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Hunting the Wooly Mammoth
By Curt Tueffert   Printer Friendly Version

There are many analogies that abound in the selling profession for account and territory management. I often use the Wooly Mammoth analogy to bring my point across. Business to business selling, when broken down to the most basic elements, falls into two categories; Hunter and Gatherer.

Let me address the former or Wooly Mammoth hunter. These sales types are typically referred to as Business Development Managers, New Account Managers, or something similar. They are responsible for "killing fresh meat."

Wooly Mammoth hunters use a (4) step process in their quest for being effective and efficient. These four steps are; Identification, Pursuit, Kill, Drag To Cave.

1. Identification - Here the Wooly Mammoth sales hunter is seeking to identify the right animal. He/she will come across many types of prospects in their hunt. The successful hunter learns to identify the right opportunity before engaging the step #2; pursuit. How do they know the difference between a Wooly Mammoth and other large animals? Simple, they train hard to become efficient in the identification process. They do not allow other large prospects to take (waste) their time. This is the key to becoming an efficient sales professional and Wooly Mammoth hunter.

2. Pursuit - After identifying the right prospect, the Mammoth hunter then begins the second phase; the pursuit. Here, they engage with the prospect, asking the right questions to profile the account, understand what the needs and pain factors are, determine where they are in the selling cycle, and insert themselves as value added partners. Depending on the size of the Wooly Mammoth and the terrain, good hunters close the gap to quickly move into phase three; the kill.

3. The Kill - In the sales vernacular, I am talking about closing the deal. Serious Mammoth hunters have tools sets that cover all the bases for the kill. Wherever they corner the Mammoth, they have the tool to finish the job. In sales, here is where you have identified the need/pain, gathered the right data, matched that data with the product/service you represent, and have skillfully presented a passionate presentation. Now, you are asking for the order.

4. Drag To Cave - Novice Mammoth hunters are identified here. They drag their kill into the cave, then organize and assemble the party to clean it. Often, they decide to do this themselves or hold classes on the subject. Once cleaned, the novice hunter continues to linger inside the cave, further removing him/her from ever getting back out and killing another Wooly Mammoth. Senior hunters know that their job ends at the foot of the cave. They must go back out and capture the next one and not linger longer than required to exchange data, gather the latest cave updates on new tools, products or services, and then they must leave.

In my experience, successful companies know where one role ends and another begins. This equates to more profitable sales and more efficient systems. Typically, sales philosophies are "cradle to grave" account management. In some types of sales, this is to be expected based on sales cycles, closing ratios, etc. However, I will argue that when roles are defined and tasks assigned in the above case, both the client and the company will gain loyalty and success in the selling process.


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