A Precision Farming Dealer Staff Report
The roundtable topic of adding agronomic services drew a large crowd. To kick the conversation off, moderator John Marshall, integrated solutions manager for Wade Inc., took a quick poll to get a feel for how many in the room currently offered agronomy services. Of the 30 or so who sat in on this roundtable, roughly 20% had hired an agronomist.
An agronomist can serve as an independent, unbiased consultant for your customers. “Something we discussed was how the agronomist is supporting what you sold. We sold the precision equipment, we sold the variable-rate technology, but nobody was actually putting that to use. The agronomist can offer unbiased opinions and help the customer create solutions to support the products they had already purchased from us,” Marshall said.
While some in the group had added agronomy services simply to “check off a box” and meet a requirement for their major OEM, they were now trying to figure out how to make it a profitable service. The consensus in the group was agronomy ties everything together. “The agronomist is there to make you the authority on everything you sell, giving the total solutions that you can offer to your customer to make yourself a better dealer,” Marshall said.
The group was split on whether it was better to hire an agronomist with years of experience or to hire someone fresh out of school. The argument for the seasoned agronomist is their previous experience will help to garner trust form customers. On the other hand, others argued that hiring someone who is just getting started means they aren’t stuck in their old ways and you can train them as you see fit.
Those in the group who had added an agronomist said it’s important to remember it won’t necessarily be an instant success. Expect it to take at least 2 years to be up to speed and providing the agronomic services you want.
“Even if you go out and bring on somebody with years of experience, you’ve got to still train him on the direction you want to go so it’s not going to be an instant success just by bringing him onboard. You’ve got to give him time,” Marshall says?
Read full coverage of the Precision Farming Dealer Summit presentations, from how to recruit and retain precision employees, to developing a standalone precision business, to managing customers’ data, in the March 2017 issue of Farm Equipment.
Roundtable Discussion Topics
1. Precision Peer Groups: Your External Support Network
2. Tips, Tricks & Tactics for Selling Data Management Service
3. Does My Precision Ag Business Need to Have a CRM?
4. Putting on a Successful Precision Ag Field Day
5. Market Corrections: Lessons Learned During the Downturn
6. UAVs: Ready for Takeoff? Or a Grounded Technology?
7. Aftermarket Opportunities: What am I Missing?
8. Where Can I Find My Next Precision Hire?
9. Bundling Service: What to Include & How to Price
10. Better Advice for Selling RTK Subscriptions
11. Probing the Moisture Sensor & Water Management Market
12. 7 Considerations for Succession Planning for a Precision Farming Business
13. Autonomy in Ag: What Role Will I Play?
14. Bridging the Hardware Gap: Adding Agronomic Services (currently viewing)