If you’ve ever spoken to an Executive Recruiter about filling a vacancy in the sales organization at your company, you’ve probably heard the term “Hunter” used to describe the profile of a top-notch sales candidate. In my experience, true “Hunters” are few and far between, and they almost never hit the waiver wire, as business owners are attuned to the true value of a Rainmaker. In an oft-repeated and seldom successful ploy, business owners that cannot lure Hunters to join their organizations will sometimes try to bridge the gap by hiring a larger number of less productive sales personnel.

DANGER! ¡PELIGRO! ! nebezpečenstvo! Veszély! Bahaya!

Before reading on, please pause for a second or two and visualize the sales function within your ultimate corporate utopia…

In my perfect world, our sales personnel are too busy closing deals to be out hunting leads. The leads find us as if they had grown on trees, profits and margins skyrocket, employees are excited, customers are downright giddy, and the Cleveland Browns finally win the Super Bowl (Ok, wrong dream).

By most definitions, a salesperson is employed to do one thing for a company: Sell the right product to the right customer at the right price. While that definition sounds simple enough, many organizations do a bad job of aligning the interests of sales personnel with the interests of the company. An unfortunate paradox, to be sure, as salespeople often end up selling what is easy to sell to the most likely buyer for the least amount possible. I don’t begrudge successful sales personnel for employing this strategy to achieve their quotas and pad their pockets, but look at what it does to my utopia:

Ideal: Sell the right product to the right customer at the right price.
Actual: Sell what is easy to sell to the most likely buyer for the least amount possible.

It is an unfortunate reality that most sales-focused personnel are spending anywhere from 25-70% of working hours “generating leads.” Compound that lack of “true selling time” with a salesperson’s native propensity to target a limited and familiar universe of prospects, and you have a genuine sales problem.

Luckily, this problem is solvable, and the solution lives in your data. Whether you are trying to find, grow, or retain customers, the secret sauce is already baked into your data, and it’s getting easier and easier to harvest. By harvesting these trends, you can craft hard-hitting, relevant marketing content, deliver it within the appropriate context, and focus on high-value targets that resemble your best customers. Furthermore, you’ll be aligning your interests with the interests of your sales personnel. Right Product, Right Customer, Right Price.

If you do empower your marketing function, you’ll find that you can achieve lead generation that you never thought possible. Your salespeople will be over the moon because of their high close ratio and supply of solid leads, and this will translate to increased sales and improved margins for you, the data-driven business owner.

An Informed Marketer Is the Efficient Hunter.