To be a successful salesperson in any field requires persistence, people skills and a thorough knowledge of your clients' needs and your company's products. This is no different for agricultural sales people. These sales associates usually work for manufacturers and wholesalers establishing business contacts and selling their goods.
Employees in agricultural sales work on behalf of wholesalers and manufacturers to sell agricultural products to interested customers. Though there aren't always specific educational requirements for the job, a bachelor's degree in agronomy might prove useful, as can marketing and communications classes.
|Required Education||Variable; some employers might require a bachelor's degree in agronomy|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||7% (for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives)*|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)||$76,190 (for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for Agricultural Sales Agents
Typically, there are no set educational requirements for sales agents jobs. However, employers in a scientific field like agriculture might require their salespeople to have earned a bachelor's degree. A December 2010 survey of open job postings in agricultural sales on Monster.com indicated that several employers looked for sales agents with a degree in agronomy, business or agriculture. Agronomy deals with the science behind crop production. Many colleges offer bachelor's degree programs in the field, which aim to educate students on efficient, sustainable methods of food production.
Agricultural salespeople should have strong business skills and the ability to communicate effectively with their customers. In this technical and scientific industry, sales agents must have expert knowledge of the products they sell. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that salespeople can attend trade shows, conferences and seminars to improve product knowledge as well as their business tactics (www.bls.gov). They can also take courses in marketing, communication or economics in college.
Career Information for Agricultural Sales Agents
Agricultural sales agents typically work for a wholesaler or manufacturer. Their job is to contact customers like retailers, growers and distributors and attempt to sell them a product that appeals to their needs or wants. Sales agents often set their own schedules and work from their home or on the road and might only occasionally report back to a main office. From time to time, they might be required to demonstrate a product's use or train others to operate it as well.
Sales agents are also active record-keepers. For instance, they have to schedule appointments and file expense reports with their employers. They also have to keep track of sales statistics and analyze their performance to improve their results. In addition, they watch competitors' products, prices and sales.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS predicted employment for manufacturing and wholesale sales representatives would increase by 7% from 2014 until 2024. Their median salary was $76,190 as of May 2015, the BLS found.
A bachelor's degree in agronomy and strong people and communication skills are a good start for anyone wishing to enter into agricultural sales. Agricultural sales people can gain experience and knowledge about their industry from trade shows and conferences. They travel often and may work from their home or from an office.