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Best of NAMA 2023

John Deere’s Matt Olson, Case IH’s Kendal Quandahl and AGCO’s Seth Crawford join Farm Equipment Executive Editor Kim Schmidt on stage for the first ever OEM panel discussion at the Precision Farming Dealer Summit in St. Louis, Mo. Image Michaela Paukner

Farm Equipment magazine reports:

AGCO, Case IH and John Deere leaders jumped at the chance to address elite precision dealers during the first ever OEM panel discussion at the Precision Farming Dealer Summit in St. Louis, Mo.

Seth Crawford, AGCO senior vice president and general manager, precision ag and digital, Kendal Quandahl, Case IH precision technology marketing manager for North America, and Matt Olson, manager of precision ag go-to-market for John Deere, fielded questions about their strategic direction for business, new technologies and outlook on autonomy. Here are some highlights from the discussion.

Q: Let's talk about what makes the stars stand out. What do your top performing precision ag dealers do differently from the average ones in your network?

Olson: We're really working together with our dealer partners to make sure that everyone within their dealership can tell the story of precision ag and play their role in supporting precision ag for the customer. When we look at the number of customers we're impacting, the integrated solutions department can no longer be successful at the scale we're at. I think scalability is key.

The second piece is we really need to make sure that we've got a consultative relationship with the customer so that we're understanding their needs, goals and challenges. Those are the two hot buttons for me relative to how you differentiate yourself from the herd.

Quandahl: One thing that really separates certain dealers from others is their level of understanding that precision is no longer a standalone business -- they've incorporated it into every aspect of the dealership. If we continue to have only 1 precision specialist per 3 or 4 stores, we don't retain them very long.

Another philosophy embraced by dealerships that are excelling is "get comfortable being uncomfortable." It's those who have taken the opportunity to say, "We're going to build a video series for our customers." Nobody wants to be on camera, but people who take the time to say, "I've found this issue and I don't have a resource for my customers, so I'm going to make it," are the ones who stand out.

Crawford: They do a lot in the offseason. They don't wait for the heat of the planting season or harvesting. Our successful dealers are doing the offseason clinics and taking time to help farmers get set up for a flawless planting season.

Successful dealers also find good ways to charge for the product. If you're not out there pitching the details about what you're going to do to help them be successful with their precision farming endeavors, then you're missing a golden opportunity. Make sure you're getting the money up front, and then follow through and deliver that service to earn the return business from the farmer.

Q: What does the new executive management at your company see that is different about precision ag today than 3 years ago?

Crawford: Buying Precision Planting in 2017 was a major shift as we truly understood what was possible with the retrofit business. Now, with our CEO Eric Hansotia leading the way, we've made precision agriculture the core of our business. We lead with precision ag, and the equipment business follows.

Quandahl: All farming is precision farming. That is the philosophy being carried all the way down through our organization -- if we are going to be a tech-first company, we need to make sure that we invest in technology.

Olson: We've been in precision ag for a long time, so we know the importance of it to our customers. I think we are now reaping the benefits of not only the history that we have, but our ability to stay on top when it comes to being able to make sure that precision ag is our focus and that we're doing the best for our customers and dealers.

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