the right tools for sales huntersUsing the appropriate “tools of the trade” is an important guiding principle for jobs that require specialized skills. Plumbers need wrenches and carpenters need hammers to effectively apply their skills and complete their work effectively and efficiently. There is a reason why farmers use shovels and hoes to till the soil and tend to their crops. Hunters on the other hand need different tools since hunting with a shovel wouldn’t be very successful.

This is also true with selling. Many sales organizations deploy a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Sales Force Automation (SFA) solution for their sales team. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good first step but it doesn’t guarantee success. Only one in five CRM systems actually increases revenue (CSO Insights, 2011). Having a central repository with your entire customer data set is a great idea, especially if you have multiple departments, divisions or employees within your company that need to access and work on the data and records.

Where sales organizations often fail is that they take a “one size fits all” approach for the sales tools that they provide to their sales organization. There are different roles within a sales organization like the Farmer & Hunter analogy above. Farmers are your account management team members that focus on tending to the needs of current customers. This includes maintaining account relationships, processing recurring orders, handling support incidents, etc. A traditional CRM system is ideal for managing current customers because account details can be stored in one place and easily accessed by multiple stakeholders that touch customers such as sales, marketing, finance, operations and logistics.

Hunters, on the other hand, are tasked with new customer acquisition and lead generation activities. This can include handling inbound & outbound calls with the goal of turning leads into prospects and then into new customers. The source of leads can come from various sources like company database, web forms, tradeshows, list brokers and other marketing activities. It is crucial that marketing is in sync with your sales processes and goals. The misalignment in sales and marketing is causing the typical company to underperform by 10 percent in annual revenue (IDC, 2011).

Hunting for new business and dealing with leads and prospects is difficult and requires different selling skills as well as different sales tools. Lead Management Software system allows sales managers to create campaigns, call scripts lead routing guidelines, disposition codes, email templates and custom reports. Advanced features such as Auto Dialing Software and Call Recording can also increase sales team effectiveness and productivity. Ideally, the Lead Management Software will integrate with your corporate CRM program so data can be imported and exported back and forth and support data transfer standards such as CSV or XML posts.

Sales organizations need to understand that not all sales functions and roles are the same. It is important to ensure that you have the right salespeople in the right selling capacity based on their DNA and skill set. Sales leaders also need to commit to the appropriate sales training, coaching, mentoring and a general employee development plan to enrich their sales team members and arm them with the skills necessary to be successful in their role. It is equally important to provide the appropriate technology and tools, such as a CRM or Lead Management system to enable your Farmers and Hunters and empower them to succeed.