5 Steps to Support Agri-business Players

Although you might have already read our Case Studies, we’d like to share our secret recipe for cooking up such success stories! At Farmforce, we have implemented a 5-step methodology that allows us to pursue a continuous innovation loop throughout our customer’s journey along Food’s First Mile.

1- Every Customer Is Unique

In the Food’s First Mile world, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Instead, Farmforce understands that each scenario is nuanced. We raise meaningful questions, engage the right stakeholders and assess relevant food supply chain risks.

Our customers’ onboarding methods and processes yield fruitful partnerships. Being guided by complete visibility, we have interviewed a few of Farmforce’s very own employees to unlock further insights into our process and solutions.

Abi Høier Hoel, from our Sales team, elaborates a bit on how each customer begins their collaboration with Farmforce:

Walk us through the beginning stages of the customer’s journey:

During the initial stages of meeting a prospect, the biggest focus is just to have an open conversation. A key question is understanding why they contacted Farmforce. This helps us understand what they think we can do for them. Every customer is different and depending on the crop, this also opens up a plethora of pain points. Knowing first what the prospect thinks I can do for them helps me ask the right questions to guide us through the process of understanding if and how we can work together.

From there, we can focus on questions based on their crops and how they are currently working with farmers, digging into the specific pain points of their processes and data needs. This conversation can go over many meetings, but these touch points are critical for us to know the prospect’s needs and understand their business inside out. 

How do you move forward with them?

After the initial meetings in which we see if Farmforce can meet the prospect’s needs, we move on to the demo phase, where we visually show what our solution would look like specifically for their business. Again, this can result in multiple demos, but as always, transparency in what we can do for them is how we begin to build trust and help prospects make the best decision for their business.

Why are customers choosing Farmforce?

The reality is that there are other options out there for our customers when it comes to traceability, but we have been told time and again that our attention to detail in the first mile and our ability to meet our customers on the same language level sets us apart. Our robust solutions provide bush-proof and tailored especially for the first mile. These solutions are constantly updated to follow and anticipate the evolutions of the sector.

What are the most common pain points customers hope to address through Farmforce?

There are quite a lot of pain points our customers come to us for help, but it all comes down to traceability of origin and quality. Our customers want to know where their crops have been, where those crops are going, and what quality they are providing to their own customer base. Much of this traceability has traditionally been done on paper, so it is always a great feeling when we help a customer digitise their supply chain and visibly see the frustration fade away. 

What keeps customers from embarking on the Farmforce journey?

Of course, price is always a factor as well as beginning the process and effort of digitising records. Customers are also wary of their own on-the-ground teams’ resistance to new tech as well – we primarily work in emerging markets, so the level of tech know-how and literacy can vary. We have designed a tool, especially taking into account those considerations.

2- Picking the Right Team

We spoke with Stephanie Dizon and Sigrid Blomquist of our Farmforce Implementation Team about the customer engagement processes, from A-Z.

In the analysis of our latest Net Promoter Score, customers are delighted with the responsiveness and professional services done by our Customer Support and Implementation Teams! Our team spans 4 time zones, enabling us to provide round-the-clock troubleshooting and solutions. Our solution has also resulted from many years of iterations based on user stories, resulting in a robust and bush-proof system.

All of our projects start with a Kick-Off meeting between the Farmforce team and the Customer project team. The meeting enables key project stakeholders to align on main objectives, key business challenges to solve, and timeliness of deliverables. From there, we conduct an extensive Business Operational Analysis primarily to interview management and operational staff that will be using the Farmforce IMS solution. The business analysis call is critical to understanding the setup and configurations best suited for their processes, crop, region, and sustainability goals.

Farmforce’s core feature helps those using our solution to manage digital traceability, monitoring, and evaluation activities have helped achieve many of our customers’ goals. In recent years, we have committed more resources to internal programs and upskilling our teams to further support initiatives in West Africa. Most recently, we have partnered with Fairtrade Africa in digitizing Certified Cocoa SPOs and are running Farmforce Academy-our SPO onboarding program-across cocoa regions in Cote d’Ivoire.

