The agricultural manufacturing industry involves the production of equipment and machinery used in agricultural operations, such as tractors, combines, irrigation systems, and other farm implements. The industry is closely tied to the overall health of the agriculture sector, which is affected by a range of factors, including weather, commodity prices, trade policies, and technology advancements.
Our client is a leading manufacturer of electric fence systems, livestock scales, electronic identification products and milk metering equipment for farmers in over 100 countries. They have been designing, manufacturing and marketing products and solutions to increase efficiency and profitability in the agricultural sector since 1964.
Although the client’s retail sales team had been achieving its annual targets, they wanted to improve further. After a detailed analysis, we discovered that:
- Area sales managers were largely self-directed, with minimal guidance from national managers for sales productivity targets. This led to inconsistent standards of effective activities during sales visits.
- Daily activities between sales managers, retail key accounts and high-value end users also lacked visibility, increasing the risk of service inefficiencies.
- The customer relationship management (CRM) system was also under-utilised, providing little visibility of the sales activity history
- There was low visibility on the time taken up for product troubleshooting and other non-value-adding impairments
- There was a need for better key lead indicators that could be managed to maximise monthly sales performance
In order to evaluate the current state of sales performance and identify potential areas for improvement, Renoir and the company worked together to:
- Conduct interviews across the organization to capture systemic gaps in the planning and reporting used to control sales performance
- Identify best practices used across the sales team
- Created a cross-functional Management Action Team (MAT) to ensure resources were properly managed and proposed changes were successfully implemented
- Hold presentations and field coaching with sales managers to ensure the successful uptake of these new operational changes
Based on the results of the analysis, we kickstarted 20-week project to track the sales activities across the company’s retail chains. The project was split into three stages:
- OPTIMISING PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY
Stores in the sales territories were evaluated and classified according to historical sales and growth potential. Various KPIs and reporting measures were implemented to manage sales productivity and sales targets, while also identifying individual stores that had not been visited within the target cycle.
The result of this was a “Best Practices” toolkit that included training and promotional summaries to show historical sales trends for individual stores, increase employee product knowledge, and give a checklist that covers all key sales drivers.
Results of the checklist were matched against store month-on-month sales to ensure that the new sales activities were delivering improved results. Clear guidelines were established to manage minimum expectations, and successful tactics were regularly shared in the fortnightly sales conference call. This validation process ensured continuous evaluation of sales process and behaviours to drive ongoing sales effectiveness.
- IMPROVING REPORTING AND BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
Reporting systems were developed and integrated into the existing CRM system to monitor and verify data integrity. As a result, summaries of sales visits – and its corresponding dashboards – could be updated in real time through mobile solutions.
Reports now also factored in KPIs that were previously not monitored to give clear visibility of market demand. The reporting cascaded more detail from all levels of management, with the appropriate KPIs being included for each level of accountability in the organisation.
Sales managers now had access to more information of individual store performance, leading to an increase in the effectiveness of their discussions with sales staff, and identification of opportunities for sales growth. In this way, the Sales Management Control System (SMCS) could be used constantly to monitor performance effectively, ensuring a sustainable improvement.
After 20 weeks, the following results were achieved.
Additionally, the sales approach also underwent an upgrade. With the SMCS, sales managers now had access to better metrics for planning and a method of delivering sustained sales benefits to the business. In short, the SMCS becomes a method to monitor performance effectively and drive continuous, sustainable improvement.
Within the short timeframe of the project, we managed to help the client achieve a significant rise in sales volume and margin, creaing the framework for continuous improvement to deliver further increases.