The IN10T Business Has Been Built Upon the Premise of Solving for These Challenges
By Kevin Heikes, COO IN10T
In today’s world, large parts of agriculture product testing, data collection, and product development decisions come from offering prospective customers free product trials. These trials often promise participants access to the latest in products, with no cost or action required outside of using the product itself. Sounds like a win-win situation for the company and the farmer, right? Unfortunately, we rarely see this approach deliver the desired results of driving product adoption. We’d like to share with you the challenges we see with the existing free demo trial experience, and how at IN10T, we have effectively solved for these to drive successful product adoption.
Here are 3 primary challenges the typical product demo program faces:
1. Free Product = Low Value
One of the main struggles with running a free trial is that the trial participant will often value the product less simply because it is free. Farmers place more value either in items that they pay for, or in the case of IN10T FarmerTrial participants, in things that they are paid to use.
Think of it this way, if a farmer receives a sample of a new fertilizer product to test on their field, what is their incentive to use it? While they may be interested in seeing the impact a new product might have on a field, without a clear plan of action for how the results will be shared, the sample is likely to be moved to the back of the shed in favor of a product with clear results. While the sales team that provided the product to the farmer may have a great relationship with them, there must also be a plan that will help the farmer understand the real value of the product to encourage future adoption.
At IN10T, we understand that not every farmer has the time, capacity, or inclination to analyze every input they test in a given season. That makes it extremely difficult for farmers to make big, financial decisions when they cannot directly see the value provided by the product.
Knowing that, we provide our FarmerTrial participants with a full agronomic performance report that captures many of the elements impacting performance. These insights help to understand the true product story. It provides context to how the product performed and helps the farmer to see the value provided by the product.
2. Not Finishing What Was Started
Most often, we see sales representatives tasked with most of the work required to execute these types of demo trials. They do their best, but this is just one of the many competing priorities they are responsible for. As such, it is often a challenge to deliver the type of experience you want the trial customers to have. They start out the season with good intentions of seeing the program through, but once combines start rolling, they are already thinking about the next season and their need to deliver on sales targets. As such, reviewing the analytics and telling the product performance story falls to the wayside.
This is the most critical step in the process. Per my first point above, analytics are required to truly show the customer the value of the product. Without the data, what did the farmer receive except for some free product? Does your product explicitly show its value? Given the large number of variables impacting performance, it is too much to expect the farmer to invest time in analysis and evaluation for a product that they did not invest in.
Not only does analysis take time that sales reps simply don’t have, but they may not have the skill set necessary for having these more in-depth conversations.
After years of running trials through our FarmerTrials Network, we know that on average, it will take about 30 touchpoints to ensure a successful trial experience for our farmers. We have the capacity, focus and the right tool set to effectively deliver a great farmer experience while simultaneously delivering the critical insights needed by the business to make informed decisions.
3. Product Performance is Sole Objective
Product performance results are only one element of a farmer’s decision-making process. Ensuring quality and in-depth customer feedback is captured during the trial is critical to understanding market success. Considerations such as product shipment and storage need to be included in the trial evaluation itself to ensure the holistic product experience is being captured. All of these elements have an impact on future purchase intentions.
There are many ways to solicit trial participant feedback. Surveys are one tool IN10T puts to work for you. We survey trial participants 2-3 times a season. These surveys provide a two-fold benefit.
- The farmer feels validated to share their insights
- IN10T clients can see challenges that cannot be caught in a lab
Think of the time and money invested to execute these free trials. Trials are not cheap to offer and rarely are the business insights delivered at the end of the program. We have found a better way. IN10T wants to partner with you to accelerate the adoption of your new products and services.