UK AGROCHEMICAL DISTRIBUTION
Manufacturers of agrochemicals are reliant on a network of distributors to reach their markets. These companies not only provide product, but also make recommendations to their clients, the growers, on agrochemical use as the season progresses. Every two years, a syndicate of the top five manufacturers asks Closer to Customers (C2C) to assess the needs of this market sector, and review the image and performance of the manufacturers in supporting their distribution partners. The survey involves in-depth interviews with key decision makers in each major distribution business, usually managing directors and directors on both commercial and technical platforms. In order to cover the required ground within the timescale, and also to have the input of a similarly skilled researcher to the project, C2C asked IBR-Ltd to conduct a proportion of the interviews.
Whilst the results of the survey would be an important input to management strategies for the five manufacturers, getting the cooperation and time of such senior people would be difficult: some individuals could be unconvinced of the value of the market research process and could perceive it as putting an additional strain on their valuable time. For this exercise to be successful, therefore, it would be vital to meet the key decision makers face to face and get at least an hour of their time.
Between C2C and IBR-Ltd, the principals and senior directors of the top nine distribution companies were all persuaded to participate in the survey, a reflection of the persuasive skills of both firms and their experience in this market sector.
To C2C, the benefit was a second opinion on the many issues that the survey raised. Roger Pratchett’s vast experience in the agricultural sector ensured he had a firm grasp of the issues involved and his interpretation of the market was excellent.
To the end clients, each manufacturer has commented on the quality of this year’s survey, which was a step forward from the previous format.
I am sure that Roger’s contribution helped considerably in this respect. Since this job, C2C has worked with IBR-Ltd on other occasions, not necessarily in the agricultural sector, and each time Roger delivers excellent feedback. I anticipate future collaborations with IBR-Ltd.