Are Good Sales People Born Or Made?May 26, 2021
Training budgets may have been cut back to the bone to preserve cash flow in these challenging economic times, so we cross our fingers and hope that good sales people are born and all we need to do is find them and recruit them!
One major obstacle is that often good sales people tend to stay loyal to their employer and rarely come on to the open market. If they do move, they tend to via the unadvertised market through referral and word of mouth. So it seems logical to ‘make’ or develop good sales people ourselves.
There seems to be is a lot of confusion regarding the terms ‘hunters and farmers’. Unfortunately it means different thing to different people. So what is a ‘hunter’ sales person? A broad definition is a sales person that thrives on generating new business in new clients. The problem is that on the whole ‘hunters’ lack motivation to nurture ongoing relationships and manage the associated administration of maintaining an existing client relationship. ‘Hunters’ can neglect clients as they search for the next big deal and the ‘buzz’ of cracking yet another new account wholesale pipes.
This can of course be remedied by transferring the client over to a ‘farmer’ who excels in maintaining and developing relationships with existing clients. Each sales style is crucial in any organisations however, it can be cost prohibitive to have both styles covered by different people and a balance needs to be found.
Just recruiting ‘hunters’ can be a real problem as it can leave your existing clients neglected and frustrated and prone to seeking out alternative partners, your competition!
It is well know that it costs considerably more to attract and win new clients than maintain and care for existing clients. Whilst it is vital to have a fresh crop of clients developing at any one time it is important to ensure that the balance is right. Conversely just recruiting farmers can leave you exposed and reliant on too few clients and a dwindling pipeline of opportunity.
Ensuring that your sales team is united in its goal and have a shared and clear vision of what they are required to achieve is vital. Unfortunately, this is rarely communicated succinctly by management teams and whilst sales teams can appear productive and busy they may not truly be in alignment with the company’s strategic and tactical objectives.
What messages are you giving to your team? Are your remuneration and incentive schemes driving the desired behaviour and motivation? How do you reward success and failure?
Many factors will affect sales teams’ performance. The following questions and suggestions may provide an insight in how to improve your sales team’s success.