March 2017 – Letters from Lisa

At BioZyme®, we track our market share in all the different markets where we are trying to grow. While the sales team would tell you that I use market share as a part of my slave driver approach to growth; it is actually not true. I use market share to motivate our entire team (you too) around the significant opportunity that still awaits us.

Our growth has been impressive and would not be possible without each of you. This growth makes it easy to ask how many more years is this really possible? The answer to that is objective and easy when you assess it from the market share perspective. At the end of 2016, our market share in the cow-calf sector was 1.5%. On a state-by-state basis it ranges from 10% in Indiana down to 0.2% in Texas. Just to give you some comparative perspective, McDonalds has 17% market share in the fast food industry, while the strongly misguided Chipotle has 2.2%.

Increasing market share is one of the most important objectives of business. The main advantage of using market share as a measure of business performance is that it is less dependent upon variables such as the state of the economy or changes in tax policy. Market share is said to be a key indicator of market competitiveness—that is, how well a firm is doing against its competitors. Similarly, within a firm’s product line, market share trends for individual products are considered early indicators of future opportunities.

I am sure by now, you are thinking let’s go grow market share. And because you are thinking that right now, I am hugging you. It is my job to keep the team focused on how to continue to grow that market share. It’s actually not that easy, but there are a few things one should constantly consider:

Stay relevant through innovation. One great way to gain market share is to spot new trends ahead of competitors. Listen carefully when you’re chatting with friends, watching the news or listening to kids talk about what they like. There may be a change in the wind your business can jump on.

Respond to customers – fast. Remember when leaving a voicemail recording that said, “I’ll get back to you within 24 hours” seemed responsive? Not anymore. In this age of real-time, shoppers are increasingly loyal to the company that can fix their problem right now. Check out how fast your competitors respond, and then be faster; customers will take notice.

Keep an open channel for customer ideas. One of those ideas might be your next hit product. So, let’s hear from all of you. What should we be considering as an add-on to our product line up??

Snap up competitors. Sometimes the easiest way to get more customers is to simply buy them. Watch for competitors that might be up for sale and purchase them or their customer lists.

Let’s go get that market share – our BioZyme goal is to get to 2.5% in the next 2 years. WE CAN DO THIS!!

Dealer Success Stories: Customer Service is Key

Webster defines success as a “favorable or desirable outcome.” This group of dealers epitomizes that success, growing their sales significantly over the past year. But success doesn’t just happen. Ask any one of them, and they will attribute their success to having a great product, providing top-notch customer service and having great people to work with – customers, employees and BioZyme® support.

Bowman Grain
Bowman, North Dakota

Education and communication are two of the keys to a successful BioZyme dealership, according to Bob White, manager of Bowman Grain in Bowman, North Dakota.

“Having producer meetings is important to us,” White said. “We try to keep the area producers informed about changes in the industry like VFD, and hold meetings during different times of the year to discuss breeding and weaning.”

White says providing outstanding customer service has been key to their sales success. Bowman Grain offers delivery, makes sure their customers know about volume discounts, and follows up with their customers to make sure the products they have purchased are working for their livestock operation.

And the best thing about being a BioZyme dealer, according to Bob, is the support received. “The dealer support we get from our ASM and the company is great. Our ASM goes with our sales staff around the country to talk to potential customers about the benefits of VitaFerm® products.”

Circle L Feed
Quitman, Arkansas

People helping other people is what helps make the sale at Circle L Feed in Quitman, Arkansas. Although they are fairly new BioZyme® dealers, Circle L has been in business for 18 years, and owner Mike Lagasse gives his employees tremendous credit for knowing the products they sell and listening to the customer to find out his or her needs.

“We do take care of our business and don’t worry about the competition. It will always be there,” Lagasse said. “We have professional staff who greets everyone when they walk in the door, answers questions and then sells something that will help the producers make money. BioZyme has a lot of choices for that.”

Many of the Circle L employees have been with the company for years, and Lagasse said they are all cross-trained to work in any part of the store. When they begin selling a new product, the employees learn about it so they can best help their customers.

Dealer Success Stories: Producer Testimonials Sell the Product

Webster defines success as a “favorable or desirable outcome.” This group of dealers epitomizes that success, growing their sales significantly over the past year. But success doesn’t just happen. Ask any one of them, and they will attribute their success to having a great product, providing top-notch customer service and having great people to work with – customers, employees and BioZyme® support.

