Bill Scheessele

OPINION

What characteristics shape a great BD hunter?

As a strategic business development leader your ultimate responsibility is to grow revenue. If your organization is primed for revenue growth, it’s your responsibility to build a robust BD team to include professionals charged solely with developing new business.

In other words, you need hunter/warriors.

A hunter/warrior is someone who has the initiative, tenacity, and proven ability to win business for your organization. But if you are looking for this kind of person, have to separate "hunting" from the "hunter." Hunting is the act, while a hunter is an attitude or a mentality. Before you begin your search, it is important to identify the behavioral and psychological characteristics a hunter/warrior will typically display.

Profile of the Hunter/Warrior

Hunters have a plan. Hunters follow an established process or a methodology. They know the lay of the land and which resources are at their disposal. Hunters have studied their prey – as well as their adversaries. They combine this information to develop a plan to address each client’s pain.

Hunters are curious by nature. They are always interested in something new, especially developing new relationships. Hunters have an unusually high interest in other people’s business, their technology, how they make money, and what makes other people tick. They tend to be excellent listeners, and accordingly, know how to ask the right questions.

Hunters have an almost childlike urge to figure out how something works. They want to understand what is broken in a business environment and come up with ideas on how to fix it. Hunters love to solve business problems that produce long-term results. They always believe in their ability to solve a problem, but they live in the world of the possible.

Hunters are all at once risk prone and risk adverse. While this may seem to be contradictory, the best hunters will have a balance between the two extremes. In some areas of their life, a hunter will be very risk prone, especially when it comes to psychological risk. In other areas, they tend to be risk adverse and will stay within the boundaries of their established behaviors.

Hunters understand the economics of business development. They are students of the Four Cornerstones of Business Development. Hunters recognize that BD is a win-win-win proposition – both the client and they have to win. A hunter is actually doing this to help grow the economy, which helps everyone beyond themselves and the client.

Hunters understand how to help others while producing results. They are neither 100 percent altruistic nor totally goal oriented. Instead, hunters display a healthy balance between the two extremes. They understand that by helping others, they can actually produce positive results for everyone. Successful hunters are creative and imaginative, which means they have the ability to put together a methodology that will appeal to the client’s emotions to solve their problem.

Hunters measure their success by the results they produce, but do not need to be credited with the results or be part of the spotlight. They let the results speak for themselves.

Hunters are more focused on the outside of the business. They are more focused on the client, the market, and the economy rather than the inside of the business within their own organization. However, hunters work in a relationship that represents both the interest of the client and the interest of the company that they are representing.

Hunters are competitive by nature. You will find that most hunters probably played competitive sports, which taught them how to both win and lose. It is imperative, though, that they be able to leave their ego in parking lot and separate the role of the hunter from the other roles in their daily routine.

They are independent thinkers, and display the tenacity to reach their goals. It helps, too, if the hunter is social and an extrovert.

Hunters are highly organized, but not necessarily detail oriented. Hunters stay focused on the larger components that are necessary to accomplish an objective, not necessarily the details. They stay focused on the bigger picture, and sometimes neglect some of the specific actions required to attain it. Consequently, hunters are highly dependent on a support team to handle much of the details and logistics of providing solutions.

Hunters do not necessarily make good farmers and vice versa. These are two separate and distinct personalities. You may be able to take a farmer hunting as long as the hunter is in control of the situation and is able to overcome the disparity in their approach.

Once business has been won, the hunter is usually satisfied to turn business over to others for farming and shepherding. They are happy to step back from a relationship and allow someone else to maintain and grow it, and to receive credit for it. The hunter’s satisfaction was to have built something and let someone else enjoy the fruits of that labor.

If your revenue growth strategy requires sourcing BD hunters for your organization, be prudent in your search to ensure you track down those unique individuals who fit this profile.

Engage resources outside of your organization to assess candidates’ ability and verify credentials. You should be wary of those so-called hunters who may overplay their track record of business produced when opportunities were abundant.

Don’t put your ability to win business and meet revenue objectives in jeopardy by settling for anybody less than true hunter/warriors in this competitive environment.

They’re your team on point in your Shift Left methodology to drive business.

Without them, you’re just hunting.

About the Author

Bill Scheessele is CEO of MBDi, a business development professional services firm. He leads a team of government contracting business growth experts. Learn more about MBDi and their revenue growth resources at http://www.mbdi.com.

Reader Comments

Sat, Jun 21, 2014 Jim

Well written and good insight to the BD role. Not everyone gets it, but it feels good to be appreciated.

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