Would you like to increase your company’s profitability? The answer, of course, is yes. For companies in any industry, doing so typically requires business development and growth. However, most organizations are optimized for managing current clientele rather than seeking new ones. While this farming mindset works wonders for maintaining a current book of business, a few strategic adjustments can help spur growth. Organizations with high-performing sales teams raise their new-client aspirations aggressively, with 75% of these top organizations raising sales quotas by 11-25% each year. In order to achieve those lofty goals and increase profits, they utilize a hunting business mentality in their strategy.
We all have clients who are valuable to us, providing regular work (and revenue) through a trusted relationship. Managing these connections is critical for the strong foundation of any business. The reliability of cultivating healthy partnerships with other businesses is what protects a company during economic downturns when new business is difficult to find.
Account managers are the key to growing those relationships. They have a strong attention to detail and are proactive, anticipating client questions before they are asked. As excellent communicators, account managers have a solid grasp of their clients’ businesses and often get into consultative conversations that extend well past the scheduled meeting time on their calendar. In this fashion, proper farming can make your organization indispensable to another so that, after a few years of integration, your client cannot imagine severing the relationship.
Of course, when a company wishes to grow, it requires breaking into new accounts. That takes salespeople who are skilled at finding new prospects and driving them into the business. However, sometimes salespeople just aren’t properly trained in hunting for new clients or forging new relationships. Combined, U.S. companies spend over $160 billion each year on training and development, and yet so much of that money is spent on teaching general or ineffective practices.
For example, consider an account manager who, after a few years with the organization, shifts into a sales role. While such a professional will undoubtedly have exceptional farming skills, they will need proper internal and external sales training before being able to locate and talk to the decision makers of prospective clientele. Effective training means more than just sending team members to conferences; it takes learning how to properly research prospects, strategically craft correspondences, and tastefully follow up on leads. Putting time and effort into proper sales training pays off, as companies with comprehensive training programs enjoy 218% higher income-per-employee vs. companies without robust programs.
With more market share out there to capture, a hunting mentality is the way to bring a business development strategy to fruition. When there’s no time to build your own comprehensive training program, increasing the focus on hunting requires bringing in sophisticated sales professionals who can grow the top line. At Refine Search, we’ve built hunting sales forces for many of our clients, seeking out prospectors who are skilled at forging new relationships with a specific, strategic intent.
An instance of this is when we secured a Director of Sales for one of our clients, a business that desired a more active and assertive sales force with a strong hunting outlook. With the new Director of Sales in place, the sales team’s focus turned to engaging with potential buyers so they could better understand the features and benefits of the company’s products. That way, instead of relying on distributors with multiple product lines, the sales team could provide information directly to customers. This opened up a whole new avenue of sales for our client, spurring exciting growth.
A hunting mindset like this is useful across the entire organization, not just in the sales department. Hunting means being aware of changing market conditions and adapting to them. It emphasizes agility and encourages opportunity exploration. For farmers, even if they are account managers not expected to draw in new business, adding hunting elements into their strategy can help them go even deeper with current clients to find new ways to leverage relationships and expand business in those accounts.
Bringing a hunting mentality into your organization can help overcome common challenges associated with striving for growth. While it’s important for maintaining current business, farming cannot be the sole strategy when new business development is desired. On the other hand, focusing solely on hunting for new business will leave current clients feeling neglected, inciting turnover and causing inconsistent earnings. The key is striking a healthy balance between the two. At a time when most businesses are better at maintenance than growth, finding that balance means adding a hunting business mentality into the mix.