Movers and shakers of the machinery industry gathered in Melbourne recently for the annual Tractor and Machinery Association conference.
Titled 'Know your customer', the one day event hosted a range of speakers exploring current trends in the machinery sector as well as new technologies with the potential to impact the engine room of the farming industry.
TMA board chair and Landpower Australia general manager group operations Paul Barry said machinery sales people needed to become a trusted adviser to the customer, which involved becoming an absolute expert not only on the machinery business, but also having a deep understanding of the customers' business drivers, and being able to anticipate their needs.
"These guys don't have customers, they have partners," he said.
These guys don't have customers, they have partners.
TMA board member and John Deere manager, strategic and tactical marketing Kel Davison said the Westpac presentation on global economic trends and the dealership panel were particular highlights.
"It's good to be a part of the TMA to understand what the industry is looking for and to have a voice," he said.
Mr Davison said it was important for the industry to think about how machinery could help farmers to reduce inputs and costs through autonomy and precision agriculture and what the dealerships of tomorrow would need to look like to meet those needs.
"Agronomic skill sets [and] IT skill sets are going to be important as we move into the future," he said.
Case IH general manager Australia and New Zealand Pete McCann said the state of the industry presentation, looking at sales figures across Australia, had set the scene for the conference.
"Obviously we have challenges in some regions, but others are quite buoyant," he said.
"I also thought Paul Barry's opening presentation was very relevant.
"Our customers are very informed now, far more than they ever have been, and it holds our sales people in dealerships a bit to task.
"You need to be a subject expert on the industry and the needs of the customers.