High-performing salespeople adapt their sales practices to both customer and context. They listen to the changing needs to farmers and adapt product offers and messaging accordingly.
No matter your level of experience in sales, this is a time where agriculture sales representatives should take stock and re-examine their activities. Re-focus on the activities that work, and dial back on the ones that don't.
Here are some of our top tips on how to improve your sales performance in these changing times.
1. Do your research.
The more you know before you go into a conversation, the more productive that conversation will be. Any salesperson who wants to increase their likelihood of winning their deals should take the time to prepare before every conversation.
Look into your customer data in your CRM to see what they've purchased in the past. Combine that with third-party data to uncover details on their operational performance -- as well as some of the challenges they may be facing.
The more you understand about your current customers, the better you'll able to understand who else in the market is a good fit. You can either do this yourself through a time-consuming research process, or automate it through data-powered buyer persona research.
2. Focus on your addressable market.
Your agribusiness can't do business with every single farmer in the United States. Not every farmer can afford your product, and not every farmer can benefit from it.
Once you know who your ideal customer is, you can extrapolate who else in the market constitutes that addressable market. Typically, your addressable market is based on a combination of attributes, including:
- Geographic location and proximity to points of sale
- Farmers' price point and spend potential
- Product-farmer fit, and their ability to realize the benefits of what you have to offer
Instead of going through a list of farmers who may or may not be a good fit, agriculture sales representatives should instead spend some time finding farmers who are clearly part of their agribusiness' addressable market.
These are the farmers that, when you go to talk to them, are going to get more benefit out of what you have to offer; thus, they are more likely to purchase.
3. Solve, don't sell.
These are uncertain times, and farmers are tightening their belts. Farmers don't want salespeople selling to them, especially if they don't have a demonstrated need for the product or service you're offering.
Instead of leading the conversation with a sales pitch, figure out how you can help the farmer improve their operation and bottom line. Solving problems not only builds trust, but it helps position your product or service as relevant to the farmer's challenges.
4. Communicate your value.
With a market flooded with products -- from new seed hybrids to treatment options and new agricultural equipment -- you can't just assume that a farmer understands the value of your offer automatically. You also cannot guarantee that they're going to switch from a product they've been using for years, if not decades.
Winning in a highly competitive market, or getting a brand loyalist to switch over to a new product, requires that you clearly communicate your value. This goes hand-in-hand with solving their problem. Make sure they understand not only why they need your product, but why you're the best option for them.
If you aren't able to communicate your value in a clear and helpful way, then you aren't talking to a farmer who's a good fit for your agribusiness.
5. Integrate with marketing efforts.
The best and most effective sales strategies build on the inroads made by the marketing team. Think about it this way: marketing starts conversations with the market at scale, but salespeople get to go in and have more detailed conversation on a one-to-one basis.
When you have the ability to integrate with your marketing team, you should. Work with them to identify quality leads and messaging that resonates with the farmer. Provide on-the-ground feedback when necessary. Stay coordinated on your messaging for a seamless customer experience.
For more tips and tools that can help you improve performance among your agriculture sales reps, click here to download our guide to growing your business in a down agriculture market.