Partner Success Story: Valley Ag increases customer loyalty by partnering with AgVend



Precision ag manager: “As AgVend came out and visited with us about what they had to offer, we immediately recognized an opportunity in front of us to attempt to use a digital platform to create customer loyalty.”



Rooted in the agriculturally diverse Pacific Northwest, Valley Ag is a co-op with 35 locations across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. Serving roughly 5,000 customers across that area, Valley Ag supplies farmers with crop protection, crop nutrition, and agronomy services.

One of AgVend’s early partners, Valley Ag has been leveraging the white-labeled digital enablement platform to increase customer loyalty, elevate employee satisfaction by simplifying internal workflows, and streamline key processes like invoice payment and statement distribution.

Below is the transcript from an interview with Valley Ag’s precision ag manager, Connor Lankford. It has been edited for readability.



How has AgVend’s digital enablement platform impacted and enhanced your teams’ customer relationships?


Very early on in my career here at Valley Agronomics (I’ve been here just over six years), we saw the need for a digital enablement platform to be able to connect with our customers. Customer loyalty was the first directive that I was given when I came to Valley Ag. I was tasked with building a precision program that helped our customers be more loyal to us and provided some benefits to them, creating some stickiness between our company and their companies.

So in late 2019 or even 2018, we were looking at platforms to adopt that could help us engage our customers in different ways than we were currently working with them. And as AgVend came out and visited with us about what they had to offer, we immediately recognized an opportunity in front of us to attempt to use a digital platform to create customer loyalty.

As we rolled out that platform with our customers, that’s one of the main benefits we’ve seen. We’ve seen how customers having the ability to get their invoices daily, to see digital statements, to make payments online, to interact with our brand online has created stickiness. We have customers who’ve told us it’d be difficult to go do some business somewhere else because of what you guys bring to the table with the tools that you have.


We have customers who’ve told us it’d be difficult to go do some business somewhere else because of what you guys bring to the table with the tools that you have.

So that’s been a huge benefit. We also feel like we’re getting a deeper understanding of our customers so that translates to a better customer experience for our customers, which then leads to more loyalty and more customer satisfaction with our brand and with our business. The ability that we have to see customer data and proactively use that customer data to help our customers with the outcomes that they’re looking for in their businesses we think is a huge benefit.


The ability that we have to see customer data and proactively use that customer data to help our customers with the outcomes that they’re looking for in their businesses we think is a huge benefit.


Ag is such a relationship focused business. With so much importance riding on good customer relationships, how did Valley Ag’s implementation of a digital enablement platform impact how your sellers viewed a digital tool?


As we rolled out the AgVend Grower Portal, we talked a lot about the grower aspect of it and what the benefits would be to customers. We talked a little bit about the benefits we thought that would bring to our business as well, but as we’ve evolved and as we’ve worked with AgVend over the years, we’ve come to realize that there’s a huge opportunity to utilize our internal team to drive an excellent customer experience.

As AgVend’s worked to build tools into the Sales Hub and Grower Portal that help our internal team do what they do every day, we’ve tried to adopt those tools and find ways to utilize those to not only better our customer’s lives, but actually really make our internal team’s life better and easier. And what we’ve come to realize is that really, if you think about digital engagement and interacting with your customers on a digital buying process, the reverse side of that coin is a digital selling process.

So our team has come to realize that it’s not about replacing them or it’s not something that’s going to lessen their impact or their importance with the grower, but it’s actually something that they can utilize to help tie themselves more tightly with that grower, understand that growers business better, provide a better outcome, and as a result of that, our team’s initial hesitancy has gone away to where now we see they’re excited about new functionalities and features in the portal.


Our team has come to realize that it’s not about replacing them or it’s not something that’s going to lessen their impact or their importance with the grower, but it’s actually something that they can utilize to help tie themselves more tightly with that grower, understand that growers business better, provide a better outcome, and as a result of that, our team’s initial hesitancy has gone away to where now we see they’re excited about new functionalities and features in the portal.

They don’t worry about what that’s going to mean for their relationship with the customer. They’re excited about the opportunities that [the portal] is creating for them.



What has been the biggest benefit from implementing AgVend’s digital enablement platform – is that benefit different than it was in the beginning? Or has it been consistent throughout?


