Here at SalesTestOnline.com we do a lot of sales assessment testing to identify top sales hunters. I would guess though, that we do nearly as many sales tests to identify high potential sales farmers.
One thing I have noticed is that while hiring managers think about and seriously ponder the sales personality traits of top sales hunters, they put far less thought into the sales personality traits of sales farmers. It is almost as if a sales candidate who is not a good hunter automatically qualifies as a good sales farmer. This is a rather binary way of looking at sales personalities, as if by being a bad fit for one you are by default good for the other.
Obviously, there are more than just two types of sales person personalities. I can absolutely assure you that many of the sales candidates who would be just awful sales hunters would be equally awful as sales farmers. I therefore thought I would focus on and describe the critical trait drive combination that always seems to be present in top sales farmers.
In this previous article about Hunters and Farmers we explained that while the two diverse styles have important differences, they also share some key similarities. Where they differ is in both their respective levels of assertiveness and of dependence. Hunters have high assertiveness while farmers are low. Hunters have low dependence while farmers are high. Where they are similar is that both tend to be very extroverted and both tend to have a sense of urgency.
Summary Description of Top Sales Farmer
Top sales farmers are non-assertive, outgoing and persuasive. They have a sense of urgency and need for variety and they are also quite dependent on rules and structure in order to give direction to their work activities. They are very altruistic and are therefore highly motivated by the desire to help others-the customer, the team. Their eagerness to please others means that they will be highly motivated by recognition. Because they have quite a strong fear of failure and risk aversion they will tend to follow policies and procedures. Top sales farmers will operate with seeming independence and seeming authority when they are comfortable with the role and on firm ground with regards to the rules and procedures. For this reason they may appear quite assertive and independent if they are highly familiar with the position.
Critical Trait Drive Combination
In our studies of sales farmer teams, two critical trait drives are consistently present in the top performers. They invariably have both Low Patience (they are impatient) and High Dependence. These two trait drives are described below.
Low Patience– low levels of this factor mean that the individual is very impatient, is restless and pro-active, thrives on change/variety, has nervous energy, is deadline oriented, is a multi-tasker, is bored by routine and repetition.
High Dependence– high levels of this factor mean that the individual is very dependent on the structure of rules, procedures and guidelines, is very perfectionistic and detailed, is compliant, has a strong fear of failure, and requires security.
The above combination of traits is critical and integral to their success because it means that they not only exhibit a great sense of urgency within their work but in doing so they are organized, detail oriented and follow a plan. Those sales farmers who lack this sense of urgency and detail orientation tend to be very passive and reactive in style. As well they do not tend to be particularly organized nor as dedicated to following procedures and systems. In short, they are scattered, disorganized and very high maintenance. Which type would you rather have on your team? SalesTestOnline.com readily identifies the difference!
If you are responsible for managing or hiring sales farmers I would be pleased to have a conversation with you to learn about your specific challenges.