Sales hunters vs account managers and closers — who do you need now?

Business

Sales hunters vs account managers and closers — who do you need now?

BY DUANE LUE-FUNG

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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Successful sales people generally have thick skin and can weather a lot of rejection, customer gripes, and other adversity. However, even the thickest skin cannot compensate for being put in a role for which there is little natural aptitude.

Most executives are not able to differentiate between top salespeople and top account managers - and there is a huge difference! An account manager is someone who manages specific accounts, takes care of customers/clients, solves their problems, holds their hands, maintains the business and keeps competitive hunters away.

They are very, very important to a business, but to call them salespeople is unfair to the salespeople who are in the field selling. Account managers typically are not expected to generate much new business and, as a result, are not really producers.

Yet, managers look at the revenue their account managers “manage” and suddenly become hypnotised by the number - fooled into believing that these account managers are their top salespeople.

WRONG

Another version of account manager, the major account manager, is really a farmer. Assigned just one or two accounts, the farmer's job is to grow these large, existing customers. That is closer to selling, but...

The salesperson's or producer's primary responsibility is to grow sales by finding and closing new business. These hunters and closers have a much more difficult assignment, often having to make cold calls and unseat incumbent vendors to reach and exceed their goals. Yet, their performance is usually compared with the simpler assignment held by their account manager cousins and management often fails to see that they are not comparing apples to apples. Look at it this way. Salespeople are pushing container trucks uphill. Account managers are passengers in the truck. Salespeople are looking for people they can convert. Account managers are preaching to the choir.

People are different and personality differences can make a big difference in how jobs are performed. Fortunately, for the sales manager and executive, these differences can be measured and revealed through Think Grow Lead's sales assessment tools that can identify Sales DNA and sales personalities. Here are some of the traits to look out for when deciding who to put in specific roles:

SALES HUNTER

Hunters are your go-getters, the ones out in the field uncovering opportunities in which to sell. They provide new blood to the organisation, in the form of fresh customers and leads. Newer organisations and those aggressively pushing a new product should focus on beefing up their roster of hunters.

Common traits:

• Innovative

• Stimulating/motivating

• Enjoy selling

• Excellent communication skills

• Flexible with rules and regulations

One negative trait about hunters is that they can be impulsive, which causes them to make mistakes by not paying attention to the details of a deal.

SALES CLOSER

Closers are generally a persuasive personality type who can seal the deal. Often, they are a higher authority, such as a veteran salesperson or manager.

Common traits:

• Concerned with results

• High sense of urgency

• Self-motivated

• Decisive

• Direct

A negative with this type is that closers can lack tact and empathy from having heard every objection before, and might adopt a “take it or leave it” attitude towards smaller deals rather than working things through.

SALES FARMER

Farmers are specialists at servicing the existing customer base, keeping those relationships going and staying attuned to opportunities to sell it again. Companies with large existing customer bases should employ a sufficient amount of farmers to handle those accounts and keep them buying.

Common traits:

• Likeable/caring

• Good team member

• Good listener/mediator

• Recognise needs of others

• Detail-oriented

One weakness with farmers is that they often have difficulty in dealing with assertive-type buyers, such as C-suite execs, who are often better handled by Hunters.

BUILD A BALANCED TEAM

Understanding the different personality types and how they best translate into sales roles allows managers and executives to design a sales team which properly leverages the strengths and minimises the weaknesses of its members.

Reinforcing the natural aptitude of each with a well-designed business sales training curriculum will not only better their sales skills, but also make them understand the entire sales process and their roles. When done well, everyone understands their position and a sort of “magic” occurs where team members will use the strengths of others on the team to help them do their own jobs, rather than in-fight due to insecurity about their roles.

If you're having trouble identifying who fits best in what role in your sales organisations or if you really want to find out the DNA and sales personality trait of your existing sales team and your future hires, you should put your sales organisation through a sales assessment to identify the hunters, the farmers, the fishermen and the closers.

Duane Lue-Fung is an award-winning entrepreneur and is the Founder & Chairman of the Caribbean's #1 Sales Development Company, Think Grow Lead. For more insights on sales training, sales recruiting and sales outsourcing please visit TGL's website. www.tgltrainers.com/ www.tglsalesschool.com or email me your comments at topsalesguruja@gmail.com


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