For our sales teams, I would say the biggest benefit when we first started out was just having instant insight into some of the information that our customers were looking for. Invoices and statements were one of the first things that our team had access to. And that wasn’t something that they’d previously had access to.

It would have been a challenge for them to go into a legacy system and access that information. Now our teams have access to purchase history that summarizes [that information] for them. They have access to business intelligence reports that they’re able to utilize to make sure that they’re utilizing all of the customers’ prepay, for example, all the way to advanced filters and some of the CRM functionality that they can utilize to go in and quickly find a list of customers that have purchased the product from them in the past or haven’t purchased the product in the past.

On that note, I had one of our sellers recently say to me, “I don’t always remember who I sold things to a year ago.” And so to have this ability to go in and just quickly see, here’s the guys that bought this product from me, now I can make sure I follow up with them and have a conversation this year. It’s really making their job easier, which we hope makes Valley Ag a place where they want to stay working. We want to be able to attract new customers or new employees to come work for us because we have these tools that help them do their jobs effectively.


It’s really making their job easier, which we hope makes Valley Ag a place where they want to stay working. We want to be able to attract new customers or new employees to come work for us because we have these tools that help them do their jobs effectively.


What was one of the most surprising things about implementing the platform to your team or to your customers?


So I think one of the most surprising things to us was right out of the gate. We launched the grower portal in April of 2020, and by June or July of 2020, we were seeing customers paying invoices digitally. And what really surprised us was how quickly we were getting the money or these invoices paid.


What really surprised us was how quickly we were getting the money or these invoices paid.

If you think about the legacy way we were doing it, we’d send paper invoices out. The statements went out once a month at the beginning of the month that encapsulated the entire (previous) month’s purchases. And then growers had 15 to 30 days to pay on that and usually they would take some time to review those invoices and then pay the bill.

When we made the switch to digital invoices and digital statements, growers are [now] reviewing those invoices daily. And then when the statement came, it was just a matter of paying it. They didn’t have any questions. They already knew what was on it.

The other thing that we found really exciting was that if we had a billing error, (which is like a customer’s worst nightmare, something that they hate more than anything) they would call us the same day and say, “Hey, this doesn’t look right. It seems like there’s something wrong here. This isn’t what I talked about with my crop advisor.” We were able to get that reversed and fixed the same day, [ensuring] those invoices were getting paid right away.

That was something that we weren’t expecting, but we were really, really pleased to see.



If you had to tell somebody who is exploring a digital enablement platform, whether they want to go build it themselves or partner with somebody – what makes AgVend unique? Why should somebody consider partnering with AgVend?


As I think about why somebody should partner with AgVend, when there’s a lot of options out there in the marketplace today, or maybe not so many options, but a lot of theories on how to go about that – some folks are looking at building their own or others are looking at partnering with competitive systems. But I think the one thing that makes AgVend different is how they listen to their customers and then take that feedback in and figure out how to make that part of the platform and then execute on it.

And they do that really quickly. There’s not a lot of, “Well, we think that’s great feedback. We’ll put that into the timeline for two years from now or maybe never.” That component really sets AgVend apart from others in the marketplace. And I would say because of that, because of their willingness to listen to their customers, they have a better understanding of the needs of an agronomy retailer like Valley Ag than than any other company out there.


Because of their willingness to listen to their customers, they have a better understanding of the needs of an agronomy retailer like Valley Ag than than any other company out there.

By working with a company that does that, we feel like we’re getting the things that we need, the problems that we have solved and executed on. And we don’t have to wait forever for that to happen. That’s a huge benefit to us.


Recent Articles

Morgan Hass
AgVend Introduces Point-of-Action Financing in Its Digital Enablement Platform

Ag Retailers Can Now Deliver Embedded Digital Finance Experiences within Their AgVend-Built Grower Portals   November 30, 2022; Austin, Texas – AgVend, the leading digital…

Morgan Hass
AgVend Builds Out Powerhouse Leadership Team, Adding Shane Thomas as VP of Strategy

Leading Digital Enablement Provider for Agribusinesses Enlists Best-in-Class Leadership to Drive towards a Digitally Connected Future AUSTIN, TX — November 8, 2022– AgVend, agriculture’s leading…

Morgan Hass
Partner Success Story: River Valley Co-op partners with AgVend to deliver “whole acre” service to customers

VP of Sales & Marketing: “It’s just been tremendous, just the evolution of our business and how that’s just really the foundation of our success…