Hunting for new business, farming your existing customers, and harvesting commercial opportunity… all phrases synonymous with the agricultural sector for obvious reasons, but equally known as mainstream sales development and customer management terms, the world over.
So to the point then…what about the standards of hunting, farming and harvesting in agriculture itself? And where do agricultural suppliers turn to really improve the performance of their sales and account teams, and the line managers who manage them?
Well it would appear that the market is a little ‘light’ on suitable contenders; that is businesses who seem to be able to really credibly demonstrate both sales and commercial, as well as agricultural sector expertise, and an ability to really change and improve behaviour.
But why should this be a greater focus? Well in our experience, agriculture, like so many other product orientated markets, is dominated by companies and sales teams who appear to believe that it’s mainly their product that gives them their competitive advantage. Similarly, average time in role amongst sales teams is often high, and companies are often too agriculture sector focused for their recruitment, resulting in a lack of new blood to shake things up and a real resistance to change.
It would appear that many farmers are just not used to experiencing high quality consultative selling, that is to say sales people who can build a strong relationship by really understanding the farmer and the farm business, and then tailoring a genuine product and service solution that actually hits the farmer’s bullseye. More regularly, farmers it seems have to make do with being ‘brochure sold’ to, sales people reeling off their wares and so often going straight for price as their only blunt weapon. The result? Farmers simply struggling to understand the difference between one sales person’s proposition and another.
So it could just be that if you are a supplier of products and services to the agricultural sector, and particularly farmers themselves, that there is a huge opportunity for you. Much of the competition is asleep at the wheel, so until they hit the rumble strips and wake up suddenly, some crafty suppliers can gain a real competitive advantage.
It starts with simply recognising that it’s the salesperson that carries the opportunity for so many of the ‘differentiators’. Their ability to influence the customer or prospect, how they flex. However, just buying into this principle is clearly only half the battle, the rest of it is in ensuring that your sales people can, want to and are suitably resourced to do it effectively.
There are a handful of companies who have definitely begun this journey, and several of them work with us… mainly by amongst other things, investing in a focused agricultural behavioural training programme that actually breaks the mould and changes a sales person’s habits. Contrary to the belief of many, this is actually possible, to teach old dogs new tricks, and turn order takers into high quality consultative salespeople.
So ask yourself, how keen are you to ensure your business makes this leap, sowing the seeds of greater future growth, and harvesting a market leading commercial return?
Come and talk to us about our unique and completely bespoke agricultural training proposition and help your sales teams to be world class.