The Power of Partnerships at Syngenta

Syngenta sales leaders agree product value, training and partnerships are paramount in 2017.

Chuck Burlison, Cory Gilbert and David Coates in cornfield in Weakly County, Tennessee
Left to right: Chuck Burlison of Helena Chemical Company, Cory Gilbert of Syngenta and grower David Coates examine a cornfield on the Coates’ family farm in Weakley County, Tennessee.
Photo by Hollis Bennett
How will partnering with Syngenta change in 2017?

Michael Boden
Michael Boden, head of sales for crop protection, Syngenta, North America
Photo by Alex Maness
Michael Boden, head of sales for crop protection, Syngenta, North America: In crop protection, we will continue to think like a grower and work through and with our resellers in meeting growers’ needs. But our intensity to execute that strategy will increase in 2017. As we launch more new products and evolve our portfolio, we’ll continue to focus on delivering those technologies to growers through our strong retail partners. After all, those channel relationships help connect our products and services to farms across the country, so that we can continue to differentiate our brands, leverage our reputation, outperform the competition and innovate through our investment in R&D.

David Elser, head of sales for seeds, Syngenta, North America: In 2017, we’ll be more focused on helping our Seed Advisors™ and retailers grow their seed businesses. To accomplish this goal, it’s absolutely essential that we help them determine how our products, in conjunction with their agronomic services, will give growers the most value. Growers are at the center of everything we do, but we realize our resellers are the people who work with them day in and day out. To this end, we want to sharpen our agronomic focus and give our channel partners the best possible training on our products, so that they can place those products on the farm even more effectively.

What are your teams’ primary objectives for 2017?

Boden: We assume that commodity prices will continue to be low, so our teams will focus on bringing growers value through our technologies. Those technologies include our more recent product launches—Trivapro® and Orondis® fungicides and Acuron® herbicide, for example—as well as our tried-and-true brands. We’re also preparing for more product launches this year. But the underlying factor in everything we offer in 2017 is bringing a greater return on investment to growers.

Michael Boden
David Elser, head of sales for seeds, Syngenta, North America
Photo by Tim Pearson
Elser: First and foremost, we will be even more customer-focused, improving the quality of the time we spend with our reseller and grower customers. Second, we want to make sure we place the very best products on farms with our channel partners. And third, we want to continue developing our people, so that when they’re in front of customers, they’re best-in-class in making the most of opportunities and overcoming challenges. At the heart of all these objectives is what’s best for the grower.

How are you preparing your teams and resellers for 2017?

Boden: In crop protection, we embed trainers with our sales teams to help facilitate such initiatives as R4—placing the right product with the right grower on the right acre at the right time. We’ll also continue to invite resellers and growers to visit our Grow More™ Experience Sites, where they can see for themselves how our products are working under local growing conditions. For our seed treatment partners, we’ve just opened up a new Seedcare Institute™ facility on our Stanton, Minnesota, campus, which includes more training space and capabilities. So it’s a lot of different elements working together to give us the ability to educate people inside and outside Syngenta about our current and future technologies.

Elser: In seeds, we’re getting back to the basics. Agronomy is at the core of everything we do. We’re learning more about the relationship between our genetics and basic agronomic factors associated with how growers raise a crop each year, including soil types, environmental factors and other management variables like fertility and tillage. And then through our AgroCore training program, we’re sharing these insights with our Seed Advisors and retailers to help increase their success at properly placing the best hybrid or variety on a specific grower’s farm. Our goal is to help our resellers make recommendations that instill grower confidence, so they can be the grower’s go-to source for expert advice and support.

What excites you most about working with resellers in 2017?

Boden: To be successful in a challenging market, people need to perform at the top of their game. Success in 2017 will require the Syngenta sales team and our resellers to be very focused and hands-on to understand what the real needs of the grower are. At the same time, we’ll continue to have several product launches started in 2016 that will carry forward into 2017 with even more new products. It’s an exciting time in which great technologies are intersecting with a heightened need to focus on what’s best for the grower’s bottom line. We’re so thankful that we’ll be sharing the ride with our reseller partners.

Elser: Our Seed Advisors and retailers are our eyes and ears in the marketplace. They see and hear things that we might otherwise miss. Because they are local, they share common ground—schools, churches, communities—with growers. Their ability to see things firsthand, build relationships with growers and connect with opportunities on the farm is very important and energizing. Syngenta is not going away, and neither is our loyalty and gratitude to our resellers. Together, we can make 2017 a year of growth, opportunity and success.