Which Type of Sales Hunter Do You Need?Which Type of Sales Hunter Do You Need?
Almost every VAR we work with wants to hire a sales hunter to drive new business. When they set out to make these hires, they hope to find people who, at full productivity, can identify and close three to six new accounts per quarter.
August 20, 2015
Almost every VAR we work with wants to hire a sales hunter to drive new business. When they set out to make these hires, they hope to find people who, at full productivity, can identify and close three to six new accounts per quarter—a necessary number given the fact that most VARs settle for 20 percent closing ratios, when they should be closing 50 percent or more. And they expect these reps will be hitting that target within four to six months (give or take a month based on the type of solution).
On the surface, those performance expectations may seem reasonable.
What many VARs fail to realize is that there are two very distinct types of sales hunters: entrepreneurial and enterprise. While at their heart, they all need the top skills all successful sales hunters possess, their hunting philosophy, traits and results can be very different. As a result, the type of hire you make can impact your sales rep’s speed to performance success and the ways in which you manage and compensate them.
Philosophy: They’re doing the job for themselves. They’re motivated by what they can get out of it, and no opportunity is too small to target.
Self-motivated to find and close opportunities
They’ll hunt wherever they think the opportunity is, even if it isn’t in your sweet spot
Always seeking the next opportunity—but if it isn’t likely to close now, they might not have the discipline to check back in six months
Amenable to 100 percent commission or a low base salary because they see the potential for significant earnings
Downside: While Entrepreneurial reps don’t need motivation to hunt for new opportunities, they can be difficult to manage. They tend to do what “feels” right for them vs. what’s right for the business. They can also be difficult to retain, particularly if you don’t get the compensation structure right. These hunters are generally lone wolves, not team players. Find one and keep them happy, and they’ll sell plenty.
Philosophy: Unlike Entrepreneurial Hunters, this type of sales rep is constantly looking for the whales in their territory—and they’re willing to invest the time necessary to nurture those opportunities to fruition. Small opportunities aren’t worth their time.
Focus full attention on a few large opportunities at a time
Excellent long-term relationship builders who leverage that skill to nurture whales
Generally prefer a high base salary because they know it will take time to close enterprise deals, but they’re also motivated by a high commission structure
Downside: While Enterprise Hunters tend to close bigger deals, they often underestimate the length of the sales process and their probability of winning an account. As a result, it might take them longer to close their first sale and they might frustrate you with their refusal to target smaller, interim opportunities between whales. Finally, if this type of hunter’s compensation plan doesn’t support them while they are nurturing the whales, they’ll look elsewhere.
So, which type of hunter are you targeting? And which type makes more sense for your business?
Those are important questions to consider because their answers can dramatically impact the goals you set, the price you pay and the results you achieve in the short- and long-term.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the award-winning books, “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the small and midmarket business (SMB) segment.
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