Invest in Your Team to Grow Your Business

You’ve got product, and you’ve got a sales staff. But according to your accounting records, your product sales haven’t shown much growth lately. Perhaps it’s time to invest some resources into training your team, and start seeing an increase in your business.

According to a Dale Carnegie Training Center study, 40% of employees who receive minimal to no training will leave their job during the first year, stating that they are dissatisfied with their position in the company and overall lack of training, so they don’t feel like part of the team. The same study revealed that employee turnover costs U.S. business owners $11 billion annually.

You can see from those figures that making a small investment in training can save you money and potentially grow your business, as it costs less to hire and keep employees than it does to rehire employees on a regular basis. Your business will be more organized, and your employees will feel more knowledgeable and appreciated.

To put the advantages of a well-trained sales force into perspective, one study showed that once a group of Kinko’s employees were properly trained, that sales force generated three times as many sales of a new product compared to their peers who did not receive training. If you could increase your bottom line by three times, wouldn’t that make the investment of employee training worth it?

Your business will also benefit from training employees through overall productivity. Employees will know more about the products they are selling and how to engage with potential and current customers while being able to comfortably talk about those products. In addition, the employees will be happier, and feel more like part of the team and not just a robot that you’ve got on the staff.

Once you have your sales force trained and start to see sales grow, be sure to let your employees know you value them and their efforts. You might think that a pay check twice a month is appreciation enough. However, a study by the International Society of Performance Improvement on performance improvement, found that incentive programs could increase employee performance by 22% in individuals. There are several inexpensive ways to offer employees incentives for meeting pre-specified goals without cutting into your increased profits.

A few ideas include pre-set commission for predetermined sales above a certain benchmark; paid time-off or flextime for exceptional work or increased sales; host a luncheon in their honor for a big sale or a new customer you’ve been working hard to get – most everyone enjoys pizza or a burger and the added camaraderie is a bonus too; provide them with a gift card to their favorite store or restaurant. Don’t forget the value of the employee’s family. Bonuses and incentives that keep the family in mind include gift cards to the bowling alley or movie theater, a family gym membership or tickets to the rodeo or an entertainer that is coming to town.

Perhaps the biggest incentive for employees to perform to their ultimate ability won’t cost you a dime, but are two simple words our parents taught us long ago:

THANK YOU.

Customers are the #1 Player on the Team

How many times have you seen a football team win by a last-second field goal? The kicker has paced the sideline for most of the game practicing his kicks and keeping that leg ready to go. Although he might not have as much playing time as the quarterback, his participation on the team is of utmost importance.

The same can be said for your customers. You might not see them every day or even communicate with them on a regular basis. Their “on-field” time might seem minimal in comparison with your employees and vendors, but without customers on your team, you’re not even in the game.

Oftentimes you only hear from a customer if he or she needs product or if the customer is disgruntled with a product or service – and that isn’t what you want to hear. It is important to follow up with every customer and ask for feedback, and let the customer know that positive or negative, the feedback they provide is important to your team.

The book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team states that “when people don’t unload their opinions and feel like they have been listened to, they won’t really get on board.” The first step is to begin the conversation, which you or your sales team can do in a follow-up conversation after the sale. Here are three things that companies can do to bring customers into the conversation and engage them as part of the team:

Always be receptive and responsive to feedback. Regardless of the timing or channel, organizations who are prepared to receive and acknowledge customer feedback will have more loyal and engaged customers. This includes phone calls, letters, emails and even social media.

Create an environment built on trust. This means when asking for feedback, clearly state why you want the feedback and what you intend to do with it. In the agricultural world, trust is the foundation of all we do. If your customers don’t trust you, they likely won’t be a part of your team for too long.

Empower customer service teams to solve problems and seek feedback simultaneously. Since most dealers are smaller and not staffed by a sales team and a customer service team, training all employees about the products and how to work with people is more important than ever. A great way to do this is through the new Master Dealer program. For more information about this program, visit www.biozymedealer.com and click “Master Dealer” in the menu.

Once you receive customer feedback and review it, follow up. Customers offer a fresh perspective, and perhaps their idea will help increase sales or bring in a new customer. At the very least, knowing that you acknowledged their feedback will help encourage a positive business relationship and should help your team keep a winning record.

