Episode 30

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Published on:

5th Jul 2023

30: Building Trust and Loyalty in the Farming Industry - with Trent Guyer

Meet Trent Guyer:

He is the VP of Marketing and global digital strategy. He has experience working with the various departments that make Grasshopper unique in the industry as a family-owned company with in-house marketing, in-house manufacturing, final assembly, and post-sale parts inventory. Daily, he works with a team to expand upon Grasshopper's decades of performance as a dependable brand to continue sharing the company's story, promoting the dynamic product, and supporting authorized retailers throughout North America and international markets. Trent leads the company's e-commerce strategy for continued growth and to enforce its solid reputation for supporting its customer base of owners including large acreage, residential, commercial, and municipal users.

Kris: What do you think about analytics today?


Trent: As far as the turf equipment, you know, we're not there's no IoT yet. There, it's still relatively against us that the word analog, is a pretty simple concept, as far as that goes. And we've had, we've entered a lot of data over the years, but we've spent so much time entering it and a little less time analyzing it. And so we've flipped that a bit recently, where we're, you know, historically, we're making a lot of gut decisions because we were so and not because that's all we did, but we were so developing a company, we were so involved with our not only our retailers, our dealers but also our end users. So we really, it was like analytics without having numbers in front of you, I suppose. So we had a lot of good feelings from lots of conversations with people. As we've had to scale up over the years, just as our business has grown, that's a bit harder to have all those conversations. Sure. And so we've started relying a lot more on analytics. As far as e-commerce, we were getting ready to do a b2b. And then we'll phase into a b2b website for orders. But right now, we dipped our toes the last two and a half years into Amazon. And so we started there, the analytics that has provided has been incredible, you know, to be able to look at just yesterday, I was studying our fast moving parts, and it mirrors pretty close, like what we would suggest a dealer stock. But there's a few things that indicate otherwise, maybe, and that might tell you that, oh, this is a part that maybe Where's more than we acknowledged or thought of, or something. And so it's given us a lot of insight there. It's also told us where our customers are, and maybe where our dealers aren't, in some cases. You know, in Amazon, we found that the average drive time, to study this for the first quarter of all of our Amazon sales, and the average drive time, one way was like 45 minutes to get to a dealer. And so that's why they're buying on Amazon. Yes. And, and two-thirds of the of the orders came after hours, whether that was in the evening, or on the weekend that a dealer might not be open. So we learned a lot of things there that have helped us either adjust some things in our day-to-day business or proved that this was an important endeavor to follow.


Kris:  Does that also propel you to have a new dealer strategy where you're going after additional dealers and strategic areas? Or do you think you'll maintain the relationships you have with your existing dealers and augment them with the digital piece? 


Trent: I think more so the latter. And I think the reason we might have the drive time is so long is that you know when you've been manufacturing this equipment for about 50 years, we've been a manufacturer about 65, we did some grain equipment before that. And we've been doing the mowers for about 50. Plus, when you've had equipment out there that long, and it's up, it's instead of just a piece of equipment a resellable asset. So either in times of tough economy, people will maybe buy parts repair rather than to buy new, but also our equipment is built to I mean, that's one of our taglines first to finish built to last. And that's a true statement. I mean, these pieces of equipment, it's not unheard of that we'll have somebody who wants to buy parts for a 25 to a 35-year-old piece of equipment. So over those years, you know, your dealers may come and go in some of those areas. So there's some distance there. So that's showed us hey, we need to pay a sales rep. It needs to go target some areas and get some representation in there so we can support those customers.


Kris: So, is there something unique about you that nobody else knows that you could share with us?