 

Mike Damon
Knoxville, Iowa

For Mike Damon, becoming a BioZyme dealer seemed like a natural fit. He’s been feeding the product to his own livestock since the 1970s. His dad’s cousin, Deverne Dixon, used to work as the dealer in the area around Knoxville, Iowa, where Mike and his wife, Barb, live today. And, Mike said it is vital to his business success to be available for all producers.

“If I don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, I’ll try to find out,” Mike said as he complimented his ASM for always providing assistance. “The guy who has five cows thinks he is just as important as the guy with 500, and when it comes to sales, he is. Because the guy with five cows can be really positive and help you sell just as much as the guy with 500.”

Mike said some of the best parts about selling BioZyme products are the people and helping the producers. He has left mineral at some farms for years, and never has seen a person, but a positive experience creates a chain reaction, and that producer tells his friends, and then Mike adds two or three more customers.

High Hill Supplements
Schulenburg, Texas

Cultivating relationships and targeting progressive producers has helped High Hill Supplements grow their BioZyme® business during the past year. Kevin Warnken, Schulenburg, Texas, said he works hard to find larger, progressive producers, explains the benefits of using the BioZyme products, and sells them the products that will work for their ranch.

He shared about one customer who had a 92-percent conception rate on 1,200 cows. Warnken convinced the rancher to use VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® the next year. The rancher’s additional $8,000 supplement investment increased his conception rate to 96-percent, which produced about 50 more calves, and put more money in his pocket. He was sold.

And producers of all sizes are singing praises to Warnken, who just received a note from a smaller customer who had used Concept•Aid: “Just wanted to say thanks. 100% calf crop in 2016. 45 out of 45.”

Warnken said that while testimonials from peers will help gain customers, hard work and customer service helps him keep a customer. He said delivering the product and following up with the producer is important, and last year he delivered nearly 450 tons in his pickup.

“We make the deliveries ourselves, ask them what they want and give them twice what they ask for,” he said. “The only thing I’ll sell is something that works. It’s not a glorious life, but it is a great life.”

Dealer Success Stories: BioZyme Support is Vital

Webster defines success as a “favorable or desirable outcome.” This group of dealers epitomizes that success, growing their sales significantly over the past year. But success doesn’t just happen. Ask any one of them, and they will attribute their success to having a great product, providing top-notch customer service and having great people to work with – customers, employees and BioZyme® support.

Tappen Farm Supply
Tappen, North Dakota

For Kurt Bodvig, owner and manager of Tappen Farm Supply in central North Dakota, the combination of a great product from a reputable company and having product readily available is what continues to sell BioZyme to his customers. In his small community of approximately 200 people, there are probably 10 different people who sell animal nutrition products, so keeping customers happy is important.

“Most guys are happy with the product, and as long as they are happy, we are happy,” he said.

In addition to tracking what his customers use and keeping inventory for them, the feed store hosts an annual producer meeting each February, with the assistance of ASMs Dorothy Orts and Katelyn Wendel. Producers enjoy a good meal, and the chance to visit one-on-one with the ASMs to learn more about the products and their benefits, Bodvig said.

K Triangle Feed
Glendo, Wyoming

Keith Micke, Glendo, Wyoming, is a dealer who uses his resources to their full potential, and he never gives up. He says the tools that BioZyme® offers dealers, from the online dealer center to the staff who help him over the phone and in person, are valuable to his success.

“Their nutritionists have come out for producer meetings. And ASM, Britney Creamer has come and helped me at various shows around the state, including the Wyoming State Fair, where she even brought fresh peaches to share with customers,” Micke said. “The folks at BioZyme are great people, and you need to use them to benefit your business.”

He also mentioned the online record keeping tools are valuable to track previous sales, maintain a mailing list and see what products customers ordered at certain times of year. But perhaps just as important as the resources BioZyme offers, he appreciates that it is a family-oriented business that strives to help producers succeed.

Coal Valley Feeds
Cherokee, Kansas

Jackie Coltrane is passionate about the livestock industry. It doesn’t matter if he’s telling you about his three-generation Angus seedstock operation, selling semen for Select Sires, or representing BioZyme, his excitement for helping others succeed can’t be masked.

