Benefits of Pivotal CRM to Syngenta
• Actual customer intelligence enabling highly targeted promotions - realizing a four times return on campaign investment
• Analytical breakdown of purchasing profiles and trend mapping has opened up revenue and co-operative marketing opportunities with sales channel. Microsoft Outlook and Blackberry assimilation has increased efficiencies and streamlined customer management, profiling and communications
• 360 view of promotion reactions against demand vs. supply fluctuations visualizes campaign effectiveness
• Underpins all that ensures a happy, well supported and increasingly loyal customer base
Fully Supported Customer Relationship Management
Syngenta is committed to supporting sustainable agriculture through innovative research and technology. It provides the crucial link between crop success and failure for farmers and plant growers. It is vital that Syngenta understands the needs of each customer, both the business and the environmental factors that impact crop success.
End-user intelligence holds the key to Syngenta’s success. The only way to get this is to understand, firstly who the end customers are and then, establish their growing profiles and methods of plant husbandry and crop protection. With this intelligence it is then possible to market effectively to them, targeting them with promotions or advice on how to combine products for better results, for example.
This was a challenge in itself.
Prior to Pivotal CRM, the Syngenta field sales teams used a disparate mix of pen and paper; spread sheet and basic database customer records. There was little process cohesion and records had to be shared manually and updated individually, all time consuming processes and leaving very little scope for customer analytics.
In 1999, this changed with the initial Pivotal installation. A significant upgrade in 2004 completely revolutionized the way that Syngenta interfaced with its customers and there was an immediate parallel increase in revenue versus increased customer satisfaction.
Syngenta needed a CRM tool that could support its end-to-end sale process; a platform that could combine traditional customer contact tools with an extremely sophisticated, data-heavy customer rewards programme, potentially holding the details of the UK’s 24,000 potential farmer and grower records, plus those of industry advisory and influencer groups.
The storage requirement, and that of the analytics, meant realistically only a bespoke CRM platform could support Syngenta’s business needs, but a bespoke solution was beyond its budget bounds. Pivotal CRM bridged both by combining the price point of an off the- shelf solution with the ability for the CRM team to easily customize fields to ensure absolute compatibility with the businesses requirements, not only now, but into the future.
“Pivotal CRM was the only CRM platform able to manage such a complex customer database. No other product had the flexibility in terms of existing features and customization,” explained Simon Laidler, CRM lead at Syngenta.
To fulfill the need for customer intelligence, to identify areas for product development, improvement and to consistently provide the level of service needed by its customers, Syngenta set-up its customer rewards programme, creating a feedback capture and management process tool.
With the tool in place, Syngenta set about a major marketing programme to identify who the users of its unbulked product were. Loaded with the 24,000 farmer’ records, the marketing team used Pivotal CRM to identify customer types, which in turn were sent targeted mailings inviting them to register with the Syngenta customer loyalty programme. Very much a pioneer in customer information in return for a reward, Syngenta found itself party to bespoke market intelligence that money could not buy
Once a year these farmers and growers are now asked to submit details of their product usage for that year. This qualifies them for a credit payment based on variables including purchase volumes and product types, which can be exchanged for goods from a catalogue of business related products, for example, IT hardware, weather stations, or protective clothing.
Pivotal CRM not only issues the loyalty statements to customers, it is used to collate and analyses the entries, creating management reports for use by the marketing and sales teams that provide a picture of trends including the impact that environmental changes are having on growing processes, future customer needs and the current provision against customer demand.
“The information we get from farmers is gold dust. Once we’ve engaged with a farmer we start to understand about his growing processes, the varieties he grows and his opinions on protection methods. Farmers have an emotional attachment to their crops. Like a child, they want to protect them, give them the best food and the most effective medicines to ensure that they thrive,” explained Simon Laidler.
From this data, highly targeted marketing campaigns can be developed, with the correct messaging for the audience, right down to simple word changes that reflect customer differences such as breed of crop grown, type of soil, preferred crop protection methods or region of country, for example.
This intelligence also tiers customers in terms of revenue value to Syngenta. Of the 24,000 customers entered on its Pivotal database, just 2,500 of these account for a massive 75% of potential income for Syngenta and its competitors, which include Bayer and BASF.