Trent: Yeah, that's an interesting one. So I don't know, I'm big into the weather. So I'm a significant bit of a weather geek. So I've got a folder on my iPhone screen, and it's on my front screen. So it's easy to access weather apps. And it's, it's not maybe unheard of, to maybe spend $100 A year subscription for something because, around Kansas, things move through here pretty quick. And so we like to have the best radar and the outlooks and the and knowing the flow of everything, and so on my son's baseball team have become known as the local weatherman. And so they always consult me they, they think it's cloudy, and they say, oh, it's going to rain. And then they asked me and I said, No, no, it's fine. It should be good till the end of the game. So I don't know I kind of geek out over that stuff a bit. And I think that's just part of when you're living in Kansas. And you always feel like, often you're under the gun and especially this time of year in the spring when there might be a tornado. Yeah, you asked me this question. And it took it it was I was hard pressed to. I don't find some of this may be interesting, but I still share it. Anyway. I, I learned all the words too. We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel. And when I was probably a preteen. And maybe that was kind of dorky or whatever. And so I remember it. At my sister-in-law's wedding, that song came up and I started singing it and nobody else did. And I look around I thought I read I read fun. Everybody knew this song.



And so much more… 




Connect with Trent!


Connect on LinkedIn

http://grasshoppermower.com/

http://grasshopperdiesel.com/




Connect with the broads!


Connect with Erin on LinkedIn and visit http://www.earthlinginteractive.com for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!


Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  


Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit www.genalpha.com for OEM and aftermarket digital solutions!

Transcript
Kris:

Hey, Laurie. I know we're down abroad today. But I was curious. I'm sure audience would be curious. I love it when podcast hosts share what

Lori Highby:

Oh, there's there's two shows that I basically soak up every little nugget that I possibly can and, and I'm always excited whenever the

Lori Highby:

AI all the time. Paul writes, are is the CEO and founder of the marketing AI Institute. And he has a podcast as well. And right now, it's so

Kris:

I'm curious, are there any personal ones? And I know you love marketing, and on a personal side, too, but I'm just curious. Anything

Lori Highby:

The one that I do listen to is armchair expert. Oh, these are all three new ones with Dax Shepard. So DAX Yeah,

Kris:

I have listened to his a couple of times. He's been a good one. Yeah, so me, I we're in a World Cup year. I know I've mentioned this before that

Kris:

love Julie Foudy, one of the original, you know, women World Cup winners. We can do hard things Glennon Doyle, Abby wombat back I really love and

Kris:

understanding of E commerce and he really goes deep when he asked questions. So I've really enjoyed watching or listening to his show, excuse

Lori Highby:

love that. Yeah. Yeah, I've heard I've not heard of any of those.

Kris:

Oh, really? All right, well, I'm on the lawn more a lot in the summertime. So I get to get all my podcasts and it's time and that's a

Kris:

inventory. Daily, he works with a team to expand upon grasshoppers decades of performance as a dependable brand to continue to share the company's

Kris:

the broadcast.

Trent:

Thank you and I promised that was written by a human and not AI generated. I love that.

Kris:

Yeah. Probably important to states Sometimes these right,

Trent:

that's right. That's right. Yeah, we've got you know, we we spoke, you talked about all the things that we're trying to do with digital and

Kris:

Yeah, and I love that you brought that up, because so many manufacturers today are still on the sidelines and trying to figure out

Kris:

sell, you know, how do you think about analytics today?

Trent:

Right, right. As far as the turf equipment, you know, we're not there's no IoT yet. There, it's still a relatively against us that word

Trent:

we were so developing a company, we were so involved with our not only our retailers, our dealers, but also our end users. So we really, it was like

Trent:

And then we'll phase into a b2b website for orders. But right now, we dipped our toes last two and a half years into Amazon. And so we started

Trent:

or thought of, or something. And so it's given us a lot of insight there. It's also told us where our customers are, and maybe where our dealers

Trent:

weekend that a dealer might not be open. So we learned a lot of things there that have helped us either adjust some things in our day to day

Kris:

Yeah, I'm curious because you're, you're looking at using Amazon and then you're rolling out your own e commerce strategy. Are you also when you

Kris:

thinking about that? In general?

