Is the definition of a hunter changing?

Justin Pritchard, Principal Consultant at FMC Global Talent within Smart Industry.
Justin Pritchard, Principal Consultant at FMC Smart Industry

‘As the name suggests, the hunter salesperson goes out and hunts for new opportunities, prospects, and accounts. They’re independent and enjoy moving from one deal to the next as they’re motivated to continue finding and drawing in new leads.’

This has long been the definition of a hunter salesperson in companies around the globe. Someone independent, always looking for new opportunities and finding ways to make it happen. But recently the world of sales has been undergoing a shift. Coming in has been a focus on work-life balance, as well as a younger generation of sales people. Will this shift change the traditional definition of a hunter?

I’ve talked to my connections across the smart industry space about whether the definition of a hunter is changing, and why it might be.

An old fashioned definition?

Never has the concept of work-life balance been more in the spotlight than in the last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Conversations have shifted to avoiding burn-out after the difficulties of the last year, and many companies are committing to initiatives that enhance the experiences of their employees. These changes could easily date the typical definition of a hunter being aggressively competitive, constantly calling prospects, as both companies and individuals strive to reduce burn-out. Are the days of hunters being on the phone 24/7 on their way out?

Role sustainability

Similarly, as younger generations join the workforce there will be an increased focus on long-term role sustainability. Many of my connections referenced that as younger people join sales teams, the definition of a hunter may naturally adapt to suit their preferred ways of working. Increasingly, graduates and those entering the work force are looking for career longevity and roles that they can do sustainably. Potentially this may lead to a reduction in the intense competitiveness surrounding the hunter mentality as they seek more balanced sales roles.

Advice is key

Sales processes are becoming less lengthy and hunter sales people are increasingly faced with customers who know exactly what they want. This means that they’re having to adapt their approach and work in a more advisory capacity, rather than the more typical ‘hard sell’. This is something that truly shifts the hunter definition, as they have to be genuinely consultative to secure sales. Adaptability is a fundamental part of the hunter profile, though, so this may well be par for the course!

A new definition?

So what would I propose as a new definition for a hunter? There are some characteristics that will always be at the heart of this kind of sales role – self-motivation, resilience and objectivity, excellent time management – but there are some aspects that have undoubtedly shifted over the last few years and will continue to do so. In future hunters will have a stronger sense of team and will increasingly work with pre-sales and specialist teams, making them less of a lone wolf. Plus, they’ll adapt from the stereotypical hard sell to something more consultative to move with the times.

Fundamentally, whatever a hunter sales-person is selling and regardless of whether the sales cycle is short or complex, the core aspects of their personality will remain, whilst the day to day of their role will definitely move and adapt with the future of work and the smart industry space.

How do you think the definition of a hunter in the smart industry space is changing? I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you’d like to discuss this topic or simply want to catch up about the market, get in touch on or +44 (0) 7825 571 874.