7 Benefits of training all your teams in one workshop

7 Benefits of training all your teams in one workshop

Agronomy – Feed – Energy – Grain

Sales – Marketing – Customer Service

Equipment – Parts – Service – Precision Ag

Dairy – Beef – Swine – Retail

  • Does your agronomy team connect with your feed team?
  • Does your energy team know who the feed salespeople are?
  • In the last 30 days, has any one of your salespeople reached out to another department and referred a sales lead?

If you answered “No” to any or all of those questions, trust me, you are not alone. This scenario is too frequent in almost every company.  A combined sales training workshop is a great way to tear down some departmental silos and establish a culture of collaboration.

When preparing for a sales training workshop, the sales manager will frequently express this concern.  In the scenario above, it happens to be a Coop.  They have a large agronomy team, a smaller feed team, an even smaller energy team, and a variety of people who originate grain for the coop.

The agronomy salespeople are on almost every farm of size in the primary market area.  Almost every farmer in the draw area has a relationship with the grain team.  The feed and energy salespeople are on farms spread across the market area.  Yet few of them are communicating in real time.  CRM is supposed to cure this.  It would if actively used by everyone.  However, few companies are using CRM and even fewer using one properly to communicate in real time

To lay the ground work and develop a culture of collaboration, a customized workshop will start the process.

Here are seven benefits from bringing them all to one sales training workshop:

  1. Builds Trust: This is step one.  Without trust, your team will never bring a fellow salesperson to their customer.  The personal interaction that goes on inside the workshop as well as on breaks, at meals and evening gatherings allows the departments to interact, get to know each other and realize the other departments aren’t that bad.  The byproduct of this interaction is trust, which is needed for a salesperson to take another salesperson to their customer. 
  2. Creates a Common Language around customers: Your team learns how the other departments view customers and prospects.  They learn how to speak to each other about each other’s customers.  To help each other, they need to understand who might be a good referral.
  3. Fosters Team Selling Opportunities: This is one of the greatest outcomes that can happen.  I usually hear these conversations at breaks in the training day as the different departments mingle.  I hear them discussing opportunities to introduce each other to their customers. 
  4. Increases Collaboration: Mostly, this involves increased communication.  And communication is the fuel that drives all the other benefits of sales training.
  5. Gives a Competitive Advantage: A unified front of competent salespeople is a strength.  Customers see how committed your company is to the industry and the local Ag economy.  As a single line provider, all I could bring to my customers was my product line.  I got frequent objections because the coop was also their agronomy provider, owned the local elevator and collectively was owned by the customers themselves.  This wasn’t always an easy obstacle to overcome.  The more product lines a producer bought from them, the tougher it was to switch.  It really got tough when the producer was actually on the coop board.
  6. Share of Wallet: I never have been a big fan of this term, but I’m a very big fan of the concept.  It is estimated that it requires 7-10 times more effort to sell a prospect than a current customer.  Whether it’s 7X or 10X, let’s just say it’s easier, faster, and often more productive time for a salesperson to focus on growing their business with current customers.  In one example, the feed team was driving 30-40 miles to prospect on a regular basis.  While driving right by many current grain and agronomy customers who owned livestock. 

Why?  Often, they say, “I never really spend much time with them” (referring to the grain and agronomy team).  Wouldn’t it be nice to get all the background info on a prospect before ever setting foot on the farm?  Phone number, best time to call them, who really makes the decisions, who they currently buy from.  Better yet, having that trusted salesperson from your company introduce you on a sales call. 

  1. Creates Culture: The fact that the leadership team thought it was important to have everyone in one group, sets the tone. It sets the expectation and shows the importance of collaborating as one team to the customer.  This develops the culture within your organization

          I used a Coop sales team in this example.  However, there are similar opportunities in companies all through agribusiness.  It might be departmental:  whole goods, parts, and service.  It might be product line:  dairy team, beef team, retail team.  The concepts still apply.

          The challenge to this type of all-in-one workshop is to keep the various departments engaged.  The feed team doesn’t want to hear hours of technical agronomy discussions.  The agronomy team will disengage if the subject turns to energy selling.  A very customized structure in the workshop is the critical element to having multiple departments in one large workshop.

If your team would like to explore the opportunity of holding a workshop with multiple departments, give me a call and let’s have a discussion on it.   


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