Categorizing salespeople as sales hunters and sales farmers is considered a bit old school these days, but it's still a useful distinction when it comes to hiring salespeople. In general, sales hunters are reps who excel at prospecting, generating leads, and closing deals. Sales farmers are better at managing and growing current accounts.
But how do you hire a sales hunter vs. a sales farmer? Let's look at what the data tells us.
The same research found that prevention-focused salespeople, who are motivated to avoid losses, are more likely to be sales farmers.
Again, based on recommendations from the Harvard Business Review, when hiring a sales farmer, look for prevention-focused salespeople who are:
Deliberate and careful
Prepared for the worst
But keep in mind that these prevention-focused salespeople are also more likely to:
Be stressed by tight deadlines
Maintain the status quo
Data shows the best ways to motivate your prevention-focused sales farmers are providing work-life balance, career progression opportunities, and incentivizing and rewarding avoiding losses.
In general, people are motivated by promotion (getting a win) or prevention (avoiding a loss). Research shows that when hiring sales hunters, you should look for promotion-focused salespeople and when hiring sales farmers, you should look for prevention-focused salespeople. Keeping in mind that someone can only have one motivational focus at a time, assessing and hiring salespeople who can learn and adapt to a constantly changing sales environment is a big competitive advantage.
More of a visual person? Here's a handy infographic outlining Ideal Candidate's research on the subject.
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Originally published Mar 8, 2016 12:00:00 PM, updated November 26 2020