Recently, we had a group of about 20 sales managers on Purdue’s West Lafayette, IN campus for a program. On the second day of the program, the concept of listening came up. One of our presenters was a professor who taught counseling at the college level for many years, but now applies his experience toward helping sales managers develop their salespeople. He had been doing some work on the concept of listening—which is really the primary job of counselors—and we were discussing how research on listening might apply to the sales process.
One of the more significant challenges in any business is finding the best way to get sales teams and marketing managers on the same page. While this may seem like a simple task that comes down to organizational and reporting structure, in reality, it isn’t that easy. The fact of the matter is, when you look at the basic purposes of sales and marketing teams, it comes down to this: marketing is responsible for developing strategy, while salespeople are responsible for implementing strategy. To use more marketing-friendly terminology, marketing develops the value proposition, while salespeople are the stewards of the value proposition. Without proper lines of communication, understanding and buy-in, strategy—as good as the intention may be—can fall flat due to improper implementation. In some cases, it can lead to conflict and frustration.
At the touch of a button, a farmer downloads an application to their phone. They open the app, and with another touch of a button, they've just ordered drone imagery that will cut costs, reduce chemical waste and precisely spray only the acres necessary in the field.
It’s no secret that the food and agribusiness industry is a fast-paced world of tight margins and dynamic marketplaces where CFO positions are of significant strategic importance. It’s also no secret that the world of numbers and finance can be daunting for non-financial managers who don’t get their hands on the statements every month. The need for non-financial managers to understand financials is rapidly becoming a crucial and sought-after trait.
It’s fascinating that many organizations identify people as their significant competitive advantage. For example, customer-facing employees at Consolidated Electrical Distribution (CED) were able to substantially impact the work of their electrician customers by simply creating an 'electrician's cart.'
Dr. Keith Halperin says eighty-three percent of executives report that they do not have the right talent and capabilities to build upon their strategy.
Dr. Scott Downey says there is a well-studied chain of events in business that shows the relationship between employee activities and company profits called the Service-Profit chain.
Mati Mohammadi, a PhD student at Purdue University and graduate research assistant at Purdue's Center for Food and Agricultural Business, talks about the importance of trust in business relationships.