Communication can make or break your business in the sales world — and ag retail is no exception. When an ag retailer sends their sales team out into the world, they are putting their business’ revenue and reputation in the hands of these men and women. Therefore, ag retailers must be on the same page with their salesforce.
The Importance of Regular Communication with Your Ag Sales Team
Your ag sales team are the people getting the most facetime with your grower customers. If the salesforce isn’t in line with your company values — or even if they aren’t communicating them properly — you risk losing clients and suffering as a business! This is why it’s essential to have regular discussions with your sales team and stay informed.
Ideally, you want to ask your team specific questions each week, month, and quarter. These questions will help you keep everyone on the right track.
Weekly Questions to Ask Your Ag Sales Team
When you sit down to your weekly meeting, you’re looking for small, actionable ways team members can improve on the job. To help facilitate that ask questions like:
- What has changed since last week? Have there been any significant events (landing a new client or a frost that wiped out a high-value crop) that will impact your team’s sales goal? If so, find out and discuss ways to adjust the course quickly! This will keep your team (and your clients) ahead of the competition.
- Are there any challenges you’re currently facing with your farmers? Your relationships with your growers are the backbone of any ag retail business. If one of your salespeople is struggling with a farmer, you need to resolve that issue quickly! Directly asking your team about obstacles they face will make them more likely to come forward and ask for help.
- Is there anything preventing us from achieving our goals? Similar to the above two questions, this one allows your team to think critically about their work, current ag trends, and other elements of the job that affect the bottom line. Discussing these potential roadblocks every week keeps them from becoming too big to overcome later.
- Which member of the team is the top performer, and why? This question serves two purposes: it recognizes the hard work of your top performer (which helps boost morale), and it gives your other sales team members a chance to learn from the top dog. What insights can they share with the group?\
Monthly Questions to Ask Your Ag Sales Team
While the weekly questions listed above can help facilitate small changes in your team, your monthly meetings should focus on larger-scale adjustments that can help your business succeed. When you meet with your sales team at the end of each month, ask them questions like these:
- Are we still confident we will achieve our goals? Based on the previous month’s performance, will your team meet its goals? Are the current goals even realistic? Reevaluating each month can help you set more realistic goals in the future, ultimately serving your business in the long run.
- Do we still have the right people on the team? Ag retail is no easy feat, and sometimes a salesperson isn’t cut out for the job. Sometimes, a salesperson can be great at their job, but they just don’t “gel” with the rest of the team. When this happens, the best thing to do is find a position where everyone can thrive and play to their strengths — even if it sometimes means losing a team member.
- Any lessons learned throughout the month? Your team likely gleaned some wisdom during their month on the job. And whether your team members earned this wisdom from a success or a mistake, it is bound to be valuable for everyone else. Allow each of your team members to speak up about what they’ve learned so everyone can apply it to their work in the coming month.
- Are there trends we didn’t see last month that we see now? Studying and staying on top of agriculture trends is essential if you want to stay on top of the ag retail business. Of course, it’s not easy for one person to keep track of EVERYTHING going on in the industry — which is why you have a sales team to help you. Let your team work together to spot trends and adjust your goals accordingly.
Taking the time to ask for referrals may seem time-consuming to some, but successful retailers know that each referral sets them that much more apart from the competition. People trust people, not businesses. Making a customer feel like you are personally invested in their farming operation is key to successfully converting them into a champion for your business. So, take the time to nurture your customer relationships and notice how much easier it is to collect referrals.
Quarterly Questions to Ask Your Ag Sales Team
Your sales team’s long-term success depends on two things: careful planning and helpful mentorship. As an ag retailer, it is your job to assist with both — and one great way to do this is by asking your sales team to think long-term. Here are some questions you should be asking at least once a year.
- What is your action plan for the next three months? If team members can give you a clear, well-considered action plan for the next quarter, you can be confident that they are doing the work necessary for success in the field. If their plan is a little loose and undefined, consider it an opportunity for mentorship and instruction.
- What will be the focus of your communications? Every good salesperson should go into a meeting with a client with a focus in mind. Whether their goal is to earn new business, repair a damaged customer relationship, or check in on a current customer, their focus should always be at the forefront of their mind. Help your sales team find that focus, and they will be much more likely to meet their goals.
- What would you like to improve? Every good salesperson should always be looking for ways to improve their performance and skills. Where could your team members benefit from some additional coaching? Find out how each member of your team wants to improve and help them reach the next level.
Finally, let’s talk about some questions that can benefit your sales team at any time. These questions will help you create a powerful salesforce — leading to a stronger, more sought-after business. Feel free to ask any of your team members the following questions whenever it seems beneficial.
- What is something you came across since the last time we met? The way your team member answers this question will tell you whether or not they’re studying the industry. This question can help you figure out which team members are MVPs and which aren’t — FAST.
- What are you worried about? Confidence is critical in the sales world — and that means it’s your job to help build up your team. If someone on your salesforce has a specific concern, do your best to address it directly. Asking this question clearly and individually will help you eliminate concerns and create a stronger, more secure team.
- What can I do that will help you? This question might be one of the hardest for your team members to answer, but it can also yield the most valuable insights. After all, your sales team is a critical part of your business; if you don’t help them as much as you can, the company will inevitably suffer. Make sure each team member is getting the help and support they need to do their jobs successfully.
When you ask your team these questions, you all can work together to guarantee success as a business. However, you’re also helping to build stronger bonds with your team members — and that can lead to greater successes over time.
Check out Growers.Rally™ today so you can keep in touch with your team on the road (and a whole lot more