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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How to Develop Farmers and Hunters to be More Effective

How to Develop Farmers and Hunters to be More Effective

There is a hierarchy in the sales world.

Most sales leaders come from the days when salespeople were responsible for every step in the sales process. You had to find your leads, get an appointment, and ultimately close the deal. You only ate what you killed.

We were hunters, so we tend to favor and even value hunters more than farmers. When I say farmers, I mean salespeople who spend most of their time nurturing clients, building relationships, and growing them.

Farmers and Hunters: You Need Both

Sadly, we bring that bias with us when we build sales teams and evaluate candidates. But the reality is we need both hunters and farmers! (Yes, in a perfect world, your hunters would also be excellent farmers, but we don't live in a perfect world.)

Hunter vs Farmer Personality, Characteristics, and More

Here are five ways to help both hunters and farmers excel and contribute to your team’s success.

1. Identify Strengths and Assign Roles Accordingly

First, you have to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member.

Hunters thrive in environments where they can chase new opportunities, whereas farmers excel in roles that require patience and relationship-building.

You should use a talent assessment to hire and evaluate your team's strengths and identify who fits into which category. Once you’ve identified their strengths, you can begin to assign roles accordingly.

2. Provide Tailored Training and Development

Hunters and farmers require different skill sets, and your training programs should reflect this. For hunters, focus on training that enhances their prospecting, presentation, and closing skills. Role-playing scenarios that mimic high-stakes sales pitches or cold-calling sessions can be incredibly beneficial.

For farmers, provide training that emphasizes customer relationship management, active listening, and negotiation skills. Encourage them to take courses on CRM tools and customer service techniques. Tailoring your training programs to meet the specific needs of hunters and farmers ensures that each member of your team is continuously improving.

3. Foster a Collaborative Environment

Even though hunters and farmers have different roles, they should not work in silos. Encourage a culture of collaboration where they can learn from each other. Regular team meetings and brainstorming sessions can facilitate the sharing of strategies and techniques.

Hunters can benefit from the relationship-building tips shared by farmers, and farmers can learn new prospecting methods from hunters.

4. Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Hunters and farmers are motivated by different things, so it’s essential to set clear, achievable goals. For hunters, targets might include outreach activity, new opportunities opened, and deals closed within a specific period.

For farmers, goals could focus on customer retention rates, upselling, or the overall satisfaction levels of their clients. By setting tailored goals and regularly reviewing their progress, you provide direction and purpose for each team member, helping them stay focused and motivated.

5. Recognize and Reward Success

Recognition and rewards are powerful motivators. Celebrate the achievements of both hunters and farmers in ways that resonate with them. Hunters often appreciate public recognition and rewards that reflect their competitive nature, such as bonuses or sales contests.

Farmers, on the other hand, may value more personal acknowledgments, like a heartfelt thank-you note or a team celebration for reaching a customer retention milestone. By recognizing their unique contributions, you boost morale and encourage continued excellence.


Balancing hunters and farmers within your sales team is not just a strategic necessity; it’s a recipe for success.

By understanding their strengths, providing tailored training, fostering collaboration, setting clear goals, and recognizing their achievements, you create an environment where both types of salespeople can thrive.

Remember, the key to a successful sales team lies in appreciating the unique qualities each member brings and leveraging these to drive your business forward.

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Topics: sales performance sales accelerator sales talent