Trent:

I think more so the latter. And I think the reason we might have the drive time is so long is that you know when you've been manufacturing this

Trent:

rather than to buy new, but also our equipment is built to I mean, that's one of our taglines first to finish built to last. And that's that's a true

Trent:

and get some representation in there so we can support those customers.

Kris:

Oh, yeah. I think everything you're sharing here with respect to your Amazon strategy is great for other manufacturers to be thinking about.

Trent:

interesting. Thank you. Yeah, you know, it's interesting, too, I know that the idea of a website is to reach customers in a different way.

Trent:

found that the bearings are inferior, and there's no bushings on the inside. So there's some things like that, that they'll wear different, they

Kris:

Sure. Yeah. I love the secret shopper too.

Trent:

Yeah, it's fun. Yeah, it's not it's not it's not sexy items necessarily. But you know, we're, you know, you're buying wheels and push

Lori Highby:

So So Trent, you mentioned 60 years. Is that? Is that what you said?

Trent:

That's right. So we started. Yeah, my grandfather was a custom harvester. And so he would cut grainfields from Texas up to the Dakotas as

Trent:

learned airflow, and how that air would flow around to clear the grain or to dry the grain. We then have adapted that to our mower decks, how air

Lori Highby:

Wow, I love hearing this history. This story. I think that's amazing. And I understand what you're saying, because my in laws are

Lori Highby:

and ups and downs of the economy and all the other factors that you know, businesses in America are experiencing?

Trent:

And you're right, droughts are something else, you know, you It's amazing that our purchase cycles or sales really ebb and flow with rain, it

Trent:

got about eight or nine now in our well department. We've been using robotic brake presses for about 20 years or so. And what's really

Trent:

just added we've got a number of lasers for cutting sheet metal. And we just added a new one that's like a 10,000 watt. It's just super powerful.

Trent:

just how far things come, how fast they come and how and what's out there and what's available. And so, for the floor space, we're we're taking up

Kris:

So many companies that are the age of your company over time. They just add more equipment than that's how they meet the demand. Right? And,

Kris:

all those benefits to scale. And like you said, you're not letting go of people. So many people think of these technologies as eliminating the human

Trent:

so we just when we'd work with dealers, we are the floorplan company, also. So we finance the equipment to dealers. And so that's

Trent:

really, it builds trust between the two parties. So we should work well together that way. Yeah.

Kris:

Yeah. trust and loyalty.

Lori Highby:

That's business.

Trent:

So simple, doesn't it?

Lori Highby:

Yeah, I'm always fascinated by companies that the their sales fluctuates based on the weather, you know, I just that it never dawned on

Trent:

Yeah, I mean, I don't I I'm sorry. I was gonna say I hesitate to compress all that history in just a couple seconds. But you know, yeah, I

Trent:

of starts in engineering, and how can we improve the product and go from there, we just introduced a stand on mower. So that was different to us.

Trent:

slow to it. But as we mark as as we've been able to market that product, we've said, you know, perfection doesn't happen overnight, we did

Trent:

little bit, you're leaning forward, so your weights off of your feet a little bit more. And so some people say I, you know, I I'd rather stand.

Trent:

parts online, you know, so we started Amazon, and we're working on a on a b2b ordering system right now a wonderful solution that Chris is a little

Trent:

shelf. So that's been exciting. And then post launch, we've got some plans to to bring all that full circle into our existing dealer portal. How can

Kris:

Yeah, well thank you for the plug Trent and I will also say that, you know, in full disclosure, I have a grasshopper mower and it's a zero turn

Kris:

great step. So Well, good. I am curious if you would share with our audience something interesting about you that people might not know.

Trent:

Yeah, that's an interesting one. So I don't know, I'm big into weather. So I'm a big bit of a weather geek. So I've got a folder on my

Trent:

baseball team have become known as the local weatherman. And so they always consult me they, they think it's cloudy, and they say, oh, it's going to

Trent:

Yeah, you asked me this question. And it took it it was I was hard pressed to. I don't find some of this may be interesting, but but I still share it.

