How to Make a Sales Paradigm Shift That Makes You and Your Company More Money

April 26, 2012 by  Filed under: Sales 

Are you a sales manager who spends most of your time with your hunter business developers and little or no time with your farmer account managers? Are you a salesperson who wears both hats, the hunter hat and the farmer hat, and find it difficult to be effective in both roles? Are you a full-time farmer account manager struggling with increasing your revenue streams? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you should continue to read this article. To eliminate the stress associated with these scenarios requires the adoption of a new sales paradigm. To make a paradigm shift requires three steps.

1. Recognition of the old more traditional sales paradigm

2. Acceptance of a new more effective sales paradigm

3. Understanding of the sales process steps that justify the paradigm shift

The Old Traditional Sales Paradigm

In this sales paradigm there are two distinct roles; the hunter and the farmer. The hunter is the master prospector. He or she goes out into the world, finds the business and makes the sale. Then he or she goes to the next sale, and the next one, and so forth and so on.

The farmer account manager on the other hand is responsible for nurturing long-term relationships in existing accounts, for keeping the customers happy, and for protecting and growing each account’s revenue streams.

The New Sales Paradigm

In the new sales paradigm there is only one role, the role of the salesperson. To be successful the seller has merged the hunter farmer roles into one role and has mastery of the required skills that drive each role. He or she can chase business in new accounts only; can chase business in existing accounts only; or can manage their time and do both.

From a new business development perspective in today’s complex business environment penetrating new accounts takes time. Farming an account to grow revenue also takes time. Both require relationship development skills. The skills previously associated with the farmer account manager must work for the seller in the new sales paradigm; and the skills previously associated with the hunter business developer must also work for the seller in the new sales paradigm.

Any of the sales process steps described below can occur in a new account as well as an existing account. Keep in mind that an existing account can have different business units and different geographic locations that may not know about your company.

The Sales Process Steps (The Buyer Engages the Seller)

1. The buyer is looking for a solution to a problem has no relationship with an incumbent and encourages many vendors to bid on the business. The lead could be in-bound driven by your marketing effort or could be outbound driven by the salesperson.

2. The buyer is looking for a solution to a problem has a working relationship with an incumbent but decides to replace incumbent because they are dissatisfied. You could be that incumbent!

3. The buyer is looking for a solution to a problem and is forced by a mandate to get competitive bids or wants to leverage the bids to get the lowest price. Again, you could be the incumbent!

The Sales Process Steps (The Seller Engages the Buyer)

4. The seller engages a buyer in solving an existing problem that remained unresolved over a period of months or years.

5. The seller identifies a need the buyer didn’t realize they had and can engage the buyer in co-developing a solution.

6. The seller uncovers the buyer’s pain and can relieve, reduce, or eliminate the pain using the seller’s offerings.

Recognize that any of these process steps can occur in a new account as well as an existing account. Each of the above steps requires a set of specific sales skills. The hunter farmer roles have become a myth from a more simple time in our history. Here is my closing question. If you made the paradigm shift would you make more money for yourself and your company?

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