High-Tech Farm Equipment is Sales Challenge

Farmer Iron

Often talk about new tools for the farm, but how will farmers understand this new tech? Dealers have to fill the challenge.

Published on: June 27, 2012

Farmers have been facing more than their fair share of changes in the past decade from new-tech crops to equipment that's increasingly more complex. We do our best to help you understand the changes ahead from telematics to new techniques like vertical tillage, but at the end of the day when you want to crack your wallet for something new the dealer has to fill that role.

Not everything has a high-tech story to tell, but often a product has unique features that need demonstrating. Recently I spent some time with Rob Zemenchik, who heads of marketing for tillage products at Case IH. He and I had talked at the National Farm Machinery Show in February about an interesting tool the company came up with to demonstrate just exactly what the Turbo 330 vertical tillage tool was doing in the field - using yellow shot pellets they picked up at a big-box retailer.

The key is showing farmers what's going on in an indoor environment, and also demonstrating processes that aren't easily seen in the field. The display uses an auger to feed the pellets back to the system as the blades spin showing the soil-mixing process that goes on. It's a complex process and the demo setup helps farmers make sense of what's going on.

But as Rob talked he brought up the fact that the company is moving to the use of iPads in the field so reps and eventually dealers can have key product information - always updated - available. That includes video of the machine at work, key features and other tools a dealer can use.

Key features of this tech:

1 - easy to carry and fill with all the information a dealer or rep would need - Case IH for example has loaded 10 gigabytes of information, videos and pictures to help tell the product story.

2 - updates are simple reducing problems with different product information versions floating around in brochures that may have become dated. In the Case IH example, they can update the iPads automatically.

3 - improves the likelihood that the rep or dealer will have the information you need when you  need it rather than the old saw "I'll have to mail that to you" or "I'll call you with that information when I get back to my office."

Now Case IH isn't the only company heading this way, seed companies are as well. The wider availability of Web access for easy updates (but they don't make the mistake of having to access the Web live when showing you a video - it is loaded on the tablet) makes this type of information deployment easier.

And there's a money savings even with $500 iPads in place of literature. Companies spend a lot of money printing brochures and information in stacks of three-ring binders that dealers have to keep up to date. This solves that problem pretty quickly.

I did a Farming 2020 package on what Case IH is up to that ran recently on This Week in Agribusiness. You can watch that video by clicking here.

Big changes are ahead, you need all the help you can get but your dealer has to be ready with the right information too - and these kinds of tools will help.