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Hunter / Farmer is dead. Debate me!

The concept of Hunter / Farmer is outdated. It comes from a world where customers make a large upfront purchase (IE - onprem deployment, large mechanical device, enterprise SaaS) which then virtually locks them into the vendor.


Those types of contracts are being replaced by PLG (product-led growth), freemium, and land/expand. The 1st contract value is trending irreversibly toward $0, and customers expect to see ROI before committing.


companies that lean into this are going to win this decade. So your sales team should be setup to assign reps to work fewer accounts, longer. Customers want a consistency of experience, and having the same rep continue to expand accounts and keep renewal rate high is more profitable than trying to let CSMs manage high value renewals.


we are leaving a lot of πŸ’° on the table. And increasing churn by doing this.


id love to hear what you all think, savages. Happy Monday.

7
LordBusiness
Politicker
+8
Chief Revenue Officer
I think the "product led" movement is still widely over billed, it works when scaling into the low end buyers of big TAM, but where it struggles and will continue to struggle is with selling into the enterprise space.Β  Folks like Atlassian and Slack (the poster children for the product led movement) have already built out and are growing their enterprise sales and marketing teams and talent. Large enterprises have tight endpoint security, employees can't just download fremium tools (which limits product led scale into enterprise).Β  That being said, I personally agree that the "SDR/AE/CX" model is a bit dated and most SaaS companies use it simply because they think its "what all the cool kids are doing".Β  My personal take is there needs to be two key functions in any sales org, Customer Acquisition and Customer Growth/Retention, and the teams should be built to most cost effectively support those two goals.Β Β 
sahil
Notable Contributor
+15
Deepak Chopra of Sales
Strong take, I like it!
fuzzy
Notable Contributor
+21
CMO (Chief Meme Officer)
Some "large mechanical devices" are 100% necessary for industrial growth. My concern is EVERYTHING becoming contract (subscription) based. Which, ultimately, unless salespeople get aggressive, will be bad with renewals, as it will just hurt the wallet overall, since deal sizes will be lower and the average commission rate will drop.Β 
MSPSales
Notorious Answer
+5
Account Executive
I think it depends on the target market and product/service.Β 
The vendors I have worked for sell to managed service providers and in return they resell to their end users (channel partnership model).Β 

The entry point to become a partner is to a buy a single service (low cost, under $100)Β  and the vendor usually makes a net loss.Β 

The idea is with a low cost to entry they can capture more reseller partners. The farmers will then take this wide net approach and grow accounts by helping resellers sell to new end users or standardize their entire stack/cross sell.Β 

Hunters are then only focused on bringing MSPs through the door no matter what the size.Β 

It's different b/c there is no large upfront capex cost to use the solution and opex is cost is low. They idea is that stickiness is created with the value of the product/serviceΒ  and perks that come with partnership ( MDF funds, free marketing automation tools, white labeled content etc.)Β Β 
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
@LordBusinesshas a really important point here. A lot of companies hit a certain scale and realize "ooooh shit, we need hunters, ASAP." The market will only pull so much. Eventually, you have to push.

I've been on mission critical stuff for most, but not all of, my career. Product led growth/freemium just doesn't work if you're selling ERP, ecommerce, supply chain, inventory management, etc. Furthermore, having those same reps then handhold the account through 6+ months of implementation, then serve as the main point of contact, is asking for trouble. I just don't think somebody can close and help during implementation and then grow the account.

That all said, I think it's totally valid to have alignment in which big sales to existing accounts still have the support of your hunters, as it allows companies to separate some of the tension that comes with negotiations from the folks that care for/support the client and grow the business.
LordTyrion
Good Citizen
+1
VP of Sales / Co-Founder
We have combined the two (AE+AM) into one role and use scaled commission based on retention (first booking = lowest commission %) to ensure retention is the priority.
SalesPharaoh
Politicker
+8
AM BDR
In the CPaaS world it is still very relevant the hunter is still working to fill up and close deals for the farmer to grow the crops and make sure they keep the money coming. Granted we don't charge anything for signing up so the role of the farmer is very important to grow the customer. I'm talking from my experience in the SMS gateway business.
alecabral
Arsonist
+8
Director - Digital Sales Transformation
I absolutely and completely disagree actually. Now more than ever companies are investing in both setting up new hunters and empowering more their farmers. What's different now is that there is a ton of technology that makes both hunting and farming easier, but in all honesty PLG is still in it's infancy and to me it has absolutely nothing to do with the sales model some companies pursue.

Actually all the BIG training companies (specialized on training Hunters more than Farmers) are making a ton more money this year than they did in the past. It's gotten so big, Gartner actually had to go and create a magic quadrant for them, which they published recently.

That being said, pricing and packing is changing at an amazing pace, which kind of poses a great question: how will sales people like us adapt?
5
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su
+36
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+169
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