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.