What Would You Do? No One is Getting More Food. Farmers – To Hunters

This weeks What Would You Do Wednesdays, came from the comments.  Jeff wanted to know how to get farmers to do more hunting. I thought this was a good topic.

Getting sales people with established accounts to hunt more is a common challenge. I see it often.  Some organizations can afford both, hunters and farmers and deploy them accordingly. They create account management teams for farming and business development teams for hunting. Most companies however can’t afford both and need their sales people to hunt and farm and that can be a challenge.

Business has been great for Zipware.  The last two years have been record years. They have a great client base that has been using them regularly. Revenues are up. Client satisfaction is high. Zipware has been growing at 20% year over year. Originally, growth came primarily from new clients. Over time however, the percentage of revenue has shifted from new clients to existing clients. Today, existing clients make up 70% of revenue. Michelle, Zipware’s V.P. of sales, has been happy with growth and the success of her sales team, but she has begun to notice the business is changing. Michelle has noticed the sales outlook is slowing and based on projections they will miss quota this year. The problem; existing customer revenue is flat and new customer revenue is down. Customers aren’t buying as much as they used to and the team isn’t bringing in any new customers.

To address the problem, Michelle brought the team together and shared her findings.  She told the team they needed to do more hunting. She explained without new customers, they were going to miss their revenue targets and quota.  To incent the team, Michelle provided a 20% increase in commission spiff for all new customers this year. Michelle also created a contest with an additional bonus for the person who sold the most new customers.  Michelle thought that would work. Since the implementation there has been only one new customer. To make matters worse, the new customer pipeline has grown very little. It is evident to Michelle the team is still spending most of their time farming their existing accounts.

Michelle has 4 months to go to hit her number. She has accurately identified the problem, Zipware needs new customers. Unfortunately, Michelle is having trouble getting her team to do more hunting. The contests and bonus don’t seem to be working. What should Michelle do?

What would you do in this situation?  If you are a sales person on this team, what would it take to get you to focus more on hunting?  As a sales leader, what would you do to get the team to focus on hunting? (leave your answers in the comments)

As always, I’m looking forward to the great discussion and the ideas. This is a tough one.