Lori Highby:

fun.

Kris:

I love that you were singing that song. Yeah,

Trent:

but but but I suppose to go back to that weather. And I also like major league baseball and hockey and all that and NHL and those apps that

Trent:

things we're doing. It's just, it really helps give you a good picture. I suppose I'm pretty visual in that regard. So that has helped me understand

Kris:

Well, you know, it's interesting, I'm going to ask this question, too, because you've sent me several emails with attachments and other

Lori Highby:

Trying to hold off on it? Because that's too much.

Kris:

relevant right now. But, you know, as a manufacturer, what are you thinking? Where's your head right now? Are you cautious? Are you bullish?

Trent:

can? Right? It's, it's fascinating, I get so many emails on that. And I think we can really, from a manufacturing standpoint, unsure about

Trent:

just not using se chat GPT I've been following some of how we can, you know, we have so much tribal knowledge, we have so much things in our

Trent:

know, we're in about 45 countries. And so obviously, there's different languages spoken in some of those countries. And so doing translation, AI,

Lori Highby:

Yeah, that's been one I've been curious about as translations. But when you were talking about analytics, I was biting my tongue because I

Lori Highby:

especially on the manufacturing space. So the podcast that I mentioned, the gentleman that runs it, Paul writes, or he's got he recommends any, any

Trent:

boy, boy, that's so that is so true. So, you know, we having been around a long time. And I think many manufacturers can relate to this, that

Trent:

analyze it and read it. And I've been using chat GPT recently to build formulas with it, I might have spent hours or a day and a half, trying to

Trent:

time, and lets us move on down the road. And actually, instead of entering the data and trying to make it readable, we actually can read it. Yeah,

Kris:

no, that's great. Yeah. And thanks for sharing what you're thinking about. I will say that we were going to be recording a podcast coming up

Kris:

sentence?

Lori Highby:

Again, I was trying not to go AI route, but I'm gonna I figured you know what I'm gonna go two things, one AI and one non AI. And

Lori Highby:

consultants, and some of the top 10 most trusted brands, Band Aid is at the top Amazon lifestyle Kleenex, Cheerios visa dove Weather Channel and FedEx

Kris:

Hmm. Good. I trust prep band aid. So yeah, me too. I don't think I buy any other brand. I think I did buy one of their brand on sale one time

Lori Highby:

quickly revert back to the trusted brand. Chris, what about you? What did you just learn?

Kris:

Well, I was reading the morning brew this morning. Do you guys know about morning

Lori Highby:

I love that's where I get most of my?

Kris:

Well, I have to confess that I did not know that nividia was the company that was making the chips that are really, you know, transforming

Kris:

went engineering for up in 1995. They formed a company in 1993. So they've been around a long time. They've been making chips for gaming for a long

Trent:

You know, I sure like automation and I also like multitasking. And so I really like apps that I can let's say order Pizza Pizza Hut and Papa

Trent:

and I had an alert that popped up and said, You need that replaced or you might not be able to start your car. So I went in the app. And you know,

Trent:

when you start doing the ticket, the job tickets open, I have access to build, unlock your car, and I can just work without having to interrupt

Trent:

that take longer than they, they want you to come to a service center. I thought that was fascinating. Saved me so much time, I didn't have to talk

Trent:

always try to relate it to how can we save our customers somehow?

Lori Highby:

Yeah, love that. Yeah, I didn't know that. That's fascinating.

