There are salespeople who are exceedingly effective at prospecting, particularly cold calls. They can schedule the appointments they need with little trouble, and they require far fewer calls than their peers. They can do in 20 calls what another person might do in 80 or 100 calls.
Some salespeople have shockingly fast rapport skills. They immediately connect with people, and not just their prospective clients. They generate likability and trust faster than most, but especially with people with slow rapport skills. People with low rapport skills take longer to warm up to, even if they eventually create lifelong relationships.
Hunters love to win new business, and many times, they aren’t so great at maintaining those relationships because they prefer to move onto the next deal. Farmers, who also create opportunities, tend to prefer maintaining relationships rather than creating new ones. They prefer to manage a book of business rather than create new opportunities.
If you have more than one child, and you treat both of them the same, you are abusing one (or both) of them.
To believe that all salespeople need to do the same amount of prospecting to generate the result they need is to mistakenly believe that they are all equally competent. Choosing an activity quota can drive the right activity, but some percentage of your team should likely be doing much more than the number that you are comfortable dictating, and a few others can reach their goals with less. The dial is not an outcome; it is simply an activity.
The ability to generate the relationships that create and move opportunities quickly and effectively through the pipeline also varies. Some people can develop trust quickly, and they can leverage the same insight as someone else to greater effect faster. Even though we desperately want sales to be a repeatable process, these variations in intangibles exist. What you expect from one person may be too much to expect from another.
Putting a hunter in a farmer role is to misuse their primary talents, and it is likely to frustrate them to no end. Asking a farmer to go into white space and create opportunities is asking too much of them. In both cases, you are not asking someone to do something they cannot do, you are asking them to be something that they are not.
Maximizing your results as a leader means making sure you have the right people in the right roles, that you have the goals and objectives aligned with what they are capable of producing, and managing them as individuals. To do less than this is to refuse to believe the variations that exist, even if you find them inconvenient.
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Filed under: Sales