“In the first six months of working with your recommendations, CRM use has increased from 20% to a little less than 60%. We have achieved something that we have not been able to do in the past 10 years. Feel free to share that – a tripling of usage in six months!”

Susann Kluge, Head of Commercial Excellence Europe, BASF Agricultural Solutions

The customer

BASF is one of the largest chemical producers in the world. Their European agricultural solutions division is a major ally for farmers during agriculture’s shift towards a digital, data-driven future. This is an ambitious goal, since agriculture is a very conservative business. Farmers take great pride in individualism and independence, and value their BASF partners not only as suppliers but as trusted consultants. Modernizing this relationship depends heavily on making new technologies part of it while preserving the “human touch”.

The solution

In order to anticipate the BASF sales team’s response to a new CRM system, BASF’s salesforce.com implementation team partnered with us for a series of analyses. The goal was to determine the adoption capability of many European sales teams, and to provide the individual country teams with ideas on how to improve it. Over the course of 18 months, we did just that: we delivered an objective picture of adoption capability, supplied team-specific recommendations for numerous countries and provided the core metrics for tracking how the implementation was progressing and how well the recommendations were working.

The challenge

Historically, customer data has played a secondary role in relationship driven businesses like agriculture, but this is changing rapidly. BASF is committed to making the most of this shift by leveraging farmer data to improve the service they provide to their customers. For this, BASF chose to use salesforce.com, an immensely powerful CRM system that can be very demanding of its users. While this was certain to improve organizational performance, it was also certain to be a massive challenge to the existing routines and practices of the sales team.

The benefits

BASF gained a complete picture of which teams required what kind of support to ensure salesforce.com adoption, especially in a cultural context. Based on our recommendations, they implemented team specific activities instead of generalized events, providing a perfect reaction to each team’s individual needs. By knowing exactly who needed what kind of support and who was all set for adoption, the organization avoided spending €500k on many days of unnecessary activities and “one size fits all” events. The teams reacted very positively to this tailor-made approach, and the implementation team took pride in watching the adoption numbers grow as a result of their actions. System use tripled from 20% to 60% over six months.