The existence of hunter-type and farmer-type salespersons is an old understanding in sales circles. Hunters are after market share and winning new prizes (deals or customers). Farmers are maintaining existing accounts, maximizing profits, cross-selling (adding products to what the customer has already purchased) and ensuring a consistent and predictable stream of revenue.
Famously, most salespersons are not able to juggle both dispositions. Perhaps it is the duality of the roles or perhaps it is the difference in skillsets. Most companies do not have the recruiting capability or the talent pool to bring onboard both types of salespeople.
What is more, most companies should not try. Unless a company has the size and payroll capability of a Blackberry, Apotex or Sony organizations need to articulate either a growth and market share or maximizing profit and retention strategy. Again, most sales managers and business owners reading this will immediately balk at the choice opting (in other words hoping) for both, but with the wish being unrealistic a choice needs to be made.
So be it if your shareholders and investors are making the choice for you. Otherwise, articulate a strategy and hire for the part.
Is your business needing to grow fast and garner market share (perhaps additional cross-sell opportunities are in the product pipeline a year or two down the road) or is your business in the mood to maintain the customer base by providing a higher level of service than a poaching competitor could offer) and ensure the profitability of the business is not in jeopardy? Then hire accordingly.
*Things That Need To Go Away: hiring generically for a ‘sales’ position.