Source: http://blog.macquarium.com/are-your-customers-on-your-team/

Use Social Media to Boost Your Business

You’ve built your company’s Facebook page, and hopefully you found the tips in last month’s VISION useful as you begin or enhance your social media presence. But did you know for pennies a day, you can boost the amount of exposure your company gets on Facebook?

One of the most effective tools on Facebook is a button that allows you to “boost” a post or geo target specific customers with specific messages. Once you have created a post, you can click the “boost post” button, which allows you to create parameters to target a very specific audience including:

LOCATION: You can add the specific town or zip code you want to target, drop a pin or add multiple towns, say if you were hosting producer meetings in multiple locations. Once you have a location added, you can add a radius between 10-50 miles around the town or area you want to target.

AGE & GENDER: You can target only men, only women or both. You can target ranges of age groups between 13 to 65+ years old. Even though you can target 13-year-olds remember, Facebook does not allow you to target sales to anyone under 18-years-old. However, if you were hosting a youth livestock clinic, you might want to target 13-21, since that would be the group most likely to participate.

TARGET GROUP: Search by keyword to find a very specific target audience. Are you trying to promote Vitalize® to horse enthusiasts in your area? Type ‘horse’ in the keyword search, and the following will appear: horse, horse training, horse breeding and horse riding. You can click and select the groups that fit your needs, and anyone who has shown interest in those groups, who match the age, gender and location target you have selected will see your post. They don’t have to be your current customers or even like your page.

COST: Remember you set your budget, and you determine how much you want to spend. You can spend $10 for a post to show up for a month or you can spend $10 for the same post to only appear for a day.

“The more money you put toward your post, the more opportunity you have in reaching a larger percentage of the selected audience,” said Caitlin Tye, Content and Social Media.

If you are a dealer, and there is a cattle show coming to your town, you might create a post to promote you have Sure Champ® and Sure Champ Climate Control on hand. When you type ‘cattle’ in the keyword search, the following appear: Angus, Hereford, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, cattle rancher, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. You would select all of those except Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, because you would more than likely get someone who is a beef eater, and not a show participant seeing your post, which does not encourage engagement.

Boosting a post is an efficient, inexpensive way to reach a large group of potential customers who have a core group of interests. If you have more questions about how to create a targeted post, contact Kristi Stevens, Marketing Project Manager, at (816) 596-8795 or email her at kstevens@biozymeinc.com.

What Do You Need to Grow?

Companies of all types and sizes typically want to grow in one way or another—whether it’s in terms of revenues, profits, number of employees or customers, market share or number of locations. And while not every business owner has aspirations to build the next Google, almost every business wants to see progress from one year to the next, even if it’s just in the amount of money one can take home to the family. Research shows that trying to grow when the business is not ready is a leading cause of business failure. So, knowing if you and your business are ready to grow is very important to its success. The first google item that pops up for this topic makes it look so easy.  Just buy an “all-in-one platform” and it will scale business growth.

We all know this is not the way sustainable growth works and that we need to spend some major time setting the stage for growth for it to occur successfully. The below questions can help get the plan moving forward.

What is your long-term goal and how does that impact your growth decision? No goal, no glory. While we can’t predict the future, we can certainly plan for it.

Are you prepared financially? In our personal life, they say you should have six months of expenses saved “in case.” Growth is an “in case,” so that same basic rule applies to business. On top of this amount, one needs to add the estimated additional expenses from the growth plan. Don’t implement the plan without the cash.

Do you have the space and capacity to grow from a facility standpoint or will you need to expand? You must know the full capacity of your current operation before you begin this growth endeavor. You then must know what percent of that capacity you are currently operating. This is imperative to the decisions ahead.

How will you fund the potential expansion? Growth financing is every bit as hard–if not harder–to obtain than startup funding. Do regular cash-flow projections so that you know how much credit you’re going to need well before you have to start writing checks. Develop and maintain strong relationships with your funding sources and be sure to have primary and backup sources available. In today’s financial climate, it’s harder than ever to predict credit availability, so stay on top of your cash and financial needs to give yourself plenty of room to maneuver when it’s time to borrow.

