Landmark Services Cooperative is a member-owned cooperative business with five divisions: Agronomy, Animal Nutrition, Energy and Retail Services, Grain, and their financial division, Verity Business Solutions. They provide agriculture products, services, and resources to over 15,000 members in communities throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
When we first met Landmark in the fall of 2015, their divisions operated independently from each other when it came to customer data. Tim Dusek, Landmark’s Executive VP of Sales & Marketing, spearheaded this CRM project primarily to improve visibility into customer data and as a result, increase cross divisional sales and gain greater efficiency in their sales efforts.
By implementing Salesforce and increasing their investment in CRM, Landmark looks to revolutionize how their company operates.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Tim a few weeks ago for a Q&A session on the progress of the project as Landmark continues to roll out their new CRM solution.
How have your employees taken to the new CRM system?
Tim: It’s been an evolving work in progress. When we first rolled it out, we gathered a lot of excitement around the new tool. We branded the project with a creative name – “Mark” – and did some internal marketing to spread the word, answer any questions in advance of the deployment, and get our sellers looking forward to the new and improved resource. That being said, there was a bit of resistance from some of the more seasoned sellers. I think they saw this to be more administrative burden with little reward with them. We continue to focus on the “What’s in it for Them” approach. We’re still working to appease this group of individuals, but ultimately, this is going to make our organization stronger and I think they’ll understand that once they get more familiar with the new system.
How will CRM improve your sales’ team effectiveness?
There are a lot of different ways CRM is going to be a tool for our sales team. We’ve built out functionality to access existing customer’s recent activity and basic customer information easily while in the field. All of this data is integrated with our ERP system, too. It’s seamless and efficient in a way that our processes never were before.
How do you plan to use CRM to better compete in your industry?
An edge Landmark already holds over our competitors is our ability to provide services across our different divisions. We have a few competitors who offer agronomy services but not necessarily animal nutrition. CRM allows us to channel this competitive edge to increase visibility across our departments. We ran into a situation recently where a client of the agronomy division wasn’t even aware we had a grain or animal nutrition division. We’d like that to never be the case.
What business problems are you trying to solve with CRM?
For us, it’s really a platform for centralized information. We have a lot of information kept in the brains of our very intelligent employees. We needed a way to spread this knowledge and make it accessible to all. By providing our employees with a single resource to hold information, we eliminate informal communication as a way of “storing data.”
Another key motivator to improve our CRM system was the cross-departmental visibility into accounts. As I mentioned, we never want someone to be missing out on an opportunity just because the client is unaware we have those capabilities here.
Why do you think your industry needs CRM?
I think customer retention is a huge motivator for the agribusiness sector – and most other industries who gain more revenue from existing than new clients – to get CRM. If you’re able to be more strategic in how you market to your current clients, you have a better chance of continuing to do business with them.
I also believe that technology in agribusiness has historically been behind. We need to evolve not only to rapidly grow our business, but to continue to attract the top talent in the industry who have come to expect this level of expertise.
Our thanks to Tim and Landmark for sharing their progress so far on their implementation. We look forward to reporting back on the project post-completion!
Are you looking for some CRM advice? We’re always happy to hop on a call.