How To Hire Hunters And Farmers For The Right Sales Roles

Sales isn’t a one-size fits all career. Specific personality traits make some people more suited to sales – and your organisation – than others. Here’s how you find them and hire them.

hiring hunters and farmers in sales roles

Question: Does your Sales Organisation use an assessment tool specifically developed to identify competitive Hunter and Farmer sales executives – and has this tool proven to be effective in identifying competitive traits of Hunter and Farmer sales executives?

The Reality 

According to our research at ThinkSales Global, only 26.7% of Sales Organisations use an assessment tool specifically developed to identify competitive Hunter and Farmer sales executives.

In addition, 23% of companies rate their confidence as Outstanding that the assessment tool they use has proven to be effective in identifying competitive traits of Hunter and Farmer sales executives.

The ‘Predict If Someone Will Be Good In The Sales Role’ Problem

We all know that competitive and successful sales teams include high-performing, talented salespeople. The problem is that not everyone is suited to competitive sales environments – and even those who are able to perform in the role will have varying degrees of success. So how do you find those high-performing, talented individuals that you so desperately need?

The common belief in sales is that anyone who is outgoing, warm and friendly will make a good competitive salesperson.

We hear this all the time: “If you’re really good with people, you should be in sales!” Unfortunately, if you hire based solely on extroversion and people-skills, you will find out what our data at ThinkSales Global has revealed; this is not predictive of success in competitive salespeople.

Too many managers get caught in the trap of selecting salespeople based on style over substance, and their targets suffer as a result.

Identify The Top 3 Characteristics Of Your Top-Performing Competitive Sales People

Psychometric Assessments are the best way to identify the top 3 characteristics of top performing competitive salespeople.

With them, you can predict and select those candidates who will become highly productive, successful members of your sales team.

Using its 35+ years of historical data and predictive analytics, and based on a database of 55 000 successful competitive sales people, The SelfManagement Group is able to accurately predict both performance and retention of competitive salespeople.

The data reveals the top three characteristics that actually predict performance: 

1. Self-Management

Self-managers are people who are driven and able to direct their own activities on a regular basis.

This is, without a doubt, the most important attribute for success. Because competitive sales often rely on the salesperson to initiate the sales process, the process requires self-managers who will go after the opportunities and complete the tasks needed to close the sale. 

Self-managers are enterprising and goal-oriented. On a day-to-day basis, without being prompted, self-managers will:

  • Set goals and objectives
  • Select activities to get to those objectives
  • Commit to the activities
  • Do the activities
  • Evaluate their performance
  • Seek out additional resources when required.

As you can see, self-managers commit to focusing their daily effort on the tasks that they need to do to reach specific goals. Typically, they do this without thinking about it – it’s just what they do. And it is what makes them more successful than their peers who do not have this crucial characteristic. 

2. Achievement Orientation

Achievement orientation is the motivational component of the salesperson’s personality, which affects their drive, energy, and ambition.

A person’s achievement orientation is the second-most predictive characteristic for success in competitive sales.

  • People who have a high level of achievement orientation are very high energy people with a high sense of urgency, who direct their energy into the activities they undertake.
  • With their energy and urgency, high achievement orientation individuals are typically more effective closers. They also tend to have a balanced motivational structure wherein they are motivated by both money/challenge and people service/recognition. This is ideal because they are most likely to find win-win situations without sacrificing the needs of client or the sale.
  • If your competitive sales environment calls for salespeople who can close and get results quickly, you want to select someone with a high achievement orientation.

3. Independence / Coachability

This characteristic is less predictive of success in competitive selling, but most predictive of retention.

If you find a high achieving self-manager, they will quickly become invaluable to your team and you will naturally want to retain them.

  • Where a salesperson falls on the scale from independence to coachability dictates what type of environment they need to thrive.
  • It’s important to select salespeople who fit with your specific company culture and environment. The number one reason competitive salespeople leave their positions is because the manager or company’s coaching style does not fit with their level of independence.
  • High independence salespeople don’t want to get feedback and don’t want to give feedback. Conversely, highly coachable salespeople want feedback on a daily basis.
  • Many competitive selling environments are suited to people with middle to high independence. These individuals are coachable, responding well to leaders who are good coaches and facilitators; but, they don’t like to be micromanaged or controlled, instead preferring to create their own system and freedoms.

Do This: 

Look for individuals that display Self-Management and Achievement Orientation. Success with candidates who have high achievement orientation ultimately relies on whether they are strong self-managers or not. Think of self-management and achievement orientation together as a dimmer switch:

  • Having self-management means the dimmer switch is on; not having self-management means it’s off.
  • Having a high achievement orientation means the dimmer switch is at high or full brightness; having a lower achievement orientation means the dimmer switch is at a lower level of brightness.
  • The key here is that without self-management, it doesn’t matter how high the dimmer switch is set – it’s not on. That’s why self-management is the most important characteristic to select for.

FINALLY: Once you find a candidate with these critical characteristics, your final check is to make sure they have a good attitude. Although a good attitude doesn’t predict good performance, a bad attitude does predict poor performance.

Assess The Health Of Your Sales Organisation

Making use of an assessment tool specifically developed to identify competitive Hunter and Farmer sales executives and ensuring it is proven to be effective in doing so are two of the 322 measures of a world-class Sales Organisation.

How does your Sales Organisation stack up? Find out by taking the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.

This first-of-its-kind 360-degree gap analysis report enables your Sales Leadership team to assess its strengths and detect weaknesses and impediments to revenue growth across the five pillars of a high performing sales organisation:

  1. Competitive Strategy
  2. Customer Engagement
  3. Sales Talent
  4. Sales Management
  5. Sales Enablement

Click here for more information on the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.

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