The distinction between sales hunters and farmers is an interesting one, as it clearly demarcates different roles best filled by different sales personalities.
When people want to hire a sales hunter, they usually mean someone who can generate leads, and land new clients, often through cold calling. Hiring a sales farmer, on the other hand, usually means a business is looking for someone who can manage and grow existing accounts.
There are many opinions out there on what makes a good sales hunter compared to a sales farmer.
According to a recent Marketing Science Institute report by professors Thomas E. DeCarlo and Son K. Lam,the major difference between a hunter and a farmer is the way they approach the sales objective, and whether or not they were motivated primarily by a focus on promotion vs. prevention, which is to say motivated by desire to achieve gain or a desire to mitigate or avoid loss.
The information corroborated similar research by Heidi Grant and E. Tory Higgins from the Harvard Business Review that similarly outlines the differences between a focus of promotion vs. prevention.
Hunters focused on promotion work quickly, and they generate a lot of creative energy (which makes them excellent brainstormers). Natural optimists, they are open to new opportunities and ideas, and are willing to take risks. This sometimes put them at risk of making more mistakes and of shirking traditional methods.
Farmers focused on prevention, on the other hand, work deliberately and meticulously; they are detail-oriented and conservative which makes them more accurate because they plan for the worst. However, they take fewer risks and tend to stick to the status quo (and its proven methodologies).
DeCarlo and Lam posited that promotion-focused salespeople were more likely (and better suited to be) sales hunters, whereas prevention-focused salespeople were more likely to be (and suited to be) sales farmers.
People are mainly motivated by promotion (get a win) or prevention (avoid a loss). Understanding the dominant motivation of someone can help you accurately identify what you should look for when hiring sales hunters (promotion-oriented) vs. sales farmers (prevention-oriented).
The real problem for recruiters and sales managers occurs when only one position is available. Today’s sales candidates are more savvy than ever, and are experts at telling interviewers exactly what they want to hear — especially when the position is widely advertised.
This puts the interviewer at a natural disadvantage as the candidates are willing to play a false role in the interview in an effort to score the position. This is why many of today’s recruiters and sales managers are looking to sales assessment testing before they begin the interviewing process. Such tests, when conducted by accredited assessors such as SalesTestOnline.com, for example, cut directly to the personality of the candidate, revealing their core traits, or soft skills.
Businesses have been using the assessment test information provided by Salestestonline.com for nearly 30 years, saving them the costly mistake of hiring the wrong candidate. A ten-minute test that costs less than $50 could save your company hundreds or even thousands in unnecessary training, salary, and severance costs should the candidate prove to be unsuitable for the role. Find the right candidate for the sales position through customized sales assessment testing online.
The service, which includes a 10-minute test for the candidate, allows the client to be immediately notified and have access to the results right away. Additionally, test assessment services provide a score that matches the candidate to the job criteria and provides a suitability rating that matches the target profile. If you want a 90% predicter of success of each candidate before the sales interview even starts, consider an online sales assessment service.