Today I received an email from Selling Power promoting their latest webinar, The Hunter/Farmer Paradigm is Dead.
In 2007 we had to deal with writers proclaiming that sales and the sales force were dead. The reality of all of that talk was that the people writing about it weren't close enough to sales to know what they were talking about. Companies with transactional sales don't need salespeople selling their transactional items, but they do need salespeople persuading companies to choose them in the first place. Then the transactions can be placed via Internet or an inside sales group. That's about the only scenario where the "dead" proclamation even comes close to being accurate.
Companies selling complex products, design engineered, custom, capital intensive, and higher priced than competition absolutely need salespeople to find opportunities, develop the need, provide value, qualify the opportunity, present the right solution and close the business. Companies that are underdogs, those that sell professional services, and those with a story to tell absolutely need salespeople.
And today we have more attention grabbing headlines. While it is Selling Power that is hosting this promotional webinar, it's actually a sales training company that is conducting it. They go on to say that, "today's economy demands that you leverage all of your available sales talent by helping your sales reps both farm and hunt productively."
That's fine in theory. It's optimal. But the reality is that Objective Management Group has statistics from evaluating 450,000 salespeople and it's just not possible. Here are the facts:
You want all of your salespeople to find new business but 24% of them will never be able to do that. All of the training that they can provide won't change those people. They'll have new words and will learn new skills but they still won't actually do it.
You want all of your salespeople to farm but some of them will never be able to do that either. 22% of them can't be trained. And 45% of them will not close. Again, they can train them until they're blue in the face but aside from the new words they'll learn, nothing will change for that group of salespeople.
So in a perfect world, where we can be anything we want to be, athletes aren't wired to be scientists, artists aren't wired to be software programmers, and ballet dancers aren't wired to be weight lifters. Some salespeople aren't wired to prospect - they should be account managers - and some people aren't wired to close - they should be account managers too!
(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan