The typical path in a sales career goes something like this; start out in customer service, then get “promoted” to inside sales, outside sales, and if you’re still doing well, onto sales management. This is a track to failure for the company, employee, and their customers.

The employer can’t understand why their employee becomes unhappy, unproductive, and probably unemployed. Hit and miss hiring and promotion becomes very costly when, at the end of that path, the employee is pulling in a high five or six figure salary, and sales are in the tank.

This happens because the organization assumes anyone who knows the product well can sell it…and that’s patently false.

A field salesperson doesn’t need to be a product expert. Sales are made by meeting with the right person and knowing how to solve their business problems – usually, the less details the better. They love to hunt.

Hunters “move the needle.” They tend to be fearless, persuasive and focused on a buyer for their product or service. These people have no problem with hunting down their target market and bringing it to a decision on a product or service. That closure, subsequent commission and earned high salary are what matters to the Hunters. They don’t want to be bothered with paperwork or worry about how many “arrows were shot.” When contracts are signed the hunt is finished and they consider the job done.

However, if the sale is not just transactional, and there needs to be ongoing service and support, Hunters are ill-equipped to handle these duties. It’s usually at this point when customer service, operations, finance, and human resources starts to complain about the Hunter and their indifference toward service, CRM, and paperwork.

Enter the Farmer. This is where your product experts shine and account maintenance improves. Farmers are detailed, methodical individuals who thrive on ensuring the client is satisfied and well educated on your product or service. In short, Farmers make sure your clients order more and/or stay with you longer.

Farmers can serve in a variety of departments – technical support, accounting, reception/clerical, customer service, and inside sales. The details matter to them and customer satisfaction is always a high priority.

It’s important to note, that there is no perfect profile for a salesperson. It depends on the position you need filled and the makeup of your current department. If your Outside Sales department is made up of only Hunters, you should consider adding more support. Do your “tech people” excel at support but dislike dealing with people face-to-face? Then you need to add a more extroverted profile who prefers customer service.

This allows your sales staff to be in front, bringing in new clients to be serviced by people well equipped to handle the “behind the scenes” work. Don’t ask a Hunter to handle a few “follow up” issues. You’ll lose satisfied customers because it’s not an inherent priority in their personality.

Let your Hunters seek the targets but be sure to have textual and managerial support on hand…and then enjoy the fruits of the hunt. It will be a good haul. By maintaining the mix, you’ll maintain your profits too.

How many Hunters do you have in your sales force? Do you have Farmers miscast? Is your customer service department equipped to keep your clients satisfied and coming back?

Author's Bio: 

Dave Eisley has over 15 years of experience in building high performing sales teams. His experience in startups, franchise development, and inside and outside sales in both residential and commercial settings have put him in front of thousands of salespeople. He knows what works, and more importantly, what doesn't.