duties within a company, and each has its own set of competencies. So before you hire, carefully consider your needs.  Here’s a brief guide: 

The Pure Hunter: Sets new appointments, takes the meeting, returns with a proposal and seals the deal. Then off to the next one: the hunter does not manage the ongoing relationship with a client. This is sales in its undistilled form, and you’ll find the hunter is great at building rapport, but not so good at paperwork and organization.

The Lead Generator: Hammers the phones with outgoing calls, works the incoming website visitors, uses LinkedIn and other resources for prospecting. Does not actually do the closing, however: the lead gen person sets the executive-level appointment and hands the “pre-heated” lead off to an inside or outside salesperson after the initial discovery.

Inside Sales Representative: There are two main flavors of Inside Sales Rep.  The first is a full-cycle sales role who stays with the client from appointment to presentation to close. This one can deliver a pitch by phone or use a webinar to close the deal.

Think of the second type as the hub of the sales wheel, supporting the outside team. This inside sales rep is still setting appointments, but filling the calendars of others. He or she is creating and revising proposals and handling incoming calls when the outside sales team is not available. Some see this as an admin position, but make no mistake: there is plenty of selling skill involved.

The Farmer: As the name would imply, this is all about nurturing and growing the existing client base so the hunters are free to hunt. There may be some crossover in duties with that second inside sales rep. The farmer gets to know your clients and looks for opportunities to upsell and cross-sell other services. This person needs the kind of people skills that will have your clients asking for him or her by name.

The Marketer: Many business owners want to lump this in with sales, but this is an entirely different role and a subject for a future post.