Why Agricultural Sales Jobs are Hard to Fill

Business-to-business (B2B) agriculture sales is a highly specialized career field. Not only must these individuals know how commercial farms operate, but they must also explain how their products or services can ease specific pain points. In a foundational sense, B2B salespeople must clearly show how they can help clients increase efficiency and profitability. agricultural sales

M&F Talent specializes in recruiting sales teams for agriculture technology (agtech) and equipment companies. From farm management software to commercial irrigation supply, organizations from around the world look to Mac & Fulton to fill agricultural sales jobs. While we take great pride in finding salespeople for our clients, we also enjoy sharing our expertise with our network. 

To help expedite the hiring process for our clients and peers, M&F Talent put together this article to explain the challenges of recruiting for agricultural sales jobs. 

Why is it So Difficult to Recruit Salespeople?

While most agriculture companies can identify with the challenges of sales recruiting, these issues aren’t necessarily isolated to just this industry. As the Harvard Business Review website explains, “Many firms talk about talent management, but few [of them] deal systematically with a basic fact: average annual turnover in sales is 25 to 30%. This means that the equivalent of the entire sales organization must be hired and trained every four years or so, and that’s expensive.” 

With such alarming turnover rates, it’s worthwhile taking a deeper look at sales jobs to understand exactly why hiring and retention are so problematic. 

Personality Typesagricultural sales

Since it takes a very specific type of personality to find success in sales, there is a limited talent pool available to pull from. While many people try sales at some point in their lives, a vast majority quickly figure out they aren’t suited for this line of work. Key personality traits for salespeople include:

  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Hunter mentality 
  • Willing to travel 50% of the time  
  • Financially motivated

Looking at the above list, you can get a better idea of why it’s so tough to recruit quality salespeople. From the outset, only a small percentage of the population has the right type of personality to thrive in a sales job. 

Lack of College Training Programs

While sales are essential to the success of any business, there is a surprising lack of education options available for aspiring salespeople. According to the Harvard Business Review, “more than 50% of U.S. college graduates, regardless of their majors, are likely to work in sales. But of the over 4,000 colleges in this country, less than 100 have sales programs or even sales courses.” 

Without many choices at the college level, young people don’t have much direction for pursuing sales jobs. In turn, recruiters and HR departments generally don’t have many obvious avenues for sourcing young sales talent with recent college graduates that you might see with other careers like engineering. 

What About Recruiting Specifically for Agricultural Sales Jobs?

Besides the aforementioned challenges that come with hiring salespeople in any industry, recruiting in the agriculture space presents its unique set of issues. The hardest thing about recruiting agriculture salespeople is the fact that it is such a specialized industry. agricultural sales

Especially when conducting B2B sales to commercial producers, there are extreme variances of expertise with different technology, equipment, and inputs. For example, someone with experience selling ag-tech products has a much different knowledge base than someone selling fertilizers. When you finally cut down the population of candidates with the right experience selling the right product type, you wind up with a very limited talent pool. 

What are the Most Difficult Agricultural Sales Jobs to Fill?

From M&F Talent’s years of experience with agriculture recruiting, we’ve found that sales positions dealing with complex machinery and automation are generally the hardest to fill. Especially with newer technologies like sensor systems and drone monitoring, salespeople are often charged with explaining exactly what the equipment does before they can even get to the sales pitch. When prospective clients aren’t familiar with the latest technologies, there can be quite a knowledge gap that must be overcome in the sales process. 

Considerations for Training and Onboarding

Once you hire a qualified agriculture salesperson, you also need to consider how the training and onboarding process will go. Not only must you train your new hire on your product, services, and sales process, but they must also be proficient with critical pieces of technology like customer relationship management software (CRM). Understanding how to leverage social media platforms like LinkedIn for prospecting and networking is also crucial in today’s competitive market.agricultural sales

Due to the amount of new technologies involved with sales jobs, it takes new employees longer to get up-to-speed with their jobs. Since it commonly takes between 6-9 months for new salespeople to start meeting sales targets, each new hire represents a sizable overhead investment for your organization. In the unfortunate event that your new salesperson doesn’t work out, it can be a huge financial loss for your business. 

Hire Top Agriculture Talent with Mac & Fulton!

Perhaps more than any other type of job, agriculture companies struggle to hire and retain top sales talent. When you work with M&F Talent, we give you direct access to in-demand candidates in our agriculture sales talent pool. 

From commercial cultivators to technology manufacturers, M&F Talent specializes in agriculture sales recruiting. We will get your most critical agriculture jobs filled, while also helping improve your retention rates. 

Contact us today to get started!