How much human capital will be required to meet your growth goals? Where will you find it and how will you pay for it? The team that can successfully run a $1 million company is not the same team that can run a $50 million company. If your goal is growth, hire people who can perform in the size company you want to be–they’ll help you get there.

Will your existing customers remain loyal during the growth pains? No company can do without customers, and if you don’t stay close to them, you’ll lose them. Know what they need, but more importantly, know what they want and do everything you can to give that to them. Most important though is to communicate. Never let your customers wonder what’s going on. Tell them–whether it’s good or bad.

Will the work required to grow bring unavoidable stress into your life that could potentially deter your ability to successfully operate your business with your best foot forward? Be honest here and make sure you really think it through.

The better prepared you are for growth, the better your chances for success. Devise a plan that helps you get to where you want to go. Make sure you think of your plan as a GPS system. Don’t think once you are on the route that you know better than the GPS. And remember, the more specific your plan, the less chance you have to get lost.

Last but not least, don’t forget to focus on your core business and don’t get distracted. Stick to the business your company knows best. Be sure any diversification or product line expansion you do makes sense. If it has nothing to do with your core business don’t get into it just because it seems like a good opportunity. Otherwise, you’ll you confuse your customers and your employees–and you’ll likely find that dividing your efforts reduces the quality and profitability of everything.

Just as you plan for when things go wrong, also plan for when things go well. When you’re prepared for growth, you can better manage the changes it brings and let it take you to the goal you set when you started.

Grow Your Customer Base in 7 Simple Steps

Growing your customer base can seem exhausting. But without customers, our business model and our businesses are pointless. Former Goldman Sachs CEO John Whitehead offers his top tips in growing a customer base quickly in a recent article on Inc.com.

  1. Don’t waste your time going after business you don’t really want. Is there a producer who has tried every supplement brand around only to feed one or two bags and find something he or she is dissatisfied with? Are you the next target on the list? Perhaps your time is better spent talking to other potential customers who you know would benefit from your products and services than investing much time into the person in the “mineral of the month” club who won’t likely be a long-term customer.

  2. The boss usually makes the final decision. When calling on a potential customer make sure you are focusing your efforts on the right person. Maybe your buddy is the cowboy at a large feedlot, but chances are he isn’t going to be making major decisions about animal nutrition or health. However, he might be able to introduce you to the manager, who does make the decisions, and he can still serve as a resource and save you some time.

  3. You never learn anything when you’re talking. Ask questions of your customers, and listen carefully. If you are talking more than 50 percent of the time, you are talking too much. Listen to what goals are for their operations or what challenges they are experiencing. Then offer products that can help them meet their goals or overcome their challenges.

  4. The respect of one person is worth more than an acquaintance with 100 people. Treat each customer like he or she is your number one priority. Know what is important to them. Is it their family, the local football team or even their old ranch dog? Treat customers with respect, and you will earn their trust and respect in return. And they will likely tell their neighbors about that great BioZyme rep they do business with.

  5. When there’s business to be found, go out and get it! As mentioned in last month’s VISION, there is potential everywhere! Talking to existing customers about other product lines they could use is a great idea. Does that cow-calf producer have horses or a dog? Be sure to sell them the Vitalize® line of products. Or does your existing customer have a friend or neighbor that raises another species that you can help them with? Ask existing customers for names of potential customers and watch your customer list grow.

  6. There’s nothing worse than an unhappy client. Did you have a customer that was upset with his or her results. Customer satisfaction is key to keeping customers and growing your customer base. Make sure you solve any issues that arise with unhappy customers as soon as you can. That way when they are gathered around the local coffee shop, you become a hero, not another no-good sales person.

  7. If you get the business, it’s up to you to see that it’s well-handled. Follow-up is imperative, especially with new customers. Call them a few weeks into using the products to see how things are going. Do they have questions you can answer? Do they need more product? Happy customers will be repeat customers.

Growing your customer base is key to growing your business. Potential customers are everywhere. Make it your goal to grow your customer list each month.

