The New Differentiator for Ag Companies

- Rod Osthus

Every company is looking for a top salesperson. Why? Because they believe the sales rep is their No. 1 point of differentiation in the marketplace.

People buy from people, right? True, but there is a lot more to it. As important as top sales reps are, they’re no longer the primary differentiator in the 21st century ag marketplace. Even the most seasoned sales veterans are struggling to stay on farms, maintain margins and grow sales territories.

The biggest reason seed sellers are having such a hard time is they have no way of delivering a real “buyer experience.” Sales reps sell products, technologies, programs and price, so how are they supposed to be different? Today, successful selling is more than that. Success depends on delivering a total buyer experience. The buyer experience has become the greatest differentiator in the ag business.

 The total buyer experience is the sum of all interactions the farmer has with the company. For most companies, the buyer experience simply involves the interactions a buyer has with his sales rep, but that is not enough. That’s why even some of the best sales reps are having trouble keeping customers. It’s everyone’s job in the company to create that buyer experience, just as it’s the entire company’s job to create customers.

So what can companies do to create the kind of buyer experience that is so great that it becomes their No. 1 point of differentiation?

  • How do you prepare buyers to buy from you?
  • What kinds of orientation programs do you offer to excite them about what they’re going to be experiencing once they work with you?
  • Have you taught your sales reps to stop trying to sell to a farmer on the first call and, instead, take him to look at his fields to discuss his yield goals and how he plans to achieve them?
  • Are your field sellers trained to give them a new experience by getting them out of the Ag Cycle — getting them to buy when you want them to, order what you want them to order, and pay what you want them to pay?

These are just a few buyer experiences. Stop boring farmers, and teach your salespeople how to deliver a real buyer experience. Both you and your sales team will have a much greater experience with those customers and create more business.