Hunters and Farmers. If you’re in marketing and sales, you have likely heard this phrase, but have you ever thought about what it really means? Over the years, I’ve heard simple explanations of these two types of sales people and some fairly comical, but they are hardly ever as vivid as what Seth Godin has painted in his post (see end of this piece for link).
I have reprinted five of his bullet points, not in order, but just the ones that struck me. I have also not excerpted any of his narrative – you need to go read it yourself. Before you do, though, read these few statements.
According to Seth:
Some ways to think about this [hunters versus farmers]:
- George Clooney (in Up in the Air) and James Bond are both fictional hunters. Give them a desk job and they freak out.
- Farmers don’t dislike technology. They dislike failure. Technology that works is a boon.
- Hunters are in sync with Google, a hunting site, farmers like Facebook.
- Farmers prefer productive meetings, hunters want to simply try stuff and see what happens.
- The last hundred years of our economy favored smart farmers. It seems as though the next hundred are going to belong to the persistent hunters able to stick with it for the long haul.
So what do we do with this? The last bullet, no pun intended, is the one that demands more thought. If we’ve built systems and process and methods that are built for farmers, and the economy is changing to one that favors hunters, how can we move ourselves back into that radical role?
There is some dispute in the comments and I recognize Seth’s post doesn’t completely cover the topic, but let’s just consider the basics: There are two types of sales people, at the core, and how they interact with your customer base and product is important. Do you have the right people covering the right customers?
Here’s my thinking about the future being more favorable for hunters versus farmers: I’m exploring and extending Seth’s thoughts that we’ve built mass media for the farmer type and the social media landscape is potentially more valuable for the hunter who can find the right people, with the right message, at the right time.
Farming or Gathering (as it is just as often called) is built for waiting for those to come to you at harvest time. Hunting demands going to people on their turf, understanding their landscape, their world, and working in that framework. I suppose that there’s some of that in farming or gathering, but I’m suggesting that social media environments favor the hunter.
What say you? Let’s discuss it.
Read more about Seth’s Hunter Farmer thoughts here.
TJ McCue is founder of the Sales Rescue Team. He is also a Product Review editor at SmallBizTrends.