Lessons from field corn and customers

Rick McPartlin

CROs and farmers have a lot more in common than the CRO might think. For much of the 20th Century those responsible for “Revenue Generation” believed they controlled the market demand with new products, PR, Advertising, power sales teams and selling skills. Over that last century the market needed a gasoline powered car, then one with windows, then various colors, then an automatic transmission and AC, etc. The 20th Century was a 100-year bubble with new goods and services affordable to millions and consumed in one buying frenzy after another by new customers with good jobs producing these same goods and services. Since everyone had to replace the outdoor john with indoor plumbing business believed they were in control and could drive the market to buy what they wanted to sell.

The farmer for thousands of years has known that there is a natural order of things. It takes a certain number of days to get a corn seed to pop up. It takes a certain amount of sun and water with cool evenings for the corn to grow and mature. It is the farmer’s job to support the corn. If the soil is wrong or the planting is late or the weeds allowed to flourish the crop will be threatened.

In the 21st Century due to technology and cultural change the natural order of things has returned and the buyer is in charge just like the corn. Each seller needs to put their Headquarters focused plan away and learn what creates the greatest value for both the customer and the seller – the same way the farmer does with the corn.

The farmer serves the corn and the seller serves the buyer and the buyer confirms the value.


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