The Revenue Compass Blog

As the growth-minded leader of a services firm, you've likely been contemplating the optimal structure of your sales team, grappling with the decision of hiring a sales generalist (a hunter and farmer) or a sales specialist (a hunter or farmer). If you're similar to many of the companies I've worked with, you are probably leaning towards the generalist.

In this article, I'll dive into why it's crucial to start specializing your sales team as soon as possible.

My Personal Journey

In my first sales role, I served as a sales generalist, responsible for both acquiring new business (hunting) and managing existing accounts (farming).

Initially, my focus was on prospecting and winning new business. I was a pure hunter.

Eventually, my role was split between prospecting, closing in-process opportunities and managing a handful of accounts. I was a hunter and farmer.

Ultimately, as I secured more business, my role shifted predominantly to managing accounts, with prospecting taking a back seat. Whether I liked it or not, I had become primarily a farmer.

Unfortunately, just as I was reaching a peak in my sales proficiency and confidence, my focus shifted away from active selling. Instead, I found myself learning the ropes of account management and team leadership.

Organizational Limitations

As you can see, the generalist model effectively sidelines your top salespeople. Your hunters are no longer hunting, and growth is limited to expanding your existing client base rather than acquiring new ones.

Additionally, I found it challenging to gain mastery and become a true expert in any one area of my job due to the constant change and required learning.

The Emergence of Sales Specialization

Enter the era of sales specialization, thanks in part to organizations like and sales leaders like Aaron Ross, who introduced the "Four Core Sales Roles" in his book Predictable Revenue.

These roles—Business Development Rep (BDR), Market Response Rep (MRR), Account Executive (AE), and Account Manager (AM)—carve out distinct responsibilities, leading to focused and specialized functions. The advantages are manifold: each role comes with a clearly defined job description, specific metrics, and specialized competencies.

Predictable Revenue, by Aaron Ross

Organizational Benefits of Specialization

Specialization creates a balanced sales approach. BDRs focus on prospecting, MRRs ensure a rapid response to inbound leads, AEs drive opportunities to closure, and AMs concentrate on client retention and growth. It streamlines success profiles, simplifies compensation, clarifies hiring criteria, and establishes a natural hierarchy.

Blockers: Bandwidth and Status Quo

For many business owners, their current responsibilities are overwhelming, leaving them desperate for someone to step in and assume the reins of sales leadership. Some are so desperate that they outsource their sales leader role—the lifeblood of their organization. And for others, they don’t know what they don’t know. After all, relying on sales generalists has been the norm for quite some time.


The journey towards building a high-performing sales team requires a commitment to specialization. By analyzing your current sales funnel, identifying key needs, and defining clear roles, you can create a framework for success. Embrace the opportunity to adapt and evolve, and you'll position your organization for long-term growth and prosperity in an ever-changing marketplace.

Go Deeper

Carver Peterson helps growth-minded leaders of B2B technical services firms build high-performing sales teams so that they can confidently grow & scale.