Always on the hunt for a new deal, not to be stopped by a simple “no” – or with the attention always very close to the needs of the customer, intent on building relationships that pay off in the long run: There are very different types of sales people. A not uncommon classification distinguishes the hunters who are oriented towards winning new customers and the farmers who are more interested in cultivating existing customers. Both types of salesperson come with advantages and disadvantages. And both are important for long-term successful sales. In order for them to make the most of their strengths without their weaknesses getting in the way, it is important that you recognise which type of salesperson you have in front of you – and to employ them correctly.

Sales personalities: Huntersand farmer

The Hunter: Stubborn but impatient

Hunters are best off at the front line of new customer acquisition. Because that’s where they really feel at home. Even when faced with the challenge of unloved telephone acquisition, these thoroughbred salespeople do not shy away. Their high tolerance for frustration is of great benefit to them: even the tenth consecutive “no” does not demotivate these passionate salespeople. On the contrary, they see the challenge as an incentive to conquer the market all the more persistently. Their motivation is the sense of achievement. Having won a new customer for the company is the feeling that Hunter is looking for. But in return they want to earn the necessary laurels and tangible recognition. And then, spurred on by this positive reinforcement, they immediately set their sights on the next big fish.

These striking successes are rarely achieved in existing customer care. Therefore, Hunters are not particularly interested in looking after an existing customer base for years. And working in a team is often not their strong point either. They prefer to go out on their own in the hunt for attractive new business. Their quest for success and recognition can make Hunter’s management quite demanding. It is important to find the right measure of encouraging recognition that serves as an incentive for the acquisition ace, but also does not allow them to lose their ground. A balancing act – which is worth it. Because a good hunter ensures a steady influx of new customers and orders.

The farmer: Consulting-oriented, but reserved

The idea of picking up one No after the other during the strenuous telephone acquisition process puts beads of sweat on the farmer’s forehead. The aggressive belabouring of all too often uninterested potential customers is much less appealing to him – but he cannot take the regular cancellations without leaving a trace.

Instead, he would prefer to become all the more familiar with his existing customers and understand their specific processes, challenges and needs in detail. In order to then offer them individually tailored solutions as a loyal advisor. Rather than constantly having to dedicate himself to new customers, the farmer would therefore prefer to maximize up- and cross-selling opportunities and develop the customer in the long term. To achieve this, he focuses on building sustainable relationships.

Correct employment decides on success

For a long-term successful distribution, both types are needed in the company. Hunters, who acquire new customers, and farmers, who cultivate and maintain these customer relationships over the long term and exploit their potential. But this can only be achieved if you also have the right people in the right positions in your sales team. Before hiring a new salesperson, check whether you’re dealing with a hunter or a farmer, and think carefully about the type of salesperson you need for the vacant position.

But even in your existing team, an analysis of current employees against this background can lead to significant performance improvements. Do you have an agent who falls short of expectations? Or an account manager who finds it difficult to build genuinely interested customer relationships? Get in touch with such employees and consider a redistribution of tasks within your team. Maybe it’s a hunter who’s not allowed to hunt or a farmer who’s uncomfortable in the wild. By correctly matching the different sales personalities and the different tasks in your sales team, you will get the most out of your people.

The requirements for the type and processing of relevant customer data also differ between hunters and farmers. Implisense provides you with compact company profiles for the efficient preparation of a meeting with a potential new customer and with an impressive depth of data and daily updates on your existing customers.

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