3- Building What You Need

As pragmatists, we believe your business processes should drive functional design. We’ll apply a proven first mile data methodology and validate the fit and delivery against your business needs. Below you’ll find a short interview with Saurav Shrivastava, Product Manager at Farmforce, who directly impacts the user-ability along Food’s First Mile.

What are your essential tasks, and where do you see the most impact?

The most critical task at hand is to identify and build relevant functionality and ensure that Farmforce is a partner for the long term by forecasting future challenges. Constantly adapting to changing business needs while having the farmer’s interest at heart is what we strive to achieve.

What do you see as unique about Farmforce’s solutions?

Our biggest strength is enabling digitisation at the grass root level with little to no infrastructure. Our solutions are network-independent and network-agnostic. This means that on-ground teams can work with direct farmers in remote locations and sync their data to our global grid-based solutions later.

What is our most popular product?

IMS is our modular SaaS agritech solution which is tailored to achieve reliable traceability and establish tracking and training mechanisms for field staff through surveys.

Any product developments you’re excited about?

The most exciting development that is being undertaken by us is the Enterprise Deforestation Module. Our new deforestation module enables corporations with robust processes and tooling of mapping polygons, manual checking against Global Forest Watch and additional layers like protected zones, and automated checking lists of polygons against deforestation. This also enables the monitoring teams to set up automated due-diligence reports for bags of produce scheduled to be imported into regulated markets.

What is the future of the Farmforce solution?

We are looking to make Farmforce more modular, making it even easier to integrate any external platforms. We will also make the platform even more flexible and faster to adapt to new improvements.

4- Engagement is Key

Continuing with our Implementation Team:

What do you do daily/weekly/monthly for our current customers?

We seek and connect feedback, and help find solutions and ways to solve customer business needs daily. Our focus is to identify customers’ usage patterns and find optimal solutions to achieve the target metrics for our end users. We define our medium-term charter with our primary customers and split them into monthly and weekly activities. The progress of these is reviewed with clients in development calls and these are fine-tuned and internally reviewed on a weekly basis.

5- In It for the Long Run

We’re not just giving you a powerful tool to streamline your production traceability.  We never flip the switch and walk away. We’ll listen, learn, and build together all the way. Successes or stumbles, it is always as a team. Thanks to our continuous loop of innovation and relentless customer support, you’ll benefit from a competitive advantage.

How do you see our customer loyalty?

One of the main responsibilities of what I do as a Sales Account Manager is to manage customer expectations – this is a key aspect of customer retention. If we are honest and transparent in what we can deliver and work hard to build trust in our relationship with customers, customers stand by us because they know they can rely on our consistency. We have had customers come to us from competitors and one of the things they mention is the promise of solutions that the competitor could never have provided for them. We pride ourselves on providing an honest solution, and I think our customers’ loyalty shows that they appreciate that transparency.

How do you keep in touch, how often, and in what ways?

Some customers prefer more on-hand support whereas some prefer an email check-in once a quarter. As crop seasons can be quite busy, once a quarter is ideal for many of our customers, as it gives them comfort that we are thinking of them without infringing on their precious time.

Don’t Say Goodbye Just Yet

The Farmforce Marketing Team works hard to keep relevant information at the top of their mind for those in the food sector. We believe each customer and supply chain to be unique and strive to tailor Farmforce solutions to our customers’ crops, goals, and capabilities. 

Through the use of newsletters, case studies, and in-depth articles, we aim to communicate our involvement and solutions for Tackling Food’s First Mile, not only to our customers but to anyone involved in the agricultural industry. 

Following Farmforce on social media, signing up for our monthly newsletter, and reaching out to us directly ensures your software solutions, crop production, and sustainability data are on an upward trend.

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