Today, Australian farmers produce 25 million tons of wheat each year. To get this wheat to market, farmers rely on commodity traders like Emerald Grain. Based on the east coast but with operations around the country, Emerald Grain trades roughly 8 per cent – or 2 million tons – of wheat each year.
Emerald Grain has built a comprehensive CRM system and added apps and features to give its customers – both farmers and buyers – what they want. It’s all done on Salesforce. A key challenge for Emerald Grain is the geographic spread of its operations. The company has a presence in every state; in the past, each state wrote its own rules for engaging with farmers and buyers.
So the first step on Emerald Grain’s Salesforce journey was going live with Sales Cloud as a CRM platform to achieve state-by-state consistency in the process of buying grain. Salesforce soon moved beyond being an internal tool at Emerald Grain. Graeme Hester, CIO, recognised the possibility of improving the customer experience by creating an online marketplace for grain growers.
Growers can now log-in to an online community called ‘Grain Mate’ built on the Salesforce Community Cloud. Growers can access live prices for the wheat, canola or barley they are trying to sell and they can then set up a contract within a few clicks. This approach is transformational within the grain industry. “We’ve created a tool that makes it incredibly easy for our growers to access live pricing, execute a contract and get paid within two days,” said Hester.
Emerald Grain refers to its buyers – such as food manufacturers and stock feed companies – as its customers. Its sales team’s remit is to sell more grain to a broader base of these customers.
The sales process for grain is akin to many other industries that rely on relationship-based, high-value transactions. “You’re talking about multimillion deals several times a year. These sorts of deals rely on solid relationships across both the sales and execution stages with the customer,” Hester explained.
Given this, Hester decided to extend the reach of Salesforce Sales Cloud to include these customers, too.
Emerald Grain uses Sales Cloud to capture information such as organisational hierarchy, contact hierarchy, decision-maker maps, usage patterns, competitor patterns, and more. The sales team can then use these holistic profiles to work out opportunity-to-success rankings and really hone their sales efforts.
Every one of Emerald Grain’s 100 employees has single sign-on access to the many custom apps that have been built on the Salesforce platform.
“Salesforce is our platform of choice for new software development. We have built an occupational health and safety system, a container management system, and reporting dashboards for business intelligence,” said Hester.
Emerald Grain uses Marketing Cloud to further strengthen relationships with growers and customers. Using Marketing Cloud, specific growers can be targeted with personalised communications. If, for example, Emerald Grain knows that a grower has grain in a storage site, an email can be sent with a price and call to action to sell.
“Already, our Salesforce journey has been so extensive and very positive. Whatever tomorrow’s challenges are, we’ll solve them with Salesforce.”