Reach More for Less with Social Media

Social media is a great tool to reach a lot of people with minimal investment. Today, nearly 70% of the entire U.S. population has at least one account on a social media platform, and 42% of farmers use Facebook or Twitter daily.

Caitlin Tye, Content and Social Media Manager for BioZyme®, says there are two primary purposes to reach customers with social media, as a marketing tool and as a customer care tool.

“Everything you put on social media is strategic communication. It is not unplanned conversation,” Tye said.

When using social media as a marketing tool, you should see tangible results with an increase in sales. Be sure to know your audience, and what motivates them. And understand what content is important to your audience: talk about the products and their uses; highlight producers who have had positive results; keep customers updated on news from your dealership – new products, events or upcoming promotions. And, remember, sometimes social media as a marketing tool will cross over to customer care.

Tye offers four best practices when using social media as a marketing tool.

1 – Less is more. Capture the audience’s attention with short, effective post copy. People don’t have time to read a lot of text, so keep the copy precise and catchy.

2 – Imagery. Never post content without a visually appealing image to accompany it. Nothing should be posted without an image. Ever.

3 – Engagement.  Be clear how you want your audience to react to your message. Will they comment on it? Will they “like” the post? Will your customers “share” the post, and engage with others who are potential customers?

4 – User Generated Content (UGC). “Never underestimate the power of a brand-loyal fan,” Tye said. UGC is an unsolicited post submitted by a customer who is passionate about the product, who has seen a positive result. UGC is accompanied by a strong image, a powerful testimonial, and is more effective than you telling your customers how wonderful your products are.

If you have questions about social media or developing a social media strategy, contact Caitlin Tye at 309-582-6454 or ctye@biozymeinc.com

Here are a few examples of strong posts that will work as marketing tools. If you need help with Facebook posts about our products, contact Kristi Stevens, Marketing Project Manager, at 816-596-8795.

Product Highlights:
Show a picture of the product in use or product that you have in stock and ready for purchase.

Dealership Information:
Share services offered, exciting news or upcoming specials with your customers.

Customer Testimonials:
Testimonials are one of the most powerful tools you can use to sell products. Coupling a customer’s words with their photo (preferably using the product) makes great content for your social channels.

Partnerships and Programs Increase Profit Potential

There are only 24 hours to each day, and seven days in the week. You have a to-do list a mile long, including the desire to increase your BioZyme® sales for the year. Alan Lee, Director of National Sales – South, offers tips to help you grow your business and your profit potential.

Step 1 – Decide to multiply your business this year.

You are the only person who can make this life-changing decision. Don’t be wishy-washy. Make the decision, define how much you want to grow your business and start working.

Step 2 – Once you make the decision, do whatever it takes to get it done.

Develop a plan, write it down and make no excuses as you move forward. A plan or written goal will help you with accountability. And if you need to take that accountability further, talk to your spouse, business partner or even your ASM and let him or her know what your business growth goals are for the future.

Step 3 – Find mutually beneficial business partners to back up the plan.

Work together to build one another’s brand awareness and/or customer base. Until you ask to form a partnership, the answer is always no. Is there an animal health company, semen company or auction company you can partner with to conduct producer meetings? You probably share some customers, but you also share potential customers. Do simple things for one another like share your company links on each other’s websites. Start small, and develop endless opportunities with strong partnerships.

Step 4 – Connect the dots. Do you have a customer who has customers that you need to reach out to? For example, you have a VitaFerm® customer who sells 200 bulls every year. If that producer sells 200 bulls, who is he or she selling to? Have you asked that producer who those customers are? Do those customers use BioZyme products? If not, there are many potential customers who already have a trusting relationship with someone with a success story (the producer who sells 200 bulls) with our products. Connect the dots.

Step 5 – Think of established revenue sources as a partner. Although new customers are important, make sure your core customers are taking advantage of all products and programs. Sure, a cow-calf producer is using a Vita Charge® Stress Tub at weaning, but what about the rest of the year? And what about the other species on that operation? Make sure that customer knows about VitaFerm Concept•Aid®, VitaFerm HEAT, and Gain Smart. Does that operation also have horses and kids with livestock projects? Make sure you tell them about the Vitalize® and Sure Champ® product lines as well. And most of all, try to sell them a program, not just a product.

