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Identifying Effective Hunters And Farmers In The Salesforce: A Dispositional–situational Framework

Thomas E. DeCarlo, Son K. Lam
Published 2016 · Business

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In business-to-business markets, hunting for new customers and farming existing customers are critical to achieve sales goals. Although practitioners suggest that salespeople have a preference for either hunting or farming, academic research has yet to examine when and why salespeople become oriented toward hunting or farming, and whether a simultaneous engagement in both (i.e., being ambidextrous) is efficient or damaging. In Study 1, the authors identify the link between regulatory focus and salesperson hunting and farming orientations. In Study 2, they demonstrate that (1) a promotion (prevention) focus is more strongly related to salesperson hunting (farming) orientation than is a prevention (promotion) focus, and (2) ambidextrous salespeople generate higher profits when they are customer oriented. In Study 3, the authors show that salesperson expectations about hunting success and the extent to which compensation plans are based on customer acquisition activities can change the direction of the relationship between regulatory focus and salesperson hunting and farming orientations. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for research and management of customer acquisition and retention at the salesperson level.
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