B2B Sales Hunters vs Sales Farmers

B2B Sales Hunters vs Sales Farmers
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The B2B Sales Hunters vs Farmers Sales Model
The role of B2B sales hunter vs sales farmer has been discussed in business sales training workshops for decades. In general, the roles represent two different, and often related, approaches to selling with each having an important part to play in sales growth. The roles differ mainly in how they go about generating revenue.

Typically, B2B sales hunters focus on new customer acquisition while B2B sales farmers are responsible for nurturing and growing current accounts.

What Makes a Good B2B Sales Hunter?
Effective B2B sales hunters love going after and winning new business.  They are typically motivated by finding, chasing, and winning new opportunities. They are excited about prospecting and getting meetings. High performing B2B Sales Hunters consistently open new doors and win new business.  In general, the best B2B Sales Hunters:

  • Willingly, frequently, and consistently prospect
  • Have high levels of sales conviction about the company’s unique value proposition
  • Are not shy about cold calling or attending networking events
  • Can handle and recover from sales rejection
  • Embrace social selling tools and techniques
  • Maintain a robust and active pipeline at all times
  • Excel at identifying, finding, and qualifying ideal target clients
  • Get referrals from customers and their network
  • Create and nurture a growth and new business development mindset across the company
  • Make customer-centric and compelling sales pitches
  • Do not need everything to be “perfect” in order to prospect (e.g., detailed sales scripts, product information, etc.)

What Makes a Good B2B Sales Farmer?
A good B2B Sales Farmer is about much more than customer service.  High performing B2B Sales Farmers retain and grow current accounts profitably. In general, the best B2B Sales Farmers:

  • Build trusted advisor relationships with key client contacts
  • Are very likeable
  • Can articulate the buying and decision making process at each account
  • Deeply understand their client’s personal and professional goals
  • Want to help their clients to achieve their specific objectives
  • Build strong company-to-company relationships
  • Have enough knowledge of the client’s industry and business that they would be difficult to replace from the client’s perspective
  • Consistently go the extra mile and deliver more than what was promised and expected
  • Feel competent and confident identifying and meeting with decision makers
  • Uncover true client spending patterns and budgets
  • Can navigate internal and external workplace politics
  • Manage their time effectively by focusing on high priority client items
  • Always follow through on client requests

What Works Best for You?
To meet growth targets, most sales organizations need the right combination of sales hunting and sales farming.  Top sales managers understand the value of each role and structure their sales force in alignment with their unique value proposition, ideal target client profile, and sales plan. 

The mix of sales hunter vs sales farmer depends on the aggressiveness of your growth targets, the growth of your current accounts, the size of your sales force, the size of your target market,  and your sales process.

Some successful solution selling teams split the skills across different roles while others expect their sales reps to simultaneously hunt and farm at the same time.

  • The main advantage of separating a sales function into sales hunters and sales farmers is that you can focus on and cater to different sales strengths, metrics, personalities, and motivations.
  • The main disadvantage of separating a sales function into sales hunters and sales farmers relates to team size and handoffs.  Regarding sales team size, the separation of roles may be impossible for small sales teams where sales reps need to own the entire sales cycle. In terms of handoffs, you don’t want customers to feel a “bait and switch” as the account is transitioned from the salesperson who brought them in to your sales account manager.

The Bottom Line
Done right, the B2B sales hunters vs farmers model can work for both you and your customers by playing to strengths if you properly align sales metrics and rewards. What makes sense for your unique sales strategy and culture?

To learn more about increasing sales performance, download The 4 Most Important Attributes to Look for When Sales Reps Miss Their Targets

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