“Having a product that does what it is supposed to do and a company that will support you are the best parts of being a BioZyme dealer,” Coltrane said. Coltrane gives respect to his ASM John Jeffrey and Erin Creason, Inside Sales Coordinator, for helping him with any questions he has, and continually providing him information.

“Erin is a huge asset to us, as she fills our artillery with educational materials to pass on to customers and potential customers,” Coltrane said.  He added that she is readily available via phone call or text and always responds promptly to his inquiries.

Another resource that Coltrane appreciates is the product education they provide. With so many products, he said it’s nice when they put out new research or educational material so he can best help his customers find the product that will best fit their needs.

February 2017 – Letters from Lisa

“ACTION IS THE FOUNDATIONAL KEY TO ALL SUCCESS.” -Pablo Picasso

In mid-January, our area prepared for an ice storm compared to nothing we had seen since 1993. I don’t remember the ice storm of 1993, but it must have been bad as they were predicting a ½- to ¾-inch of ice in this storm, a very disruptive amount. A disruptive ice storm is typically one of  ¼- to ½-inch of ice accumulation. This amount of ice starts to damage trees and power lines. As a matter of fact, a  ½ inch accumulation on power lines can add 500 pounds of extra weight.

Having an action plan around this ice storm was important to my survival success, as I am responsible for a very famous horse, two rabbits and three dogs. Our daughter came home so I had to make sure she was safe too. With all that in mind, Bob got an electrician to set up a generator wired to the house for basic power, we (along with everyone else in St. Joe) went to the grocery store and got enough food to last at least a week. We bought every heated blanket and small heater they had left at Target, and I slept on the couch so I would hear the storm hit. I did this for three nights. The ice never came. Was all this action a waste of time or did it have value?

We don’t ever expect to have to deal with an ice storm, a flood or a tornado but when they do happen, the difference between life and death is often determined by how prepared we are for action and how much of a plan we have. The same is true in business.

Here are three easy steps to ensure you maximize the value of your business with planned action.

Pick Your Three “Focus Areas” – Focus Areas are the most important areas for your business to spotlight, the areas that will really help you develop your business. Stick with no more than three, as too many priorities mean you have no top priorities. Sure, you’ll still have to take care of your company’s day-to-day operational needs, but focusing on a few key chunks will actually produce value for your company. Potential focus areas could be:

  • Increasing your lead flow
  • Improving your sales conversion system
  • Speeding up your collections cycle
  • Making a key hire
  • Developing a new product

Define Success for Each of Your Three Focus Areas – generally, you should pick criteria of success that you have control over (or, at the very least, you have a great deal of influence over). It’s important to look for criteria that are as objectively and quantitatively measurable as possible. Pick one “Key Performance Indicator” to track. Your KPI for each Focus Area gives you a yardstick against which to measure progress as you go. By laying out your criteria of success for each Focus Area, you’ll have clear clues for what action steps you need to take.

Lay Out Your Key Action Steps and Milestones – the final step is to lay out the key action steps you need to take and milestones you need to reach to accomplish success for each Focus Area. Try to break down each Focus Area into five to seven action steps. For each action step, pick a team member to be responsible for executing the step by a definite date.

Remember, action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.

Featured Dealer: Culpeper Farmers’ Cooperative

With the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) on the horizon, one Virginia feed mill and BioZyme® dealer has worked diligently to create its own line of feed to help keep animals healthy.

“We wanted to develop a line of feeds and minerals to keep animals healthy without a VFD,” said Katie Reames, Director of Feed and Nutrition for CFC Farm & Home Center. “And this is another alternative for producers who don’t have a VCPR.”

The A+ line of feeds includes cattle formulas for both beef and dairy cows.  Currently CFC is offering a creep feed, cattle mineral and a commodity pellet.  Future plans include developing a ration for growing cattle. All products in the A+ line include Amaferm. Reames said the specific feeds are in the process of receiving their trademark.

“Amaferm goes into 100% of the A+ products,” Reames said. “The reason we picked Amaferm is because of the science behind it, proving increased production through good health. If the animal’s gut is healthy, they will be more resilient to health challenges that might come up in the herd.”

