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    How to Encourage Farm Data Use Among Your Marketing and Sales Teams

    Posted by FMiD Team on Aug 1, 2019


    How to Encourage Farm Data Use Among Your Marketing and Sales Teams

    Having access to high quality farm data is great. But unless your marketing and sales teams are using that data, it’s not going to get your agribusiness anywhere.

    You may have the greatest insights on the market. You may know exactly who your customer is, what products you’re more likely to sell with them and the amount of revenue they’ll generate for you. The key to turning those data into dollars lies in the execution—and that’s where you have to lean on your teams.

    Some of them already have experience in the use of good data. But not everyone is, especially if you’re at a company that’s just now starting to modernize your revenue-generating processes.

    Utilizing the insights from farm data analysis is only going to help improve your teams’ effectiveness in reaching their individual goals:

    • With targeted data on specific markets, marketers can devote their time and attention to prime markets and avoid wasting time and ad spend on less impactful markets
    • By contextualizing and understanding the details of individual farm operations, salespeople can more effectively meet the farmers’ needs, selling more products more quickly
    • When marketing and sales are aligned around your ideal customers, your agribusiness is going to see the revenue results

    This empowers your whole company to work in tandem, not opposition. Here are some steps to encourage farm data use among your marketing and sales teams.


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    1. Show your team how it’ll increase revenue

    Your marketing and sales teams are looking to achieve their own individual goals, which are inherently tied to revenue. So if you can get your teams to see how data will help them reach their goals, it’s only going to help your agribusiness overall.

    Marketers focus on short-term tactics, but also long-term strategies. They’re thinking months in advance, so you have to show them how the data can help them not just in the short term but over the long haul:

    • Gain a deeper understanding of customers and prospects to aid in marketing messaging. The more specific and tailored the messaging, the more likely an audience member is going to convert, thus improving the ROI of the campaign.
    • Target specific audiences of farmers through a combination of data and digital marketing. That way, your team is investing in the audience, not the channel.
    • Understand which segments of the market are converting to sales so your marketing team can double down on successful groups of farmers.
    • Examine larger trends in the market to plan ahead and strategize campaigns for the next six to twelve months.

    On the other hand, your sales team is looking exclusively for short-term value: in reality, the end of the month or the quarter. They’re going to be interested in:

    • The dollar value of a particular grower and their likelihood to close based on a variety of factors including acreage, Gross Farm Income, planted crops, etc.
    • Increasing the velocity with which they can sell, which happens when they’re equipped with information that speeds up the sales process.
    • The ability to prioritize their pipeline based on the information available to them.
    • Access to information not just in the office, but in the field, where they can make agile decisions based on that information.

    You have to tell the story that “data = more sales”, whether your data helps identify a new section of the market or explains the behavior of current customers.

    2. Explain the value of the data

    Marketers and salespeople hate wasting time. So they won’t want to take a risk on data that is unverified or, worse, false. Here are some ways you can ensure that you’re gathering data from a reliable source:

    • Does the data accurately depict who the farmer is, how large their operation is, what they’re farming, and the events impacting them and their bottom line?
    • How much of the market does the data cover? Is it enough to provide helpful insights on the market as a whole? Can you use it to expand beyond who you’re currently marketing to?
    • How granular does the data go? Can you access details about individual growers, farm operations, and fields? Make sure you have enough details both on farmers and on the market overall to make critical marketing decisions, develop impactful segments, and craft messages that are highly specific and contextual to the farmer’s current needs.
    • How frequently does your source update the data? How frequently are they able to update it? Data that hasn’t been reliably updated since 2008 isn’t going to get you very far. Make sure you have a source that updates annually or more.

    Your ability to explain the value of the data to your marketing and sales teams is going to be key to getting them on board with it.

    3. Compare KPIs before and after implementation of data-driven campaigns

    Once you and your team start implementing data-driven marketing and sales, it’s time to start generating results.

    One way to hold everyone accountable is by comparing the KPIs before and after implementation of the data. If there’s a remarkable positive difference, then you’ve made the case for the use of data. Here are some important steps to take when implementing these campaigns.

    • Set realistic expectations. There’s nothing worse than over-promising and under-delivering. And if you don’t take the time to set expectations, then everyone defaults to their own personal expectations of how this is going to go down. Avoid confusion and disappointment by setting clear objectives and avoid falling into the “silver bullet” and “quick fix” trap.
    • Make sure you agree on KPIs. In addition to setting expectations, make sure that you’ve agreed on the KPIs you’re going to focus on this campaign. If you’re helping marketing with lead gen, figure out a realistic goal for the increase in leads you’re going to see. This also helps to make sure that you’re providing the right data, and that they’re using the data to achieve a particular goal, so you’re rowing in the same direction.
    • Make it clear that this is a two-way street. You aren’t a wizard casting a spell. Data can be helpful and open new doors for your marketing and sales teams, but they have to act in a way that’s going to achieve results. Make it clear to them that they have to make the data work for them, and that success depends on them.

    Once you’ve set the KPIs and expectations, measure your efforts against them. If you’ve agreed upon an increase in closed deals per month as a metric of success, that’ll be the measure of success for the campaign.

    But don’t close the door to tweaking and optimizing. You may discover halfway through a campaign that your efforts aren’t increasing the number of deals closed, but the increased intelligence your sales reps have help them to increase the average price point of each deal. You and your teams will then have to mutually agree to adjust the KPI based on the data.

    Good data analysis in action is going to be flexible and fluid. But you have to make sure that everyone involved in the campaign agrees to change KPIs throughout a campaign if you’re going to continue to manage expectations and improve results.

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