Make sure your current customers understand the value of using an entire program, not just a single product in their operation. Sell sheets for four key programs are available in the Online Dealer Center that will show the cost per animal vs. the ROI for the producer and the profit potential for the dealer when selling the program. For example, a producer with 40 cows, feeding Concept•Aid most of the year, and HEAT during the hot summer months will spend approximately $56 per cow. However, because of the increase in conception rates, adding more pounds of calves to wean, the producer should see an additional $20.63 profit. Studies show that calves will gain an extra .25 pound per day with the Amaferm® advantage, so higher performing, heavier calves will also result in additional profit to the producer for feeding these two supplements of $76.88 per cow. Now, if you have 10 producers with 40 cows each, your sales for those two products could bring in $22,280. See why it is important to sell the program and not just a product?

Be sure to check out the Retreat Page in the Online Dealer Center by going to www.biozymedealer.com and clicking “Retreat”. Here you will find updated sell sheets for all programs and products as well as Alan’s presentation that includes the profit-potential breakdowns of these four programs: VitaFerm Cow-Calf Program, Gain Smart Stocker Program, Super Start Dairy Calf Program, and the Recovery Programs. The sell sheets will explain more in-depth the benefit of the products and how to best position them when selling.

Potential Customers are Everywhere

As you look for ways to grow your business, it is important to think of everyone you encounter as a potential customer. Are most of your customers cow-calf producers? It is highly likely a lot of them also have horses that need our products. Most households have 1.6 dogs, and BioZyme® offers products for our canine companions.

During the recent Dealer Retreat, Tell Stevens, Digital Marketing Manager, shared with dealers some big picture numbers of the potential they have in their respective areas. What most dealers discovered is they have a lot of potential they had not considered.

“We tried to identify all animal groups attached to a specific product line and aligned our brands to segments of the industry that need them,” Stevens said. “This allowed dealers to visualize where they might have potential utilizing all of the product lines BioZyme offers.”

Working with the USDA to gather numbers, Stevens collaborated with Lisa Norton, BioZyme Vice President, to determine assumed days on a program and the revenue per head at suggested retail to calculate potential revenue. Numbers on the chart assume that BioZyme has 100% of the market share; however, Stevens said to compare the revenue of one segment against other segments to get a more realistic figure.

For example, a horse on Vitalize® year-round, will generate $323 in revenue. Do you know someone with 10 horses? Perhaps you need to reach out to customers who buy the VitaFerm® products for their cattle and also have horses, and educate them on the benefits of Vitalize. It’s a great idea to generate more revenue from those customers who already know about and believe in our products.

Nearly everyone you meet has a dog. And most dog owners treat their dogs like their kids. You can generate nearly $75 of revenue in a year from one dog being on Vitalize products. And that customer will likely continue to buy products from you for years to come.

It is easy to get stuck in a sales routine where you talk to your same customers on a regular basis, but it is time to think outside the box and grow your potential. If your typical audience is the cow-calf sector and you discover a commercial poultry, swine or dairy operation exists or has moved into your area, those are great potential customers. Not sure how to start a conversation with them? Talk to your ASM or someone on the business development and support team to help you make that pitch.

Take the time. Find a way. Find your potential, and grow your business.

If you were not able to attend Dealer Retreat, and would like to know the potential for your dealership, contact Kristi Stevens, Marketing Project Manager, at 816-596-8795 or kstevens@biozymeinc.com.

Get Social with Marketing and Promotion

Facebook. YouTube. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. These are just a few of the social media platforms that your customers or your customers’ kids engage with on a daily basis. And they are becoming some of the most widely used marketing tools out there.

If you are looking for a timely way to reach and interact with your customer base, social media is the tool to use, and unlike some predictions of less than a decade ago, social media is here to stay. The reach and engagement is so widespread when using social media, it is hard to deny that it is an effective way to reach a large following very quickly and at a very low cost.

According to an April 2017 report on ebizmba.com, 1.5 billion unique users visit Facebook each month. Granted those users span the globe, that is an amazing number of people to reach with your message.

