Written by 3:11 am Tips and Tricks

The Ag Sales Professional’s Company Org Chart

The importance of putting your customer on your company org chart

Do you have a company org chart for your company?  If so, does it look like this?

I’m almost positive it does.  Most do.  The President or CEO is at the top, then vice presidents and department managers, with individual employees towards the bottom.  Nothing wrong with this.  We all need to know who reports to who. 

However, in sales, I like to use a slightly different org chart.  I use one that has the customer on it.  After all, the purpose of a company is to profitably serve a customer.  So, what happens when we add the customer to the org chart? 

You suddenly realize how important our role as salespeople is in our company.  I like to use this company org chart to better describe our role

At first glance, many in my training workshops think it’s arrogant or selfish to view the whole company is designed to serve us.  Some might even think that I’m so biased as a salesperson or sales trainer, that I think the whole world is organized around me serving my customers.

So, I let them think about it for a minute.  Then I ask a few questions.

“Who does the marketing department serve?”  They build a brand and source prospects so the salesperson can sell them

“Who does the customer service department serve?”  They provide front line service to the salesperson’s customers. 

After working through several examples, the salespeople in the workshop become a little more confident in the support that is behind them.  Thinking in this new way can help them realize they are not alone out there in the countryside.

However, it’s important to warn them that this shouldn’t go to their head.  In reality, this new Ag sales org chart means the salesperson has a lot of responsibility.  It’s your job to harness all these resources and bring them to your customer. 

Customers don’t know all these departments and they don’t know how they can help them.  That’s your role!

Your accounting and production departments don’t always know how they can be more supportive to you as you try to serve the customer.  Educating them and building their support is your role!  I know; sometimes they don’t want to.  Sometimes they feel like sales prevention instead of a supportive org chart.  Again, that is our role as the central focus of the company org chart. 

This week, I was preparing for a training workshop and realized I have been missing an essential part of my version of the org chart.  I was preparing a training session on becoming a Trusted Advisor to your customers.  The trusted advisor salesperson definitely brings all their company resources to their customers.  They also network with industry experts, their suppliers, and other industry suppliers who also serve their customers.  The new and expanded org chart really looks like this.

This new version really helps depict how Trusted Advisors set themselves apart.  It takes a skilled professional salesperson to bring all of their company’s resources to the market.

But a Trusted Advisor is someone who networks with and brings to the market:

  • Vendors:  Your suppliers have vast resources of information, data, and support that they can help you and your customers.  They also have access to their vendors who might be able to help you as well.  As a manufacturer’s salesperson, I know those customers that asked, always got more support and help than those who didn’t.
  • Industry Experts:  Please take a few minutes with your customers, fellow salespeople, and managers to discover who the industry experts are in your line of products.  Who do your customers follow?  Who are the influencers?  This might be university professors, extension folks, or independent consultants who have established their expertise.  Go meet them.  Reach out and connect on LinkedIn.  Find them at trade shows at their booth or when they speak. 

In summary, being great as a resource to your customers is certainly every salesperson’s desire.  However, most will stop there.  You have access to everyone in your company as well as a large network of resources in the industry.  Start small, maybe by connecting with them on LinkedIn.  Build your network of experts who can help you help your customers.

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