Precision farming specialists are often called upon to be versatile, adaptable problem-solvers. But as the next generation of decision-maker moves into farm management roles, dealerships are also transitioning how they meet the evolving expectations of customers.

With farmers increasingly focused on understanding and capitalizing on ag tech investments, some dealerships are rethinking their sales, service and parts strategy. 21st Century Equipment, a 16-store John Deere dealership based in Nebraska, has adopted a more specialized approach to its sales process.

While salespeople have tended to be generalists, CEO Owen Palm explains that the dealership created product specialist positions which are entry level opportunities, typically for recent college graduates, that focus on specific products.

I think there's going to be a lot more cross-functional collaboration between the departments, in the sales process or just generally serving that customer. As this equipment is getting more and more technology, or let's say as this equipment is getting more sophisticated due to technology that's embedded into it, we're definitely having to move to a new position that we've created called a product specialist. We may have a product specialist for self-propelled forage harvesters. We have a sprayer specialist. We have a seeding specialist because all of all of these various implements are getting so complex and are evolving so quickly that the sales team has got to have a specialist in-house that they can rely on for demonstrations, for clinics and for just a general conversation that we need. We need specialization. There is no doubt about that.”

Palm adds that he expects the specialization trend to continue for dealerships, to try and keep pace with precision technology progress and also the product support expectations of customers. Read more about how dealers are adapting to and preparing for generational transition on farm operations in Farm Equipment’s September Sourcebook issue.