It’s a new year, which means new revenue goals. Have you developed the best strategy for increasing your ag retail sales in 2019?
Are you sure you’re talking to your ideal customer? Is your business reaching all the farmers in your area? Are you getting the most business out of the customers you already have?An ag-centric revenue strategy means you can answer all the questions above with a surefire 'yes'. It is important, especially in retail, that you’re maximizing the opportunity in the areas where you have a presence.
This is why having and interpreting information and data about the market is going to be your friend in 2019. Current, accurate, and detailed data can help you:
- Identify your ideal customer based on your products and revenue goals, and see whether your current customer matches that profile.
- Avoid the pitfalls of bad data that can lead to revenue loss and angry customers.
- Realize revenue growth by expanding your footprint, increasing market share, and growing share of wallet.
Here are the steps you can take to increase your ag retail sales in 2019.
Look beyond what you’ve done in the past.
“This is the way we’ve always done it.”
If you find yourself saying that when justifying your business practices in 2019, consider taking a hard look at your business strategy and asking yourself how to improve upon what you’ve been doing.
You may have done business in the past by trusting your gut, and there may be many decisions in the future where this is appropriate. But when it comes to increasing your retail sales, that gut feeling can be misleading.
We all know that technology is changing agriculture and what’s worked in the past may no longer work in the future. Farmers are becoming more social media and digitally savvy. And just like the rest of us, it’s changed how they engage and interact with email, the news, their mobile devices, etc.
Ultimately, if you have to choose between facts and your best “gut” guess, always choose facts. Here’s why:
- You may be going after a small part of the market and ignoring the rest.
- You may have a smaller percentage of market share than what you think. Or maybe a larger percentage than you think, which means you’ve maximized market penetration.
- Your customers have untapped potential in their wallet that you just don’t know about. Data helps you sell more to them with confidence that they’re able/ready to make a purchase.
Managing a retail operation relies on repeat business with current customers and requires you to build your locations and deploy your sales reps in areas with significant opportunity. It is critical for you to base your decisions on facts and information.
Avoid bad data to gain the most helpful insights.
Before you go and find the cheapest datasets possible, understand that not all data is created equal. Having good data is just as important to your strategy for increasing your ag retail sales as having data at all.
For starters, data is going to provide the following insights:
- Who the farmers are that you want to reach
- What their needs, problems, concerns and wants are with regards to the products they’ll buy from you
- Where these farmers are located in relation to your stores
- How they’re going to use products following a purchase
- When the best time is going to be for them to buy from you
- Why they’ll choose you over other retail outlets, and what kind of experience is going to make them come back
Being able to accurately identify these pieces of the puzzle through data is critical to building an executable strategy, and developing the marketing and sales tactics that are going to resonate with the farmers you want to impact.
So what happens when you have bad data? Here are some of the major pitfalls:
- Angry customers. This is probably the most damaging one of all. An angry customer could be upset that you marketed the wrong product to them, or even communicated with them when they had no need for your products or services. Good data, on the other hand, can make sure you’re talking to farmers who are open to your product offerings and want to hear from you.
- Slow pipelines. The faster you can move farmers through the buying process, the more dollars you’re going to make. Your marketing efforts should help farmers understand the products and services you offer that are going to help improve their operation and effectiveness. That way, when they talk to you they have a clear picture of what they need and you can sell them more quickly.
- Loss of revenue. If you’re investing your dollars in efforts that aren’t maximizing return on investment, then revenue loss is the clear result. With bad data, you may be targeting a completely different customer than what you need, leading you to waste marketing dollars and sales reps’ time.
So make sure to invest in good data that’s going to help you target and message the right farmers, so when they talk to you, you have a fully primed and ready-to-purchase customer.
Analyze data to determine your ideal customer.
In order to grow revenue, you have to attract your ideal customer and provide them with the products they need to solve a problem they have. So what are the ways you can do that with good ag data?
I talked earlier about the six primary insights data gives you into farmers so you can effectively market and sell to them. You can then pull insights from the information at your disposal to start to help you proceed with the following steps to increasing your ag retail sales:
- Identify farmers based on planted acres, crop types, number of farm fields and more to determine who in the market is your ideal customer.
- Search by location to see how many farmers are near your branch locations. Where are the concentrated pockets you can penetrate?
- Understand how their operation has grown or shrunk over time so you can identify what they’re looking to accomplish with their operation.
- Know who owns the farm and who operates it so you’re interacting with the decision-maker.
These are just a few ways to make sure that the people you’re marketing to and attracting fit with the products you sell in a given location.
Given the fact that your product offerings are diverse, this may seem daunting. But don’t worry – you don’t have to determine your ideal customer for every single product you’re offering.
Instead, take a look at the broad categories and see who’s going to be the best fit for those. Here are a few examples:
- Who are the farmers who want to buy your large farm equipment? Or small equipment?
- Who’s looking for specific types of seed, chemicals, or fertilizer?
- Who would be interested in buying fencing?
- Who’s bought land recently and will be looking to expand the equipment they need?
You know your business better than we do, so think through the categories that you offer, and then think about what demographics you’re going to need to target to reach that customer.
Turn data into action to realize an increase in retail revenue.
There are generally three ways to increase your ag retail sales. Taking the data we’ve been talking about so far and actually turning it into revenue requires you to execute against it in the three following ways:
- Expand your market footprint. In retail, expanding your market footprint takes a very literal meaning – that is, planting a new store in a new location. Knowing who your ideal customer is and where they’re farming will provide you with a wealth of insight so you’re expanding into a geographic area that’s ripe with opportunity.
- Increase your market share. How much of the market do you actually own? And how much of your specific segment of the market – all your ideal customers – do you own? Understanding this information can help you see whether you’re maximizing your market potential. With the right information, you can find out who the farmers are that you’re not currently reaching so you can communicate with them.
- Grow your share of wallet. A farmer may walk into your store and buy $100 worth of goods, but they have the potential to spend thousands with you. Know exactly what that farmer’s needs are, so you can be the brand that provides them with every product you can.