Seed World

Here’s Why You Need to Reimagine How Seed is Sold

The final of 5 entries in our Pillars of Professionalism series, profiling people and the skills they’ve mastered to help teach you skills for success in today’s seed industry.

You might say Justin Funk has grown up in the seed sector. His grandfather Carl was one of the first people to commercialize hybrid seed corn in the United States. So, he knows what’s talking about when he says there’s been a big change in seed sales since his grandfather made inroads with hybrid corn in Indiana many decades ago.

Younger seed buyers have new demands. They might want to buy online. They might have an eye toward newer varieties and crop types in an effort to capitalize on new market trends.

“A lot of mature salespeople are coming back for training and saying, ‘I want to refine my skills, I want to change how I sell because the way that I sold years ago often doesn’t work with this newer generation of farmer.'”

At the same time, Funk says the experienced, more seasoned salespeople who have been around for a while are being replaced by a new generation of seed sellers. That means seed company leadership may find themselves with salespeople who lack the skills needed to do the job.

That presents a huge opportunity, Funk says.

Right out of the gate, salespeople need to be able to display these desirable skills and characteristics just to be given that next opportunity to come to the farm.

Funk’s advice to salespeople and the seed companies that employ them is this: remember that reputation is everything. That’s important when competing companies are selling varieties that often have virtually identical agronomic profiles at similar price points.

“When your product is virtually indistinguishable from that of your competitors, your reputation is what sets you apart.”
For more in this series:

Why You Need to Rethink How Seed Production Training Works

How Dilantha Fernando Saved the Canola Industry Billions in Revenue

Why we Need to Close the Job Skills Training Gap

These 4 Skills are Crucial for Professional Success