At least one feed in the A+ line is already available, with plans to start marketing the products soon.

CFC Farm & Home Center, which includes a feed mill and five retail stores, conducted educational meetings for its customers this fall to inform them of the changes with the VFD and introduce the A+ program to its customers. Reames said the dialogue was positive, and she hopes once the producers try the products and recognize the health benefits, they will be on board.

In addition to increased performance and keeping cattle healthy, Reames shared some other key roles the Amaferm advantage has assumed for CFC Farm & Home Center. She says that Amaferm has reduced the use of antibiotics and has also given natural and GMO-free producers options for their cattle.

Another benefit to using Amaferm in their mill is many producers run both horses and cattle together on smaller acreages and buy a general purpose feed, which has reduced ionophore usage.

It’s easy to see why Amaferm gets at A+ at CFC Farm & Home Center. The health benefits will assist producers looking for an alternative to the VFD to keep their herds healthy.

An Investment in Nutrition Prevents Common Animal Disease

In a region of the United States where Anaplasmosis is a cause for concern in the cow herd, Bob Black doesn’t worry about his herd catching the infective blood disease that can decrease performance, cause weight loss, abortion and ultimately death loss. The fifth-generation cattle producer focuses on managing his herd’s immune system function and investing in a sound nutrition program. And in addition to ranching with his brother, he owns Elk County Veterinary Services at Howard, Kan., and has been a BioZyme® dealer for nearly 18 years.

The Blacks run a cow-calf operation in southeast Kansas where they concentrate on raising cattle with a high carcass quality to provide the consumer a safe and favorable eating experience. The brothers wean nearly 300 calves each year, and Dr. Black says he can’t remember treating any animals for Anaplasmosis since they have been feeding VitaFerm® products.

“We’ve been feeding VitaFerm for at least 25 years, and whatever we invest in pays off in the end,” says Dr. Black. “Amaferm does a great job of breaking down the forages, and the organic minerals keep the cattle’s immunity up.”

The cow herd on the Black’s operation eats a forage-based diet with minimal supplementation. However, the VitaFerm products they do feed offer maximum nutrition in key trace minerals of copper, zinc, selenium and magnesium.
In addition, Amaferm is a great resource to help break down the forages and convert them to energy.

Dr. Black has used LONGRANGE® to control parasites such as ticks that spread Anaplasmosis for the past three years. In addition, he manages their body condition score to keep cows between 5-6 BCS, with a goal of 90% conception rate. He says if the cows get too much condition, they lie around and don’t graze, and therefore are not as healthy.

“It all comes down to proper management and animal husbandry” Dr. Black said.

Although he has chosen to ward off Anaplasmosis by proactive management techniques, he does sell CTC to some customers. Dr. Black’s goal is to use his personal successes to demonstrate the Amaferm advantage to sell more BioZyme products.

“The uptick in the market the last few years has helped, but getting our foot in the door is the big challenge,” he said. “Once a client switches over, and they see the Amaferm advantage in their cows, they are usually hooked. We are seeing good conversion.”

Keep Records Now, Save on Fines Later

You invest a lot of time and energy helping your customers develop nutrition programs that help them put more dollars in their pockets. But, with the introduction of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), now is the time to make sure your records are in order so if you are audited, your checkbook doesn’t take a hit with heavy fines in the future. Have you filed with the FDA? Do you have a person in your dealership to track the directives? And did you know software programs exist to help you track sales of medicated feeds?

All distributors of VFD feed must notify the FDA prior to selling any feed or supplements. Any changes of feed dealership name, ownership or address must be submitted to the FDA within 30 days of the change.

Thsidebare only way you can sell VFD feed or supplements is with a complete written order from a veterinarian, similar to a doctor’s prescription. Once the order is filled, you must retain the directive and proof of sale/distribution. All records must be kept for two years, and be readily available to the FDA if requested for inspection/audit. The BioZyme® staff has created a sample form to make sure that you have a complete directive, and everything is in order before you sell any medicated feed. Visit the Online Dealer Center at www.biozymedealer.com and click on “Regulatory Center” to download the sample forms.