Talking the Talk
With this combined knowledge, Syngenta can talk informatively to each customer; package promotions that resonate, a seed plus crop protection deal perhaps or bulk purchase discounts; real deals that speak value or opportunity to the customer, whilst increasing revenues for Syngenta.
In August 2011, the Pivotal 6 upgrade brought integration with MS Outlook. The result is a ‘link’ button from the customer record straight to MS Outlook. The sales team can work from the customer record or Outlook to create activities, for example, emails, notes or tasks, as well as sales calls, customer responses and literature fulfillment. The operational benefits have been immediate. Sales cohesion with marketing programmes and response to customer reaction has never been better.
Field Sales Team Reaps Benefits
The field sales team has probably benefited the most from the integration with MS Outlook. All 34 field sales people now have access to exactly the same information. Their territories are arranged equally, based on farm numbers and value but it is possible that more than one account manager will be looking after the same customer, if it is a multi-site farming or growing business, for example. Account administration has been simplified and the one time necessary duplication of entries in multiple places removed. Records and entries can be linked and hyper-linked for further simplification. The margins for errors have all but been eliminated.
Getting Smart with Blackberry
The sales team is also benefiting from the initial integration of Pivotal CRM with Blackberry. At present it is restricted to customer contacts, but greater assimilation is planned and in the next 12 months account managers will be able to view customer contact forms, add notes and communicate directly with customers via their Blackberries.
According to one of the field sales managers; “Pivotal CRM’s integration with Blackberry is a phenomenal sales tool. I have the contact details of the entire UK farming community in my Blackberry.”
All marketing campaigns are now managed from Pivotal CRM. New campaigns are distributed to the sales teams via the platform; customer personalization managed; response rates to promotions analyzed and supply versus demand monitored. “We recognize the strategic business benefits of gathering and understanding customer usage.
Using the data captured by Pivotal CRM, Syngenta can adapt and change to ensure it is consistently delivering the best sales and market support to its direct and in-direct customers,” explained Simon Laidler.
Simon Laidler has worked at Syngenta for over 30 years. Having worked in field sales before moving to a customer relationship management role, he fully understands the needs of farmers and growers, and the difference that quality seeds and crop protection products can have on the success or failure of a harvest.
No two farmers will experience the same growing season. Therefore, no two farmers will have the same requirements from Syngenta. To this end, Simon can’t stress the importance of communicating with customers on a one-to-one basis.
“Pivotal CRM provides us with the data we need to personalize our customer contact. It has not changed the way that we work; it has made us better and more efficient. Syngenta will always meet its customers face-to-face. There is no replacement for human interaction. In parallel with technical advancement in farm procedures, Pivotal CRM rationalizes processes, germinates opportunities and ensures a far greater yield,” continued Simon Laidler
Under the Bonnet
Pivotal CRM is hosted on a secure server at Syngenta’s head office in Grenoble, France. It is accessed by users via the Syngenta network, or remotely by the sales teams across the UK and
Ireland. Within 12 months it is expected that the sales team will connect increasingly via their Blackberry’s, further reducing the amount of administration required post-customer visit.
Pivotal CRM is also used by Syngenta sales teams in France, Australia, USA, Canada, Mexico and some additional South American countries.
Over the last 12 years, CDC Software, Syngenta UK and the regional Syngenta offices have established an extremely solid and collaborative working relationship.
“To support a system as vital as Pivotal CRM is to Syngenta, it is essential that we have a close relationship with CDC Software. We’re constantly tweaking the software, adding new fields and intensifying the complexity of the platform. We therefore believe it is essential to have it regularly MOTed to ensure it remains as robust as the core technology,” concluded Simon Laidler, CRM lead, Syngenta.
Formal project management methodology was followed throughout the course of the recent upgrade project. The CDC Software project team provided clearly defined process and controls and ensured that adequate quality assurance measures were in place from planning, through the solution and user acceptance testing phases, to the point of go-live and throughout the settling in period. Syngenta continues to be supported by the CDC Software issues management team and on-going CDC Software technical resources