Hunters vs. Farmers: Making It Work | Sales Strategies

One of my clients recently told me that they wanted to divide their sales team up into “hunters” and “farmers.” It’s not an ideal structure in my mind, but they wanted to go through with this and believed it was best for their business. Thus, I tried to find ways to make it work for them. In particular, here’s what I discovered. 

Have a Standard Operating Procedure During Handoffs 

Dividing a sales team into hunters and farmers can work. However, more importantly, there’s one key thing that you have to accomplish in order to make this work successfully: having a standard operating procedure during the handoff between the two groups. This is because nothing irritates a customer more than being sold to by one person and then immediately being passed over to somebody else. 

The lack of trust they feel—it’s like a bait and switch. When that happens, the trust is eroded for that account manager/that farmer who has to go back in and repair the relationship. It doesn’t mean those customers will be lost. It does mean, however, they had a bit of a sour taste in their mouth post-sale of dealing with you.

So, if you’re going through with this approach, it’s indeed imperative to incorporate a standard written set of procedures. This includes the original hunter/salesperson executing a formal handoff with an introduction to that account manager at a certain time. There also has to be a transition period that brings that account manager in and the seller/hunter working side by side with them at a certain amount of time so that the customer is comfortable with the quality of work and the personality of the account manager. 

Additionally, there has to be great documentation. You can’t implement a hunter and farmer structure without a good CRM and a hundred percent compliance/commitment to your CRM. This is because the notes in that CRM required to complete the handoff are critical to your success.

So, documentation, a strong CRM, and a standard operating procedure are indeed critical if you want to make this hunter and farmer structure work. 

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6 responses to “Hunters vs. Farmers: Making It Work | Sales Strategies

  1. […] walk into a sales meeting unprepared. Know the common objections your organization hears the most and be prepared to […]

  2. Best to do this on a joint video call or joint meeting where you make a personal introduction to the Account Manager. Bring it up in the sales process early as a differentiator to show you have a “team” that takes care of them as a customer.

  3. […] Are you pushing the sale too hard with your prospects and clients? […]

  4. From a 30 year veteran in sales and marketing.

    I think it very much depends on a number of factors such as.

    Type of business,
    New or established,
    Type of industry,
    Sales Compensation packages.

    In my experience team selling can work in some technical industries but it doesn’t work very well in our business which is strictly wholesale. We are a mature company and our priority is repeated business from resellers, as a consequence, we use farmers to build long-term relationships. By their nature hunters are often mercenary by nature and generally do not do well in our company.

  5. […] ask yourself and your team what new twist, idea, or feature you can add to your offering. This will help you stay current, […]

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