There has been some discussion as to whether the distinction between inside sales and outside sales is still valid, or whether this is an outdated model. Some suggest a hybrid approach, where a salesperson performs both inside and outside functions, is the solution. This jack-of-all-trades salesperson might exist, but I still believe that categorizing salespeople into inside farmers versus outside sales hunters will still bear fruit in the foreseeable future.
Because each human being possesses a certain set of personality traits as unique as his or her fingerprints, and some traits lean towards better performance in specific jobs compared with other traits.
The best way to discover these traits, and classify salespeople into roles which best suit them, is with the APQ sales aptitude assessment.
This test is short, taking about 20 to 25 minutes to complete. It is very accurate and proven by real world results in countless cases. When you filter candidates with the APQ sales aptitude assessment and then put them through sales training workshops designed for their job roles, you make a lot more money, spend less on training, and have better morale overall.
Let’s examine some of the characteristics of both outside sales hunters and inside sales farmers and the benefits each brings to a sales team.
The Outside Sales Hunter
Look at the image of the bird of prey above. It’s a golden eagle, one of the apex predators of North America. The eagle does not wait around for its food to come knocking on the door, saying “here I am!” Instead, it is constantly on the lookout for opportunity. It travels high in the sky, never content to stay idle for too long, and when it sees a chance to strike – it does so without hesitation.
Outside sales hunters are like the eagle. They do not sit in their offices all day, waiting for the phone to ring or leads to be delivered. Instead, they pursue business by leaving the office and “hunting” in their territories. Sales hunters are mostly self-directed, and should not require too much oversight when they are outside meeting with prospects.
The APQ sales aptitude assessment helps identify those who have the qualities which make up great sales hunters, such as:
- Enjoy selling
- Excellent communication skills
- Flexible with rules and regulations
- Take initiative
- Enjoy recognition
- Network easily
Outside salespeople sometimes get a bad rap due to over-aggressive tactics, being “lone wolves,” or being sloppy with details. These can all be addressed through coaching and training, backed up by an APQ sales aptitude assessment. An overly-aggressive salesperson should study how to build rapport, and communicating with different personality types. A “lone wolf” should be made to understand how much time and frustration he or she will save by participating in the formal sales processes established by management, and the value of teamwork. And the sloppy ones can be taught some time management and organizational tricks to keep things orderly.
The Inside Sales Farmer
Now look at the picture above which represents a farmer. In contrast to the eagle picture, this one suggests nurturing and patience. A farmer plants seeds which won’t bear fruit or grain for many months or even years. He carefully waters and feeds his farm, knowing that he must constantly attend to the plants lest they wither and die. And when it comes time to harvest, he expertly does so, while leaving the ground undamaged so future generations can grow.
The inside sales farmer operates in quite the same fashion. He “starts a farm” of leads and prospects, and carefully delivers marketing messages at the right time to grow brand recognition and interest in his product or service. He knows how to close (harvest) at the right time, rather than strike too soon or wait too long. He nurtures his existing customer base so that he may continue to derive more revenue in the form of upsells and referrals, rather than be strictly transactional.
The APQ sales aptitude assessment is the best tool to identify inside sales farmers, who tend to have the following qualities:
- Good team member
- Good listener/mediator
- Recognizes needs of others
- Gain loyalty
Inside sales people can mistakenly be thought of as less valuable than outside sales hunters. I think this is a mistake because most organizations only achieve their potential with a mix of both. You need someone to nurture your existing customers, or work with the leads who aren’t read to buy yet and keep them engaged with you for a future sale.
They also tend to take much better care of inbound leads than the outside people do, and are more willing to use CRM systems and established sales processes. Please note that these are generalities, and of course some outside sales hunters do perfectly fine with CRM and formal sales processes.
The biggest thing to watch out for is not to put a natural hunter in a farmer role, or vice versa. There are just too many differences. That’s why I recommend you test everyone with the APQ sales aptitude assessment.
Start testing today
The APQ will save you a lot of money in the long run. You will train people who can be successful, rather than train a lot of people and hope some stick around.
The results have been validated through real world application and case studies, and you can use the test in making hiring decisions per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission without fear of being accused of discrimination or unfair hiring practices.
As I have said before in past blog posts: The APQ is THE SECRET WEAPON for identifying farmer and hunters. Use it!
Contact Asher Strategies to get set up with this affordable, organization-changing tool today.