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Getting Started

But one of the ongoing challenges for dealers looking to turn data man- agement from a complementary piece to a profi t center, is where to start. Green Field’s approach is to let cus- tomers initially decide — at a reason- able cost — how invested they want to be in managing their data. The dealership offers software train- ing clinics, where for $150, customers can spend a day learning about how to best collect data and what they can do with it. About 30 growers attended a clinic last winter held at the dealership. The clinics are designed to be edu- cational, but have also resulted in cus- tomers taking advantage of the dealer- ship’s data management services. “If you come right out and drop a $65-70 an hour fee on guys who have never been in front of a computer, you are going to scare them away and they aren’t going to want to pay for it,” Liskai says. “But bringing them in to a one-on-one training course or with a group is how we generate revenue from the software side of the business and data management.”

Green Field uses three different types of data analysis software — SMS Basic and Advanced, Farm Works and

Green Field Ag offers software training sessions at its dealership in Gibsonburg, Ohio. For $150, customers get an introduction to data management that opens the door for the dealership to provide additional services or equipment to customers.

Ag Connections Land DB — to pro- cess precision data for customers. While Liskai is not an agronomist,

Dealer Takeaways • Be fl exible with data

management services and tailor packages to meet individual customer needs.

• Keep the price structure simple. A complicated and overly expensive fee schedule will confuse and scare away customers.

• Take a collaborative approach with local agronomy consultants and input dealers. This builds confi dence with customers.

Widmer has four on staff who work with him to help growers organize and make sense of their data. “A lot of it is pure management of the data, so our customers don’t have a mess in front of them,” Liskai says. “We’ll charge per hour and help guys map AB lines during the winter or clean up their monitor and then present them with a report.”

Customers then decide if they want

to take the next step and have Wid- mer’s agronomists work with them on planting prescriptions.

Liskai says there is no obligation or pressure for farmers who attend the training sessions to invest in Green Field’s data management services. The majority of his precision customers don’t work with Widmer’s agrono- mists, he says.

But the data management clinics have led to future precision sales and opened the door for long-term business relationships with customers. “Customers feel like they are get- ting what they pay for with those clin-


ics,” Liskai says. “We try not to over- whelm them at the start, and if they end up paying the $65-70 hourly fee for our software management or buy another piece of equipment, then we know it’s worth it.”

Bundling Up The ability to show customers the initial value that precision data holds, while not overloading them with in- formation or cost, can give dealerships fl exibility with how they package data management services. The goal is to have agronomic ser-

vice offerings and precision equipment sales feed off one another, says Adam Gittins, general manager at HTS Ag in Harlan, Iowa.

For the last six years, HTS Ag — a precision equipment dealership — has incorporated tiered data management service packages with sales of new pre- cision equipment. “It’s something we’ve helped pio-

neer and it defi nitely works when you can start tying services together because customers see a package of things and we can cater to what will work best for them,” he says. “If you


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