There are four very distinct salesperson types you must be able to identify as a sales leader.
There are the classic hunters and farmers we all know.
And there are two hybrid salesperson types.
In this article, I will break down each salesperson type and describe the characteristics of each.
Why Knowing Salesperson Types is Essential as a Sales Leader
One of the biggest reasons why salespeople don’t last very long in sales jobs is because they are hired for sales roles that do not match their salesperson type.
The challenge is that all salesperson types have the fundamental ability to adequately do any of the roles in the short term.
But they will get bored or frustrated with it in the long term.
For example, a hunter could adapt to an account management or customer success role, but would quickly become bored.
And likewise, a farmer could adapt to doing cold calls and chasing new business but would hate it long term.
The 4 Salesperson Types
The four salesperson types are defined by unique characteristics that are easy to identify when you get to know them, so let’s go through each.
Pure Sales Hunters
Pure sales hunters are a rare breed of salespeople who simply love the chase and feel unfulfilled without it.
Pure hunters like to move fast, are very direct, and often have an aggressive streak.
They have no issue with cold calling, chasing prospects down and putting in the groundwork to land those new business deals.
Most pure sales hunters will perform best when working with shorter sales cycles of under six months, ideally much less.
So, if you sell a solution suited to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), a hunter is what you need.
Pure Sales Farmers
Pure sales farmers are on the opposite end of the scale to pure hunters.
They are often very friendly, bubbly and chatty characters.
Pure farmers get their fulfilment from building long-term relationships with existing customers and will frown heavily if you mention up-sales targets.
The pure sales farmer may even frown at retention targets because they feel their core objective is to keep the customers happy.
And to be honest, this can be a very effective strategy because happy customers will indeed mean higher retention rates.
And happy customers, combined with very friendly harmless farmers, can also lead to easy up-sales, depending on your solution.
Hybrid Sales Hunters
Hybrid sales hunters have very similar characteristics to pure sales hunters, and many are what I describe as retired sales hunters.
Like the pure hunters, they enjoy the chase for new business and would be unfulfilled without it.
But they are often more patient and not as aggressive, and although they enjoy the chase, they don’t want to do it all the time.
An example of a hybrid sales hunter would be a pure hunter with a couple of years of experience who now wants to sit in an account executive role.
They still want to close the new business deals, but they need an environment with a good source of inbound leads.
The hybrid sales hunters are ideal for doing full-cycle sales roles where they close new business deals and then manage those accounts.
And they are also the more patient salesperson types suited to Enterprise sales roles where the deals are complex and sales cycles are long.
Hybrid Sales Farmers
Hybrid sales farmers are probably one of the most common salesperson types.
Primarily driven by relationship building, the hybrid sales farmers still need a little hunting in their lives and would be bored in a long-term pure farmer role.
It’s common for a pure hunter to want to move into a hybrid hunter or hybrid farmer role when they have children or get older.
So, when you need someone who can keep the customers happy at the same time as upselling and cross-selling your solution, a hybrid sales farmer is what you need.
Questions to Identify Salesperson Types
If you are recruiting for a particular sales role and need to identify what type of salesperson is in front of you, I recommend a simple strategy.
Before explaining what type of salesperson you are looking for, explain these four types of salespeople and ask them what type they come under.
And force them to select just one – you can only be one of the four.
When they give you their answer, ask them to explain why.
This should have them open up about their characteristics and what fulfils them most, giving you a clear picture of whether they are a good fit.
When you learn how to identify salesperson types, it makes recruiting for particular roles much easier and helps you understand what drives people.
Why not review what salesperson types are sitting in your team today and see what conclusions you come up with.
It might just save you from losing a good salesperson if you act in time.
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