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Is The Concept Of Hunters And Farmers Relevant Any More?

by David Brock on January 18th, 2017

It  seems like the concept of hunters and farmers have been around virtually as long as sales.

In theory, hunters are the people that have to prospect, to bring in new accounts or logos.  The farmers, according to mythology nurture those accounts, retaining the business, possibly growing to drive more revenue.

In much of the literature, there’s a lot of jockeying and ego about which is the “real” sales job.

Frankly, I think these categorizations aren’t useful–if they ever have been.

The sales person’s job is to maximize the share of account or territory for which they are responsible.  I believe it is our God-given right to 100% share of customer and share of territory.  But it’s our jobs as sales professionals to figure out how to do this.

This implies several things that bridge the traditional distinctions between hunters and farmers.

In maximizing their share of account/territory, it means sales people have to constantly be searching for new opportunities in which they can help customers, driving business for their companies.  Sounds a lot like hunting.

In maximizing share of account/territory,  sales people also have to focus on retaining all the revenue currently being generated in the account and territory.  Sounds a lot like farming.

Our jobs are really about growth.  We have to sell more within our territories and accounts every year.  We have to prospect to find new opportunities.  If we lose something through retention problems, then from a performance point of view we are in a deficit position.  As a result, we have to find a way to make up that deficit and grow.

Fundamentally, the notions of hunting and farming are no longer relevant, so let’s stop wasting time talking about them.  We are all unified in growing our accounts and territories.  So let’s focus on how we do this rather than defending out dated ideas.



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  1. Totally agree David. I found no dichotomy in fulfilling these two roles while I was in full time sales. In fact, lets think about the phrase “hunters and gathers”. This is how we described our ancestors before many of them became farmers. That is how they survived, the men hunted and the women gathered nuts and berries. In order to survive they had to do both. And so it is in sales too.

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