Time Management for the Ag Salesperson

What tools do you use to be more efficient?

Towards the end of every sales workshop, I have attendees fill out a quick feedback form. 

One of the questions I ask is, What should we have spent more time on? 

Time management is always at the top of that list. 

With a large geography and a long list of customers, the decision on where to spend your time is often the most important decision you make every single day.  Over the course of your sales career, you will continuously struggle over questions like…

  • Should I call on current customers or go prospect for new ones?
  • Should I go North, South, East, or West?
  • Should I be promoting this product or that product?
  • Where should I go, who should I call on, and what should I focus on…….

After telling me how they struggle with time management, I ask, “How do you currently manage your territory and customers?  What tools help you make the best use of your time?  With all the places to go and people to call on, how do you decide?”

Many times, they answer with,

  • Nothing really.  I have been in my territory for a long time and just know where to go.”
  • “I carry a notebook for taking notes.  That’s pretty much it.”

Other answers might include the use of their phone calendar or maybe Outlook on their laptop.  A few really organized salespeople will use Excel or dare I say, a CRM program.

In today’s podcast, I met with Pat Sullivan from AgVend.  Pat is the Vice President for Partner Success and works with their customers to get the most from their own data.  AgVend is a software company that focuses on digital enablement tools.  While they have a CRM program as part of their platform, digital enablement goes much further beyond a sales tool.

Another term I hear for this type of tool is BI, which stands for business intelligence.  If you want to work smarter and harder in order to grow your sales, I would encourage you to consider a BI tool.  Preferably one that incorporates a CRM tool within it.  The biggest reason is that it helps you answer those questions I pose to my training groups.

You can certainly continue to wing it on managing your schedule.  You can show up each day and fight fires.  Or you can keep a notebook full of random notes taken all day every day.   However, my guess is that this is how you got to where you are now…..overworked, with little time left over to even think about working smarter.  You’re herding cats down a highway full of mice.

Or, you can put some data and some science behind your decisions. This platform connects all of your internal software programs into one primary program.

Listen in as we discuss some of the ways you could be managing your time better and make better decisions.

Key Interview Times:

  • 00:30 – “As an Ag salesperson or as an agribusiness, why should I care about Ag Tech software?”
    • Data and better decision making
    • Efficiency – “I’m so busy….I have no time…”
    • The combination of data and head knowledge in your business
  • 04:30 – What customer does AgVend serve and what do you do for them?
  • 07:50 – Getting salespeople and other users to use the program
    • They have to believe in the data
    • Now they need to see how it makes them faster and better
  • 12:40 – “Could you tell us about a customer example that you helped?”
    • Recovered 70% of lost customers
    • Less customer turnover
    • Saved time – got on more sales calls
  • 17:00 – Customer Adoption rate: “How do you help the agribusiness get their customers to use your program?”
  • 21:01 – Future Plans
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