BioZyme® wants you to succeed in your online presence and posts regularly to its multiple Facebook pages, making content readily available for you to share from your dealer or personal pages. Many BioZyme brands have a Facebook page with content posted regularly. With just a click of the ‘share’ button, you can add that content onto your company Facebook page as well.

Here are just a few examples of ways you can use social media to engage with your customers.

Promote your products. Did you just get a shipment of a new product in? Take a photo and post it to your social media accounts. A picture is truly worth a thousand words on social media.

Create a hashtag and use it properly. Hashtags, the little pound symbol before a group of words, can be a powerful way to reach a group of like-minded people. For example, “#surechamp is great product to keep your show animals on feed this summer,” might be a tweet you post, with a link to Facebook page and a promotion on Sure Champ. Young people familiar with the brand name, but not exactly what it does might click on that post, and learn more and become your next customer. 

Host a contest. Sure Champ® already posts judging classes to its Facebook page. Perhaps you can share this, and you can reward a local winner with a cap or a tube of Vita Charge® Paste. Or make up your own contest. May is beef month, so host a photography contest where your customers can submit their favorite photo of cattle, and then entries are voted on by others on social media.

Recognize your customers. You just hosted a customer appreciation event. Post photos of those who attended, and especially any big door prize winners.

Educate your customers. Share articles of interest with them from other news sites or groups. Chances are if you post these items of interest, your social page will become a one-stop source for your customers. Adding a quick thought about the information you’re sharing is always a great way to continue the conversation with your followers.

It’s time to get social. Promote your business and reach out to your customers.

Feed the Future is One Way for Dealers to Help Give Back

Two of the most fundamental business investments we can make are in our future and in our people. BioZyme Inc. has committed to investing in both of those areas with the creation of the Feed The Future partnership it formed with the Hereford Youth Foundation of America (HYFA).

“Bob and Lisa both feel it is import to make an impact on the next generation of agriculturalists and that is why this program was created,” said Crystal Blin, Marketing Program Manager.

For every receipt BioZyme receives from select VitaFerm® products, BioZyme will donate $1 to the HYFA, with a goal of making a $100,000 donation in October 2017. American Hereford Association members and commercial producers who use purebred Hereford bulls are encouraged to send in copies of their receipts or invoices, and Blin said they can submit receipts as far back as Sept. 1, 2016.

In addition to the program being a great way to make a difference in the young people involved in agriculture, Feed the Future can serve as a great marketing tool for dealers.

“Because most Hereford breeders are extremely passionate about HYFA and supporting their junior members, dealers can mention the Feed the Future program to breeders and it can be a great way to start a dialogue and potentially gain new business,” Blin said.

As of May 1, Blin has collected copies of receipts from Hereford enthusiasts and dealers, equating to nearly $4,800, noting that several dealers will send in the receipts for their customers.

“I will send in the copies of my customers’ receipts for them so it is not an extra burden, yet they feel like they are giving back and helping the youth,” said Sue Kline from The Feed Bunk in LeRoy, Ill.

Kline adds that she typically sells a lot of VitaFerm, but that she has promoted Feed The Future in her store and on social media, and encourages other dealers to do the same to promote the program. All people want to support youth in agriculture; it makes them feel good she said, and so letting them know that their purchase of particular products might help the youth will help spur sales.

Blin said there are several ways to market VitaFerm products while promoting the program. She suggests asking the customers who use Hereford genetics if they do use VitaFerm products, and if not, to consider making the switch, knowing a monetary contribution would be made to an organization the producers are passionate about. Next, she said if they are only using Sure Champ® or they don’t use a VitaFerm product year-round, they might be interested in learning more about qualifying products like Concept•Aid®, Heat™, Cattleman’s Blend, 30:13% Protein Tub, Roughage Fortifier® and Sure Start® Pellet.

Overall, Feed The Future is a win-win-win program for the youth, the producer and the dealer. The youth of the Hereford breed are receiving a great donation, the producer is keeping his or her animals healthier and gaining and the dealer is increasing sales and building relationships.

To learn more about this program, visit www.vitaferm.com/feedthefuture.