How iPads Are Transforming Customer Service At Dow AgroSciences

Tiffany Galloway, Dow AgroSciences
Tiffany Galloway, Dow AgroSciences

Mobile technology is changing behavior throughout agriculture. That’s why most ag professionals can’t start their day unless they have their smartphone or tablet with them. It’s become part of their DNA.

And this mobile transformation is happening throughout the food supply chain, from production and processing to distribution and consumption. Consider nearly 80% of ag retailers are now using tablets for work and/or plan to use one soon, according to a recent CropLife Media Group survey. Everyone is relying — some might argue too heavily — on this technology for on-the-go information, communication and functionality.

One shining example of this is occurring at Dow AgroSciences (DAS), where mobile technology has changed the way the company’s sales force interacts with customers. I recently caught up with Tiffany Galloway, DAS Implementation Leader — METT, who shared some insight into how the iPad and mobile apps have enhanced customer service with retailers and growers.

Q. Tell me about your role as Implementation Leader – METT.
A. METT stands for Marketing Excellence Through Technology. My role makes up not only the training/implementation of iPad materials to the commercial sales force, but it also acts as the liaison between the different businesses and the App Development Team. As part of this, I serve as the focal point in regards to mobile strategy with our marketers, creative agencies and sales team. I also help collaborate with our channel partners to help educate their sales force on how to best utilize iPads/tablets to support and provide additional value to their respective customers and businesses. Over the past year, we have received hundreds of requests to provide in-person consulting for best practices, using third-party apps and effective selling with the iPad.

Q. When did DAS begin using iPads for their sales team? Were they phased in over time or implemented all at once?
A. The project itself was a vision of our North American Vice President, Stan Howell, and his leadership team. In 2012, we successfully launched more than 700 iPads to our commercial organization over a 6-month period. The launch of the devices, custom apps and training materials were structured around our national sales meetings, and was very well received. We were the first business within DAS to release a tablet technology platform and have since paved the way in mobile optimization for other groups within our parent company, Dow Chemical.

Q. What can you tell us about the strategy behind making mobile a priority for the sales team?
A. Over the past few years we have seen a tremendous adoption of mobile technology in all aspects of our lives. A number of our innovative sales representatives were incorporating their own personal iPads in the way that they interacted with their customers and were experiencing tremendous success. This challenged us to think about how we could incorporate new technologies into our sales process. We feel that mobile technology for the sales force has been the greatest game changer in many years. Tablets allow our sales representatives to have access to resources during sales calls, provide quicker response time and improve time management.

As an additional benefit, our customers have mentioned that the use of these devices enhances the professionalism of our sales team. With exciting new technologies coming out of our R&D labs and being introduced into the marketplace, it is important that we educate our customers about these products. We have found that using iPads and mobile technology as training modules for our customers is another one of our innovative solutions that provide value to our customers’ business.

Q. How important has it been to establish a mobile culture among your sales team?
A. Culture is what we pride ourselves on, and DAS has always been known by our customers for its collaborative culture and ease of doing business. We have found that mobile technology further enhances this culture and ethos both internally and with our customers. Technology progresses rapidly, which has provided us with a window to demonstrate technology leadership.

Q. How has the iPad changed the way your sales team interacts with customers?
A. The sleek and easy design of the iPads along with the ability to access information no matter where you are gives our employees the advantage in comparison to the competition and gives them an added professional look. The iPad technology also allows our sales representatives to spend more time selling, provides them quick turnaround/responsiveness and allows for impactful, data-driven conversations. The ability of the iPad to provide collaborative information from across different businesses within DAS, has given our sales representatives the tools needed to discuss whole farm solutions with our customers.

Q. Initially, was there any push back from the team on using this technology? What was the biggest challenge on the iPad implementation?
A. Change always has its own challenges, but our sales team has been used to different adoptions in technology. From the bag phone and pager, to the Blackberry and now the iPhone/iPad, our sales force has been using technology to successfully convey the message of DAS superior products. Agriculture is one of the leaders in technology innovations, and our reps understand in order to have a leg up in the field, they need to be willing to adapt to changes in technology as well. The biggest challenge we saw was for those who never had experience with the Apple interface, and just helping them understand how to navigate their devices.

Q. Why iPads? Were there any other mobile devices considered for the implementation?
A. When we launched in 2012, Apple was the clear leader in the marketplace with Android being highly fragmented. Apple has a very strong following and with good reason. They provide the best user experience and have the most mature app ecosystem, providing our reps access to information in the field. As the tablet platform continues to advance, we will continue to evaluate what device provides our sales representatives and our customers with the greatest value.

Q. Tell me about the mobile apps your sales team are using in the field.
A. “There is an app for that” is a phrase that is so widely used in today’s world because it is true. There is an app for almost anything you can think of out there. As implementation leaders, we try to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to other third-party apps that are out there that we can leverage within our sales organization without having to “create the wheel” on our own. There are many extension/university apps for weed, pest and disease identification that are great tools for our sales reps to use, along with note taking and annotation apps that we can use for advancing data-driven conversations with our customers. Collaborations with other vendors such as AgData has helped us become the first trait provider to work with them on the AgCelerate Stewardship app, which allows our customers to stay ahead of their trait compliance.

DAS has also developed several internal apps for our sales force. Bulk Site Checklist allows reps to survey bulk tanks as they are changing chemistries and conduct in-person, electronic sign offs. Mycogen Value Calculator allows direct crop planning and order intentions with the sales rep and/or retailer. Mycogen Portfolio Select enables retailers, agronomists and Mycogen sales reps to create interactive slide decks to have one-on-one or group meetings with customers. The First to Farm app helps plan for early-season orders based on the previous year’s purchases.

