The dealer of 2030 will be driven by solutions and customer success. This shift will change the focus from equipment-centric to use case-centric. 

It will result in a fabric formed for each farmer that will be made up of software, data, hardware, equipment and people. The people that understand the solutions, customer success and fabric will be the keystone.

Only 15% of salespeople will make the transition. Thousands of new technicians will be needed. Triage specialists will become the front line of support. 

Customer success specialists will work with sales and service, helping understand the farm operation’s goals; train the customer staff and map the solutions to successful outcomes.

Manufacturers will battle to maintain a position as the Apple and Microsoft of the industry. Challenging entrants, however, will work to take that spot with disruptive models.

So, dealers will have to be adaptable, and able to shift to and away from solution components, always keeping an eye on the success of their customers.

This change will require learning how to “unlearn” and how to integrate solutions, while understanding and staying in sync with the dominant players. As farm operations scale, these large organizations will also want partners with the scale to serve them. This may lead to national accounts, consolidation and products that do not have territories.

Most important, the precision group will become the entire dealership. A goal will be for customers to be trained on how to operate digitally; it will be assumed that internal staff does so.

A new department, legacy equipment, will form as customers and staff do not want to jump onto that smart equipment bandwagon.

Owners who succeed will understand the investment, cashflow and returns on solutions and success.

Some dealerships will have developers and data analysts on staff; others will outsource that under their brand.

One factor that will help dealers ... there will be less social and societal pushback on automation and robotics because even though people claim this industry is slow to change, it’s been consistently automating since tractors were invented.

Access to capital, a pipeline of talent and good use of both will separate the winners.

And a big challenge — successfully navigating the bridge to 2030 and smart solutions from today will determine who crashes into the wall and who finishes the race. A potential organizational chart in 2030 will also have operations specialists, sales ops, data ops, support ops, etc.

What’s going to matter as things are more technical and system oriented vs. equipment oriented is that you have a team who can sell and service the large farm operation. Where it changes relative to today is with technical specialists, triage support and customer success.  

You have one person in say Iowa that really understands how to integrate the tractor to a specific system. If you’re on a deal in Indiana, you may need him on that deal.  

You have another person that really understands cotton farming solutions. You’ll want them on all of the cotton farming accounts and opportunities.  

It may not be economically viable to have a full team in every location and you have the question of reporting structure. The technical people may bridge sales and service — where do they report?

So one option is to build pods, with a pod leader, then have the pod leaders report to a single executive that’s focused on accounts, solutions and geographies.

But you still need to be able to have the specialists work with their position coaches — sales, service techs, parts, technical specialists, etc. 

A key change will be the addition of the customer success specialist. This will be like a service advisor, only instead of focusing on PMs and dispatching service, they will be focused on understanding the customer’s goals, communicating those goals to the dealership team (pod), suggesting ways to help meet those goals then making introductions to others in the dealership, and providing data to show how the dealership is helping the customers achieve their goals.

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