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Developing Sales Talent, Part 4: How To Determine Hunters Or Farmers

Developing Sales Talent

Travis Apple, Pittsburgh Pirates
Leigh Castergine, New York Mets
Charlie Chislaghi, Kansas City Royals
Bryant Pfeiffer, Major League Soccer
Jamie Spencer, Tampa Bay Lightning
Janet Duch, San Diego Padres
Moderator: Bill Sutton, Bill Sutton & Associates and University of South Florida

At the recent SBJ/SBD Ticketing Symposium, sales executives from across sports talked about building a successful sales culture.

Today, we feature Part 4 of the discussion. Check back every day this week for more from this engaging and informative session.

Click here for:
Part 1: How To Find It And How To Make It Fit
Part 2: How To Build A Sales Culture
Part 3: How To Keep Them Motivated, Energized

SUTTON: All of you represent the hunter-farmer relationship. You have people that sell, the hunters, and you have people that farm, your retention group. When you have a sales staff, and someone’s really not the top performer, but they have some good conversation skills. How do you decide if somebody can be a farmer? How do you transition somebody from a hunter to a farmer? Or do you do that?

CHISALGHI: I’m seeing much more, that we’re not making that separation anymore. I’m seeing service staffs that are being staffed by people who are superb at relationship building, they can connect. But they’re also superb sales people. They upsell, they handle it, and they acquire referrals for new business.

WALLS: We’re getting away from that. It used to be the bottom performers on our service team a long time ago we’d, “lets put ‘em in service.” Whereas now, a lot of our best sellers are on the service team. It’s building relationships, if you can see the business from a macro standpoint. We’re putting more strong sellers onto our service team.

It's never easy for a retention representative to ask a customer for money, Spencer said.
It used to be more distinct, you’re in retention, you’re in sales. I think the big thing is psychologically we’ve kind of eliminated that now, and said, “hey we’re all tasked with different sales jobs now.” The hardest thing for a retention rep is that they feel a relationship and they don’t want to jeopardize that by asking for more. Experience is really what gets them over the hump, because once they’ve done it a few times and they see it’s not that hard, where they see that “this person doesn’t hate me now that I’ve asked them for money.” It’s never easy to ask for money. That’s where training comes in, you’ve got to really stay close to your retention team, and you have to guide them and say, “When’s the last time you asked Bill to add a group? Have you asked him where he works? Do you know if he’s on the board? Does he have children?” The answer is building out CRM and getting all the information there. Then you as a sales manager can help them with that information and say, “OK, let’s go through this dashboard a little bit and maybe I can help you find a way to ask this person for more.” The retention team has then turned a corner.

Check back tomorrow for the final installment of the Developing Sales Talent discussion.

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