For companies and salespeople it is important that the right talent is matched to the right sales job.
One of our listeners named Claire wrote us with this week with this question:
What do you think is the optimal mix of hunters and farmers on a sales team? Are there circumstances or conditions that affect what the best mix should be?
I’ve been around the sales profession for twenty-five years and as long as I can remember the question of hunter and famer ratio has been an issue of debate at most companies. The reason for the ongoing debate is sales and service organizations must remain flexible as markets and corporate strategy change. So, Claire, yes there is an optimal mix of hunters and farmers on a sales team but that optimal mix is specific to each company at a specific point in time. As things change so does this mix.
I actually believe that most companies to a good job of allocating hunter and farmer resources based on their need for growth and client retention. Business leaders tend to look closely at what is required to acquire new customers (hunt), and retain and grow current customers (farm). And though the ratio of hunters to farmers may from time to time get out of wack, revenue and profit demands generally bring things back into balance quickly.
Where the vast majority of sales organizations fail is in hiring the right salesperson to fill the role ofhunter or farmer. There are clear differences in the responsibilities for hunters and farmers and each role requires a specific skill set and talents.