In the traditional sense, a farmer is a person who promotes or improves the growth of something. I see myself as a farmer of sorts in my current role -- I advance the goals and promote the growth of our customers at PerformLine. But I wasn’t always the nurturing type. In fact, I used to be a hunter, that person who searches for something. In my former life, I was on the hunt for the customer willing to buy my product.
When thinking about my transition from “Hunter” to “Farmer”, the most astonishing difference is in how I and the rest of the Client Success Team approach buyers (and, more importantly, how buyers approach us). The essential word that comes to mind here is “trust.”
During the first 10 years of my Ad Tech career, I spent most of my time in different selling roles – from being an individual contributor to leading sales organizations. Throughout this time, the single most challenging part of the job was to get buyers to gain trust in me within a short timeframe because, let’s be frank, as a salesperson there is always pressure to focus on the shorter term.
As a “farmer,” I take a different, broader view. Instead of focusing on creating and capturing specific opportunities very quickly, my team and I take the time to create and establish value for the client, building trust – in us as individuals and, of course, our product.
Once this trust is created, we can truly begin to cultivate and grow the partnership in a mutually beneficial way. It’s not always easy to get to this point, but once it happens it’s magical: the once defensive and wary buyer is now friendly. These relationships can last for years, and sometimes even entire careers. Trust is the single most important ingredient in growing a successful Client Success department, and also the most rewarding – one that I was not able to do in my “hunting” days.
For a hunter, there is no better feeling than closing a piece of new business, and it takes a certain type of person to excel in that role. For me, however, I’ll take the long-term relationships and slow and steady life of a farmer.