Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to work with two very distinct types of salesforces. One group is focused solely on pulling more business out of their accounts, and the other group is focused solely on going after new accounts. While working with these groups simultaneously, the distinction between the “hunter” and the “farmer” has become very real, and it’s given me pause to consider the unique qualities required to develop net new accounts and cultivate existing ones.
Aesop’s Fables are believed to date as far back as 5th or 6th century BC. The oldest fairy tales were believed to have been told and retold for generations before they were ever written down. Meanwhile, my clients struggle daily with trying to get their customers to remember their sales pitch 10 minutes after they pull out of the parking lot.
Last week I finished No Easy Day, the controversial book written by one of the Navy SEALs involved in the bin Laden raid. It was a quick read, and for a few days I was engrossed in the life of a Navy SEAL… reading voraciously about how SEALs become SEALs, how they train, and how they prepare for missions.
Whenever I work on initiatives with a sales team, I hear … “They never read their emails”… “Getting them to follow instructions is like pulling teeth”. Sound familiar? Salespeople are busy. Many don’t sit in front of email all day. This is generally how you want your salespeople behaving… in front of customers driving business. That said it’s the perfect storm for communications.
We talk a lot about sales coaching, but what we often observe is that managers focus on teaching the individuals who are either new and learning or need remedial help because they are struggling. Other instruction comes in the form of mass communication to the team via email or team meetings. When the team applies this instruction differently, it often leaves the manager asking “Why aren’t they all doing it the way I asked? They all heard the same message, didn’t they?”
As I walked through my daughter’s playroom the other day, I looked at her dilapidated toy kitchen set and laughed as I thought about the fateful Christmas Eve night it came to life. I had purchased what I thought would be the coolest kitchen set ever.