Does your organization know how to support a sales hunter? As a Sales and Leadership expert, I have noticed that this relationship can be a complicated one—on both sides. Below is a letter written by a hunter to management that addresses typical issues hunters face. The letter is meant to raise issues hunters should address to gain the support they need. But the letter is also meant to highlight management issues, alerting them to what they need to do to support the hunter.
You hired me as a sales hunter to find new opportunities in new accounts and drive up sales revenues. You pay me well with a decent base and nice commission structure designed to reward me for the risks I take daily in pushing forward and dealing with a lot of rejection. I have learned to handle rejection, but when I don’t get the support I need from management, it slows me down, and eventually, it will demoralize me.
To do my part to foster a more effective working relationship and to clear up any misperceptions, here are five issues I wish to clarify since these are usually our points of contention:
- Answers to My Questions—As a hunter, I am driven to control my destiny and not waste my time. I am committed to doing what’s right for my customers. So if I need support, please answer my questions ASAP. The more time I spend running after answers, the more it slows me down and saps my momentum.
- Supporting New Opportunities—I know not every deal is good for the company. Sometimes I can be too optimistic, but that is how I am wired. If I bring in new opportunities that require some kind of deviation from the current plan, please listen to the concept first. For a hunter, there is nothing worse than not being listened to. Secondly, please be up front and let me know if we can do this or not. I can deal with the answer no because I hear it often in prospecting, but what makes my work overly challenging is when I don’t get an answer to work with.
- I’m Disruptive by Nature—You pay me to be a disrupter. I disrupt prospects’ current way of thinking and motivate them to look at things differently. I attempt to disrupt their current supply chain and leave an existing vendor whom they trust to give us the business. It is difficult to turn off my disruptive nature because it’s who I am and it’s what allows me to succeed in getting new business for you. I agree, however, that sometimes disruptions can be a turnoff. Let’s make a deal: I will work on curtailing my disruptive nature but you, in turn, agree to celebrate and support my disruptive nature since it helps us gain new accounts.
- Pricing—Selling value is my business, but so is closing the deal. I get measured on sales revenue goals, and that is what I use to measure whether or not I am doing a good job. If the bottom line is also important (and I know it is), then split my commissions to compensate for both the sales revenue and profit margin goals you want me to achieve.
- Paperwork—I know I am usually late with expense reports, entering data into the CRM system, and so forth. I realize it’s important, but I’m sure by now you’ve realized I am not a detail person. Anything you can do to minimize the detail and labor involved will help in expediting my participation. My focus is on getting the business, and everything else takes a back seat. I know you need my projections to make decisions on inventory, so I promise to work harder at getting my paperwork in on time. If I fail to do so, please know it was not intentional.
To Our Success!
Your Sales Hunter
Hunters are like eagles—they don’t flock together, and they sometimes don’t play well with others. The key is working out a happy medium where the hunter’s disruptive wings are not clipped and the hunter understands that his or her issues are not the only ones that are important.
If you’re a hunter reading this blog, please feel free to send this letter to your management, but only if you are willing to sign it and own it. May this year be one in which you make strides in sales, in your work relationships, and in advocating for what you need!