Why a successful onboarding and internal rollout is crucial
When AgVend Partner Retailers look to us for a digital engagement platform, they often do so with their customers in mind. “How do we create and launch something that will be used by our growers?”
Rather than starting with the grower, however, we’ve found that the key to customer adoption starts with the retailer’s team. If they are on board with the new technology and advocating for it, then customers will follow. We surveyed a group of growers from our partners and found that over 50% were introduced to the portal by their agronomist.
Start with your people
An understanding of what makes your company unique ensures the digital platform will fit how your team works. We learn how you go to market, how you work with growers, and what attributes reflect your customers (for example, size, crops and geography).
We work alongside your organization to gather this information and make decisions. Getting the full team involved helps secure employee buy-in, which ultimately aids internal adoption.
To kick things off, we recommend:
- Identify a point person. This individual is the internal champion for the project and the main point of contact with AgVend.
- Pull in people as needed. Not everyone is involved with every component or every stage, so we respect their time. Typically, the process requires a commitment of a few hours a week for various stakeholders.
- Make AgVend part of your team. We’re here to help! We facilitate and lend our expertise to make the process as simple as possible every step of the way.
As we engage stakeholders, we work with you to identify what your company hopes to achieve with the platform. Improved efficiency is often near the top of the list, but we want to go deeper than that. Maybe it’s growing the number of producers using your agronomic services, reducing the cost of back office administration costs, or increasing wallet share.
Whatever your objectives, we’ll pinpoint what rises to the top for your team to help set goals as the platform rolls out.
Structure the technology for your company’s needs
As we put the pieces in place for your digital engagement platform, we’ll focus on three points to ensure a best fit for your company.
- Alignment with your sales process. Nothing slows customer adoption more than a reluctant sales team, so this piece is imperative. Once they see and understand the efficiency improvements, they are likely to fully embrace the new system. After all, less paperwork benefits both the sales team and their customers.
- Centralized digital tools. We work across departments to consolidate and integrate existing technology under a single platform. Consider agronomic tools, financing providers, offer-management systems for grain, and more brought together in a centralized location with a seamless experience.
- Look and feel of your brand. The digital platform is essentially another storefront, and it should reflect your brand in tone and message.
Implement the technology, optimize for internal adoption
Once the platform has been built, roll it out to internal audiences first based on goals identified earlier.
There are three key steps to achieve internal adoption:
Put your team first. We’ve seen companies make announcements to customers before they’ve told their staff. This is an approach we do not recommend (we’ve seen the challenges this provides first hand). The digital platform is meant to be an enhancement of your team, so talk about the benefits of this new tool and how it will help them better serve their customers.
Clearly articulate how this new platform supports the company vision. It benefits the team and the customer, allowing you to better compete for the producer of tomorrow.
Finally, outline the rollout, including expected timelines and objectives. Address concerns immediately, while encouraging questions and providing straight answers.
Create goals that make the digital platform part of your day-to-day sales process to start building the experience and getting the team comfortable.
As the platform is incorporated, it begins to create efficiencies and make lives easier. Share these real scenarios to make them top-of-mind.
- Save time
- Reduce paperwork
- Access information easily
- Cut down back and forth within the company and with the customer
Set milestones to keep people motivated. For example, establish a date to complete a first quote and order, get a contract signature or share a plan. Create additional milestones further out on the calendar and encourage friendly competition to reach goals.
Reps are understandably protective of their customers, and they will be hesitant to tout something new if they’re not sure of the benefit. For example, say a new active ingredient comes on the market for weed control. Most sales people won’t immediately promote it; instead, they will wait and see how well it works before they actively offer it to growers. The same holds true with a digital engagement platform.
Training helps ease hesitation, as the team gets to know how the technology works. Ultimately, training builds confidence and makes sales groups comfortable talking to growers about the technology.
Some of your staff are natural techies. Very often, they will be excited for the new digital platform and become dedicated users. We recommend these individuals be designated as “Digital Business Leads” -- in-house experts who are a resource for the team. We’ve found the biggest impact comes from Digital Business Leads conducting one-on-one training with every employee.
Finally, education should be ongoing and timely. Hold training sessions throughout the year, focusing on how the team can use the platform in the coming weeks and months.
We’re here to help you succeed
AgVend is only successful when our Partner Retailers succeed. It’s very much like your relationship with growers.
We’re here, every step of the way, to work with you through onboarding and internal roll out. Utilize our experience to avoid pitfalls, simplify the adoption process (for your team and customers), and make life easier for everyone involved.
Once you have a successful rollout internally, we will provide insights to get the most successful grower adoption. Stay tuned for our next blog post on that topic!
AgVend is the leading provider of digital tools to serve the producer of tomorrow. We provide the
agricultural distribution channel with white-labeled information, engagement, and commerce
portals. Our suite of products is designed to strengthen the relationship between manufacturers,
retailers, and growers. The AgVend team has experience in agriculture, digital marketing, and
enterprise software for the Fortune 500. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, AgVend
operates a distributed team model with local coverage in all major US and Canadian ag regions.