Sales management in farm equipment dealerships is undergoing major changes in which measuring the performance of the salesforce is becoming increasingly critical. These changes are being forced by the growing size and demands of farming operations that require more attention from the sales team, as well as the expansion of dealership operations via industry consolidation. Effectively managing and measuring the dealership’s efforts and subsequent results is essential for increasing profits.

While close attention to internal metrics and comparing these to past performance remains important, determining where the dealership stands compared to similar operations and its competition is an essential component in determining overall sales performance. One of the methods for doing so is through benchmarking. 

To make these comparisons, this Farm Equipment 2019 Confidential Sales Survey was compiled by the editors of Farm Equipment to help dealerships evaluate the performance of their salesforce compared to an industry baseline. 

This report is based on results of an April 2019 survey of sales managers, sales directors, general managers and dealer-principals for farm equipment dealers in the U.S. and Canada. Nearly 200 responses were collected for the report.

This report breaks respondents out based on annual revenue:

  • Annual Revenue: $1-$9.99 million
  • Annual Revenue: $10-$19.99 million
  • Annual Revenue: $20-$49.99 million
  • Annual Revenue: $50-$79.99 million
  • Annual Revenue: $80-$174.99 million
  • Annual Revenue: $175 million or more

Out of the responses to this survey, over 53% of respondents were operating dealerships with annual revenue under $20 million. The most common revenue range of respondents was $1-$9.99 million with 30.7%. The annual revenue range with the lowest number of respondents was $50-$79.99 million.

It is important to note that the results of this survey are representative of the survey respondents and not necessarily a perfect representation of the market as a whole. These results serve as a window for what the market looks like for some. 

Results of Farm Equipment’s survey of sales managers, directors and general managers also provided a review of dealership sales staff and how differing compensation plans and commission programs are being used for junior and senior salespeople. 

When it comes to the age of the salesforce, data indicates that the largest percentage of salespeople fall into the 31-60 year old age group. On average, more than 91% of their sales teams are over 30 years old.

The largest group by a small margin are those at age 51-60, accounting for 27.4% of the salesforce. The bulk of the average dealer’s sales revenue falls with ages 41-50 years old (26.4%) and 51-60 years old (28.6%). 

“What this shows is that age is not a determinant for how many sales one can make or their productivity,” says George Russell, Machinery Advisors Consortium. “My theory is that there are older salespeople who actually aren’t doing a very good job. They aren’t generating a lot of business. 

“We think that seniority is a good thing but the fact is, older salespeople continue working on their existing customer base and often aren’t going out and talking to somebody new. I also believe that younger salespeople can be taught how to sell relatively quickly. In other words, I don’t think you have to spend x number of years on the job in order to be successful. Sales ability is not limited to age or experience. Young people can learn the trade quickly and be productive.”