A simple Google search will result in several software and online options for feed distributors to use to track records when selling VFD feed and supplements. You can also create your own document in Excel to track sales and record the directives. However, according to Kevin Glaubius, Director of Nutrition and Technical Sales for BioZyme, an actual paper trail needs to exist, and dealers will need to have hard copies of directives on file, not just electronic versions.

Remember, staying on top of your record keeping now, can save you time, headaches and dollars in fines in the future. A proactive approach to good record management will hopefully prevent a check-writing reaction in the future.

A Coordinated Effort Will Help the VFD Transition

It’s pretty likely a majority of your customers have heard of the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) that went into effect January 1. If a livestock producer has read an industry publication, attended any type of producer meeting or even picked up some literature at his or her local farm store, he or she knows that the VFD is here. But, do the producers understand what VFD means and how to coordinate efforts with their veterinarian and feed dealer for a smooth transition?

“Bring up the VFD in conversation, and encourage producers to have an established relationship with their veterinarians,” says Kevin Glaubius, Director of Nutrition and Technical Sales with BioZyme®. Even though the VFD has been talked about during the past year, it is imperative to have a well-established Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) before your animals get sick.

“There have been a lot of changes in a short period of time,” Glaubius says. “Don’t wait until a health outbreak occurs in your herd to establish a relationship with a veterinarian.”

In addition to encouraging producers to create a working relationship with a veterinarian, Glaubius suggests educating producers about the importance of proper nutrition.

“Proper nutrition can help animals through times of stress to prevent sickness,” Glaubius says, adding that supplementing with the Vita Charge® Drench on arrival and a Vita Charge Stress Tub in the pen along with good nutrition in the bunk is a preventative measure against sickness during the weaning period that leads to improved animal performance as well.

Once the VCPR is established, the vet will write the directive, which the producer will bring to the feed dealer. Although the directive can be faxed or submitted electronically to the feed dealer, he/she must store a hard copy for two years.

Finally, the dealers need to make sure all forms are filled out properly before selling the medicated feed or supplement. Once paperwork is in order, the sales transaction can be completed.

“Be patient. Be proactive. Make phone calls. Work with your veterinarian as much as possible,”Glaubius suggests. He reminds all dealers and producers there will be a learning curve in the first few months of 2017, as the VFD regulations are new to everyone.

You can find a full list of frequently asked questions and example VFD forms in the Regulatory Section of the Online Dealer Center at www.biozymedealer.com. In addition, any dealer or producer with specific questions should contact Dennis Delaney, Director of Inside Sales, at 816-344-5748 with questions.

January 2017 – Letters From Lisa

game chang·er
noun
noun: game changer; plural noun: game changers
1. an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something.

With a goal to help ensure safe food and the sustainable use of antibiotics for animals and humans, the FDA published the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) to promote the responsible use of antibiotics for food-producing animals. The regulation requires a VFD for all medically important antibiotics (those important in human health) administered in feed, and a veterinary prescription for all medically important antibiotics used in water. However, there are concerns that FDA’s position could disproportionately affect small livestock farmers, have a negative effect on animal health and increase the cost of producing food while not improving public health.

Michael R. Taylor, FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, said “We believe that veterinarians should work with their clients to explore alternative approaches for managing certain animal health conditions, and we will be working with animal producers and drug companies to make any needed changes in approved conditions of use. Antimicrobial resistance is everyone’s problem. It requires determination and cooperation to make the changes needed to protect the utility of these life-saving drugs. We are grateful for the way our partners and stakeholders across the food system are responding to this challenge.”

4keypointsAll this sounds like a game changer to me. As business leaders, how do we manage a game changer and still GROW exponentially? And yes it is possible because when there is a will there is a way. Here are some ideas:

  1. Be Aware – Be aware of the emotions and needs of others, and how all of this will be embraced in the market.
  2. Have Purpose – If you want to maximize the value of a real game changer have a purpose that serves, improves, helps and inspires.
  3. Focus on Relationship – All business boils down to people (employees, customers, partners, investors, vendors, etc.), and people mean relationships.
  4. Transform – If nothing changes, if nothing is created, if nothing is improved, if nothing is transformed, then you don’t have a game changer. You simply cannot experience sustainable improvement without transformation.

It was Albert Einstein who said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Don’t get entangled in complexities – become heavily invested in the simplicity of using a game changer to your advantage.