Hiring Farmers and Hunters

Where do you find people who are technically skilled and knowledgeable in precision machining capabilities.

Where do you find people who are technically skilled and knowledgeable in precision machining capabilities; have the ability to problem solve and apply good business methodologies; generally enjoy the challenges of overcoming rejection when relationship building; and, possess the talent to profile, qualify and communicate with diverse groups of people? They are out there! I call them Farmers and Hunters. Farmers have a dominant tendency and talent for taking an existing project and growing the business. They are likely to be engineers first and enjoy the intricate cause-and-effect details that tolerances and print dimensions have on the manufacturing process. They are closely related to project managers in the way they work with customers.

Hunters perform better when they are tracking down a need with solutions that earn the business. They have the persistence, skills and honed instincts to flush out opportunities that may not be readily visible. They see the environment first, understand patterns of behavior and focus on bringing the project to the table. Hunters have a closer relationship with marketers in their ability to grasp the global view and drill in on the highest potential.

Can the Farmer hunt? Can the Hunter farm? Absolutely! But, they will inherently lean in one direction or the other. Pros and cons can be found on each side of the coin. Look closely at your business plan, the strategic growth objective and your support system before hiring a technical sales engineer. Make sure that you have the people in place to support the business development process. If a higher percentage of your growth plan targets increased revenues from an existing customer base, align your recruitment efforts to the Farmers perspective and keep a Hunter in the wings. If the predominant goal is to diversify into new markets or beyond the existing customer base, steer the hiring process toward the Hunter mentality, but be sure to have Farmers ready to dig into the detail.

As you build a business development team, carefully consider the balance between farming and hunting. Ideally you will break through the barriers of a diminished, well-educated labor pool and build the team of technical sales engineers that fits your strategic plan.

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