How should I approach agronomists as business multipliers?
My new business venture provides on-farm data services to all kinds of farmers. I know farmers are hard to find and approach, so I want to cultivate relationships with the agronomists who already provide them with on-farm analysis and advice. The farmers who would use my services already engage an agronomist, so it makes sense for me to work with them. How would I engage with agronomists? Am I selling a benefit to them? Or to their clients? Or both?
Since you already kind of know where things are going with them you may want to approach a few first to make them Successful. In doing a Plan of this type, there are 3 parts of the Equation: Relationship Management, Roadmap to Revenue, and Customer Success. As a new provider, you might be better off of offering the service on a Trial Basis only, and then you would use them as an Early Stage Reference. I can elaborate if this makes sense.
Out of an abundance of respect I cannot say to whom you are selling a benefit. But before you go any further, YOU must answer that question yourself. Surely you created your business model with the audience in mind. Who did you intend to serve? I suspect any answer that comes from outside cannot be as valuable as the one you can provide.
What may come as a surprise to many, is farmers are not longer those pictured in the American Gothic print. Rather they are VERY sophisticated technology users who know more about their business than most of us do about ours. AND most farmers are BIG BUSINESS today - conglomerates.
With that said, why not start at the state or county levels, and talk with the departments of agriculture? Or maybe the local colleges. Or got to Duns and get a list of what you need - they are the most accurate and provide all the details.
Tony, You have hit the nail on the head.
Who is my customer.?
Until you know this, you really have no plan.
You may find that you have two customers.
If so you may require two different approaches.
This will depend on how you structure your business.
Keeping in mind that you can only sell something once.
Another question you should be asking yourself is.
Why as a business do I exist?
Some other questions to ask yourself.
Why should they (the customer) buy from you?
What is my sustainable advantage? (something you may have that is above your competitors) It may be technology, expertise in certain markets, It maybe serviceability, contactability. Whatever it is you need to be able to identify it. The use of the good old SWOT analysis may be handy there.
Once you are able to id and work through these aspects you should try to put together a 3-4 minute introduction pitch aired at getting their (your customers) attention and response to agreeing to seeing you.
Tony this may seem hard to do, but when it's finished you will be a lot more focused, you will know who your customers are, and why they should see you are agree to at least try you out.
You are always welcome to contact me if you would like further assistance or clarification.
If I knew more about the data services you provide I might be able to give better advice. I am talking about what kind of data you are providing, i.e. livestock, crops, equipment.
My thoughts are this. Visit some county agricultural extensions in key areas to see if they can provide any advice.
You might be able to hook up with services that are well established such as Brookside Labs and it might be a nice add on to their services. You could also possibly partner with some soil testing services such as Logan labs.
The only other suggestion I have would be to promote it at some of the major farm shows. The National Farm Machinery show in Louisville is the biggest but there is a 5 year waiting list for booths. If the south is a target the Moultrie show is a good one, There is also one that moves between Iowa, Indiana and another state that is big. I forget the name of that one but it might be 3I. Farm Science Review in Ohio is a good one,