Kris:

Yeah, that's a good story, I will tell you that we just put one of our keys to our car, you know, the remote keys that can start the car,

Kris:

have to talk to people. It's amazing how you know we are you know, I'm a Gen X er and I I'm at that point now where if I don't have to talk to

Trent:

I hear you and it's not that I don't like talking to people it's that I might like talking to them too much that I might not be able to get

Kris:

yeah, productivity right. That's great. Well, thank you so much, Trent for being here. Lots of great information shared if people want to

Trent:

Yeah, so if you're looking for me, you can find me on LinkedIn Trent Gu your guy er, and I'm glad you pronounced it right. That's how I can find

Kris:

Excellent. Well, thank you. Wonderful show. Thank you.

Lori Highby:

Yeah, we'll include all the information in the show notes. All right. These are your broads wrapping up, reach out. We would love to hear

Show artwork for a BROADcast for Manufacturers

About the Podcast

a BROADcast for Manufacturers
The purpose of this show is to share knowledge, have fun and bring diverse, yet important topics in the manufacturing space to the forefront.
Three BROADS (Lori Highby, Kris Harrington, and Erin Courtenay) bringing you stories and strategies exploring manufacturing topics that challenge the status quo while laying the foundations for future success.

Together with special guests they’ll celebrate what’s working and unpack what is not so YOU can learn, grow, and succeed.

The hosts are a BROADcast for Manufacturers are:
Kris Harrington | President and COO of GenAlpha Technologies | linkedin.com/in/kristinaharrington
Kris Harrington is the President and COO for GenAlpha Technologies. During her time with OEMs in the mining industry, Kris and the other founders of GenAlpha saw a need to find a better way for B2B manufacturers to do business. This led to the development of Equip360, an eCommerce, eCatalog and Analytics solution for manufacturers and distributors who want to grow their business online.

Erin Courtenay | VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive | linkedin.com/in/erincourtenay
Erin Courtenay is VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive. Erin loves watching programmers work their magic, opening up the possibilities of the internet to small and medium businesses with powerful websites and custom software. Calling herself a “digital empathy practitioner”, Erin is determined to help clients move thoughtfully and compassionately into their digital future.

Lori Highby | Founder & CEO @ Keystone Click | linkedin.com/in/lorihighby
Lori Highby is a podcast host, speaker, educator, and founder of Keystone Click, a strategic digital marketing agency. Using her vast multi-industry knowledge – gained from experience and education, She has the ability to see the potential of greatness within the already established good of a business. Through strategic actionable moves, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies to micro-business owners, to achieve their marketing goals.

About your hosts

Lori Highby

Profile picture for Lori Highby
Lori Highby is a podcast host, speaker, educator, and founder of Keystone Click, a strategic digital marketing agency. Using her vast multi-industry knowledge – gained from experience and education, She has the ability to see the potential of greatness within the already established good of a business. Through strategic actionable moves, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies to micro-business owners, to achieve their marketing goals.

Kristina Harrington

Profile picture for Kristina Harrington
Kris Harrington is the President and Chief Operations Officer for GenAlpha Technologies. Kris joined GenAlpha in March of 2013 with the purpose to help B2B manufacturer’s grow revenue by implementing technologies that make it easier to do business.

Combined with the strength of her team, Kris is accountable for establishing customer relationships and engaging manufacturers in B2B commerce solutions that bring value to their organization and the customers they serve. Her discussions with manufacturing leaders tend to move into three different categories:

– Assessing the business for digital commerce readiness
– Finding ways to re-energize the sales channel by focusing on the customer experience
– Increasing options for managing the dealer vs direct sales strategy

Prior to joining GenAlpha, Kris worked for more than ten years in leadership positions with two large multinational manufacturing companies, Bucyrus International and Caterpillar, supporting the mining industry. In her various positions she had a responsibility to work with internal stakeholders, dealers, and customers to deliver business results both in aftermarket and equipment sales.

Erin Courtenay

Profile picture for Erin Courtenay
Erin Courtenay is VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive. Erin loves watching programmers work their magic, opening up the possibilities of the internet to small and medium businesses with powerful websites and custom software. Calling herself a “digital empathy practitioner”, Erin is determined to help clients move thoughtfully and compassionately into their digital future.