Top 10 Attributes of Hunters verse Farmers
I was talking to a small business owner last week and he told me he needed to change the mix of hunters verse farmers in his sales force. He was too heavy on farmers.
The owner had always been the main salesperson and brought salesman in to “help him” handle accounts. Therefore, he was always hiring farmers. He was the master hunter. As his company grew, the owner needed to focus more time on running his company and needed his sales force to sell. Unfortunately, since farmers are not accustomed to achieving individual success and are more motivated when the firm succeeds it’s impossible for them to hunt. They are by their very nature risk avoiders.
Firms that are stocked with hunters attempt to maximize the entrepreneurialism of their employees by creating the maximum possible degree of individual autonomy. Rather then being constrained by choices on what or who to sale to hunters thieve on choice. The owners or managers of these types of firms encourage each individual to respond and adapt to their markets, make decisions and take risks. The benefits of firm wide consistency to markets or sales approaches are sacrificed in order to capture opportunities and rapidly respond to their customers needs.
Hunter firms need to compensate on short-term successes. Those that kill the meat get the rewards. Hunters grow your firm. Farmers maintain it.
So what attributes do these two different types of sales people possess? Below is a top ten list:
1. Central Thought Individual, entrepreneur Collaboration
2. Strengths Diversity, Flexibility Focus, strategy
3. Internal Atmosphere Competitive Collaboration
4. Management Style Bottom Line numbers Values, Mission
5. Self image Streetfighter Team Player
6. Decision Making Autonomous Coordinated
7. Compensation Short-term Rolling Average
8. Territories Not Allocated Allocated
9. Client Relations Lesser Higher
10. Attitudes on Growth Opportunistic Studied, secondary goal
While this is list is not all inclusive it’s a good start. When hiring be sure to hire one or the other. I have yet to see a salesperson that is “kind of” a hunter and “kind of” a farmer. Most that have told me they have both traits were usually poor sales people.
Few firms should have all of one type of sales person or the other but it’s important to make a conscious decision on how many of each you need. Think of what you’re trying to achieve and then hire accordingly.