Glenn Guilfoyle, Founder & Principal of The Next Level, writes…

Many B2B sales organisations unwittingly set up their Sales Execs for mediocre performance by expecting them, via their charter of role breadth, to cover too much.  So how does the organisation set the right breadth of accountabilities for the Sales and Service roles?

Well, like many such considerations – it depends.  There is no one universal answer; not even an industry, sector or channel-specific solution.  An unclear set of accountabilities manifests in many organisations as poor customer service, lost sales opportunities and from a customer perspective, a view that your organisation can be difficult to do business with.

Firstly, be clear on how you will apply crystal clear definitions to these terms.  Click here for example generic definitions.  It is useful to think of these accountabilities on a scale. Click here for example scale.

Servicing and farming share the commonality that they both require regularly visiting existing customers.  However, there is conflict in that servicing is a back foot (reactive and responsive) accountability, whereas farming is a front foot (proactive) accountability.

Hunting and specifying share the commonality that they both require finite duration but concerted visiting of prospective new customers.  However, there is often some level of conflict in being expected to be able to adequately focus on capturing brand new customers as well as maintaining and growing existing customers.

It is possible, in some uncommon environs, to set the Sales Execs responsibility for all four accountabilities and expect them to be able to achieve high performance across the board – the problem is that this breadth of charter is commonly over used.  Click here to see some common groupings of these accountabilities that have been successfully employed across a range of B2B environs.

But how do you know which is right for you?  Start by engaging a good cross section of the relevant stakeholders in your organisation to taskforce the various considerations.  Tailor your own definitions for servicing, farming, hunting and specifying.  And, finally, use models like those already referenced above to facilitate “as is” vs “to be” workshops.

For more insights like this, check out The Next Level’s proven sales process.