What to avoid when you want to increase the results of a sales team

On David Nour’s Relationship Economics blog David and Neal Gorenflo have posted an article “Colossal Sales Blunder #1: Separating Hunting from Farming

In this article they say that in most organisations sales people are divided in two teams: the ones responsible for new business (hunters) and the ones responsible for existing accounts (farmers).

In their opinion this is a blunder. Why? “Because the best way to win new clients is through existing ones. And also because team selling increases close rates.”

Although every situation is different I tend to agree with them. I see so many sales people make cold calls with low response and success rates meaning low ROI (Return on Investment). Next to that many sales people get discouraged because of this low success rate.

On the other hand I also don’t see the account managers whose only responsibility it is to keep customers ask for referrals. Although they are in the best position to do this, they don’t because “it is not their responsibility” to get new customers for the organisation.

For most situations I agree with David and Neal that the sales role is better not split. Also from personal experience as a business owner who is responsible for both sales and choosing suppliers I have experienced that I get more referrals when I have a better personal relationship with that customer and that I’m also more inclined to make introductions for suppliers I have a better relationship with. It is about knowing, liking and trusting (see the post “Do people know, like and trust you?” )

For organisations which can’t or don’t want to change the way they set up their sales teams, there might be an alternative: have the hunters and farmers communicate on a regular basis and make their pay dependable on the joint result. Or offer another kind of incentive so they will work together so the farmers ask for referrals and pass them on to the hunters.

If you haven’t read the article of David and Neal, I would encourage you to do it now, because it contains more intesting information and a statistic about team selling.

Have a great networking day !


Jan Vermeiren, founder of Networking Coach and author of the Everlasting Referrals Home Study Course


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