Sales Leaders

Successful Sales Leaders Put the Right People in the Right Jobs

Sales leaders frequently express concern about the lack new business pipeline development.  They are perplexed about why their business development team cannot achieve the goals they’ve set.

According to Dr. Chris Croner of SalesDrive, it has been estimated that up to 50 percent of people who are currently making their living by selling are in the wrong line of work. They may be excellent communicators, likable and gregarious, yet they do not possess drive – the most important characteristic of people who sell for a living.

In other words, many agencies have precious few hunters – rainmakers – and an abundance of account manager farmers!

One of the biggest problems contributing to the lack of new business development is when agencies try to combine the hunter/farmer sales role.  Hunters usually represent a mere 10 to 20 percent of the sales team, with the remaining members – often account leaders – are forced to play a hybrid role of selling and caring for existing accounts.

The result?  When the entire sales team is forced to handle account management, it is difficult for the business to hit its new business acquisition goals.  Why?  Account leaders/farmers are much more comfortable and adept at managing the insurance and risk management needs of existing accounts rather than prospecting and developing new business.

If you are a sales leader, what should you do?

  1. Assess your existing business development team to determine your agency’s ratio of hunters to farmers. One excellent tool is the ProductionBuilder assessment that provides insight into the team along with coaching tips.  Once you see where your team’s strengths lie, eliminate the hybrid hunter-farmer roles and let your rainmakers sell, and the service-oriented account leaders nurture existing client relationships.
  2. Clarify the roles you expect producers to fill. How much account manager/client service is placed on the new business “sales” team?  If your team is falling short of your goal for new business acquisition, study how they are spending their time.  You may be shocked to discover the actual amount of time they spend selling versus nurturing.
  3. Restructure your team so each person is doing what they do best. Behind every sales organization, small or large, is an intersection of talent.  When you balance individual talents with others’ unique abilities, your team can become unstoppable.


Getting the right people into the right seats on the bus is essential to your success.  And you’ll be happily traveling down the road to increased new business!

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