Q. Was there a learning curve for the sales team regarding app use?
A. With any other new launch there is a bell curve featuring early adopters, those who will take time to experiment with the technology, and those who need some more hands-on training. Our group tries to provide as much training resources as possible via Webinars and in-person sessions so our sales force can focus on closing additional business, rather than being bogged down by technological hardships.

Q. How do you think the retailer relationship has changed as a result of using mobile technology?
A. I believe it has strengthened our relationships with our retailers. They view DAS as a strategic partner that is providing additional value to their business. Furthermore, I believe they see us as the leaders in the mobile landscape, innovators and supporters of their businesses. With greater response time, hands-on training and the ability to have real-time information at their fingertips, we make it easier for our retailers to position our products to their customers.

Q. What’s next for DAS on the mobile technology front? Any new apps being developed?
A. With technology being so dynamic, we are constantly analyzing our app platform and assessing the needs of our sales force and customers. We look forward to continuing to innovate and contributing to agriculture’s adoption of mobile technologies.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “How iPads Are Transforming Customer Service At Dow AgroSciences

Matt Hopkins Stories
Matt Hopkins5 Misguided Reasons Why Ag Retailers Are Not Using Social Media
June 2, 2014
These most commonly cited reasons for not embracing social media need to be re-examined. Read More
Matt HopkinsHow iPads Are Transforming Customer Service At Dow AgroSciences
March 12, 2014
Dow AgroSciences' Tiffany Galloway discusses how iPads and mobile apps have completely changed the way the company's sales force interacts with customers. Read More
Matt HopkinsPrecision Agriculture: 6 Mobile Use Trends To Watch
March 3, 2014
The convergence of precision agriculture and mobile technology is highlighted by several key trends. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Latest News
RR2X soybeans surround untreated check (center)
Industry NewsArysta Hires New Midwest Territory Sales Manager
March 5, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently named Jonathan “Jon” Tone as the Territory Sales Manager in the Midwest sales region. Read More
Fertilizer360 Yield Center: Try These 5 Steps To Fine Tune Nitrog…
March 5, 2015
Yield Center 360 advises that an effective nitrogen management plan needs to focus on how much N a particular field and corn crop needs, as well as how to properly manage N throughout the growing season — with adjustments along the way. Read More
Precision AgFarmobile Coming Online In 2015
March 5, 2015
A new startup is looking to make collecting and selling ag data a more rewarding proposition for growers. Read More
Crop InputsCommodity Classic 2015 Sets Attendance High Mark
March 4, 2015
With nearly 8,000 total attendees, the 2015 Commodity Classic convention and trade show, which took place last week in Phoenix, AZ, shattered previous records for the landmark event, Read More
Young corn plants
FertilizerNew Nitrogen Stabilizer From Simplot Protects Fertilize…
March 4, 2015
By using OmniPierce Technology, Eclipse-N from Simplot Grower Solutions coats and protects more nitrogen, increasing nitrogen efficiency and decreasing loss due to volatilization. Read More
Industry NewsOhio Corn And Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean A…
March 4, 2015
The associations truly appreciate the comprehensive approach and diligent work that the Ohio House of Representatives has dedicated to addressing water quality and House Bill 61. Read More
Mahindra Implement
Industry NewsMahindra USA Aligns With Paladin Attachment For Impleme…
March 4, 2015
Mahindra USA will begin utilizing Paladin Attachments as its implement supplier in April 2015. Read More
Crop InputsValent BioSciences Acquires Mycorrhizal Applications
March 4, 2015
The acquisition adds another strategic platform to VBC’s rapidly expanding global biorational business, providing additional tools for the Biorational Window platform being developed with its parent, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation - Plant Nutrient on the Farm Station
Industry NewsNutrients For Life Foundation Launches New Station Prog…
March 4, 2015
This ready-to-implement station provides an interactive opportunity for farms to showcase crop nutrients’ important role in growing healthy crops. Read More
Adjuvants loading
AdjuvantsAdjuvants Continue Upward Trend
March 4, 2015
A dizzying array of developments in crop protection technologies promise to make specialty adjuvants a crucial piece of the puzzle going forward. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Me…
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
10 Tips for Spring Planter Preparation
Equipment10 Tips For Spring Planter Preparation
March 3, 2015
Kinze Manufacturing offers advice on how to ensure your planter is ready before you hit the field. Read More
Industry NewsOABA 2015 LAUNCH Program Recognizes 20 New Graduates
March 3, 2015
Twenty Ohio agribusiness leaders are being recognized as the latest graduates of Ohio AgriBusiness Association’s LAUNCH program. Read More
EquipmentNew AGCO Website Helps Customers Shop For Certified Pre…
March 3, 2015
RoGator sprayers are among the wide range of CPO equipment available through AGCO's site. Read More
Enlist spray Demo
HerbicidesGuiding New Herbicide Systems’ Launches
March 3, 2015
Under careful watch, the new 2,4-D- and dicamba-tolerant crops hit more acres this season. Read More
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2015: Playing The Waiting Game
March 2, 2015
There was plenty of future-talk at this year’s event as companies (and growers) are largely in a holding pattern of sorts. Read More
Industry NewsHighway Equipment Appoints New Director Of Business Dev…
March 2, 2015
Cory Venable, who joined Highway Equipment Company (HECO) in 2013 as OEM Account Manager, has been promoted to Director of Business Development. Read More
Prairieland FS employees
Eric SfiligojWorkforce Worries
March 2, 2015
Finding good employees almost always ranks as the No. 1 or No. 2 problem for ag retailers in our annual CropLife 100 survey. Read More