- July 26, 2022
Digital Enablement: From Challenge to Opportunity
Leading ag retailers empower teams, enhance experiences, and exceed expectations with digital enablement solutionsThis article was originally featured in The Scoop as part of a series: Digital Enablement.
The world is dramatically different than it was two years ago. Changes happen faster, and challenges are bigger and more complex. Ag retailers know this all too well.
They understand what’s at stake–that maintaining the status quo won’t help their businesses win in this market. As manufacturers and growers continue to get bigger and more sophisticated, retailers have to identify the right approach for their business so they can serve their customers, remain competitive, and stay profitable well into the future.
Facing challenges and tackling change
The challenges are big and change is hard. For ag retailers considering new business solutions, there are three systemic obstacles to keep in mind.
- Digitally enabled customers. Growers have a wealth of information at their fingertips and are relying less on their retailer’s domain expertise. They also know what a good digital experience is and increasingly expect one from their vendors.
- Inefficient tools and disconnected systems. Having the most up-to-date information is crucial to making the right decisions and providing a customer-centric experience, but most retail systems are disconnected, which makes it difficult to find information when and where it’s needed.
- Limited access to qualified resources. Sellers and administration teams are spread thin, and labor is scarce. This makes it even more difficult to implement new solutions and deliver on increasing customer expectations.
So, what can retailers do? How can businesses keep up with the rate of change, while tackling challenges along the way?
Technology alone is not the solution. In-person experiences are too valuable in this industry. Leading retailers, however, realize it isn’t an either-or scenario. They recognize that the right technology doesn’t replace their teams, it enhances them. And, they are investing in digital enablement solutions to lead them into the future.
Enabling change with a new digital approach
A digital enablement solution connects people, processes, and technology. It links the everyday systems that retailers use to centralize information, and it gives sellers an easier way to engage with internal teams and customers. There are three core components: white-labeled enablement platforms, a third-party ecosystem network, and expert support teams.
The digital enablement platform connects a retailer’s existing systems and makes them accessible through one access point. Growers can interact with their accounts, and sales teams get a holistic view of their customer. They can see key account information and have the ability to communicate with and market to customers–all through the same platform.
The third-party ecosystem network includes technology providers up and down the value chain. From ERPs to financial systems to agronomic tools, the suite of API integrations eliminates the need to log in to multiple systems and instead provides a single point of entry.
But it goes beyond technology. These solutions come with strong support teams that act as an extension of a retailer’s organization. From coaching executives on change management best practices to introducing new digital marketing strategies and more, digital enablement teams partner with retailers to help them maximize the value of their digital approach.
“People as a whole increasingly want optionality and it’s no different in agriculture. Whether you’re a grower or a sales person, most people want more convenient, efficient ways to engage so they can get a little time back to live their lives. A digital enablement platform gives that to them.”– Shane Thomas, Upstream Ag Ventures
Turning challenges into opportunities
Retailers are transforming their go-to-market strategies with digital enablement solutions. They aren’t replacing the technology systems they already have, they’re gaining a solution that makes their systems more useful by giving teams the tools they need to be as digitally empowered as their customers.
Digitally enabled retailers create stronger and more strategic partnerships with customers. They empower their teams, enhance customer relationships, and exceed expectations. They take today’s challenges and turn them into opportunities.
- Digitally enabled advisers and the new buyer. Buyers are more informed, but so are sales teams when they have a real-time view of product, inventory, purchase history, and account information at their fingertips. Instead of worrying about the commoditization of retail services, sellers can provide more information and insights to their customers with two clicks on any mobile device.
- Informed decisions and the bigger picture. Digital enablement solutions strengthen retailers’ customer relationships. Whether it’s understanding current fertilizer inventory levels or being able to engage a grower that is ready to lock in their plans for the year, sellers can provide customer-centric recommendations, smarter procurement options, and personalized planning support.
- Partner-enhanced teams. Working with a strong support team mitigates the traditional burden of implementing a new system. Support teams provide valuable training that accelerates user adoption and helps sellers see the benefits that enablement solutions provide without sacrificing the customer relationships they’ve built. From best-practice recommendations to digital marketing strategies, digital enablement providers help retail teams work smarter.
Creating a dynamic business that’s ready for anything
The rate of change isn’t slowing down, the competition isn’t letting up, and market conditions will continue to ebb and flow. Leading ag retailers just get it. They understand that digital solutions strengthen their business, their teams, and their customer relationships.
And, they understand that it’s not just about going digital, it’s about having the right solutions, the right processes, and the right team to take today’s major challenges and turn them into major opportunities.