AgCountry’s Change Management Journey to Success11/24/2022
AgCountry, armed with patience and a process, successfully completed the journey to improve their entire valuation methods in the midst of a pandemic and a merger, in order to save time and money. Tractor Zoom sat down with AgCountry’s Special Credit Officer, Ethan Zetocha, to learn about the key ingredients to his organization’s successful change management journey for their 150+ valuation platform users.
The Challenge: Expect Better
Oftentimes the mantra of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” can keep organizations in a stagnant quagmire of complacency. AgCountry expected better, and despite the challenges of the past two years, sought out and tested better ways of doing business.
- AgCountry’s historic method of determining equipment valuations was sufficient, but not optimal
- The potential of an improved process could provide more time for lending staff to obtain new business for the organization
- Change is hard for any organization to adopt, especially when the outcomes initially seem uncertain
AgCountry’s Change Management Principles
AgCountry took a long-term approach to their evaluation of different valuation tools. They built strong team buy-in by being completely transparent, and leveraged those team members to objectively test multiple alternatives. They also were efficient in their approach by requesting the solution providers to help set-up the objective tests and necessary training.
It's important to get the people who are going to be affected by this change involved and get them involved early.
We gathered the people with high usage that are going to be affected by the change the most. We wanted them to get involved so that they could tell us their honest feedback. Their opinions on the tool and platform matter the most.
We were transparent from the start. We said to our staff during the trial, ‘Hey, we're looking at other tools. So, this is your chance to have a say or to provide insight on these other tools compared to what you're used to using.’
“We used IronGuides, and we tested out Iron Comps, and FleetEvaluator. We did a study over the last two years of a hundred plus pieces of equipment and just compared the values. What I compared them to was auction results. Because I was comparing them to auction results, Iron Comps obviously was going to be a lot closer in terms of value. But what we were also looking for was how we can save time. With saving time, you save on employee and staff hours that they can spend doing something else.”
[For] two years, we had some staff test out FleetEvaluator, IronGuides, and Iron Comps. After one year, we dropped FleetEvaluator. Then this past spring in a second phase, we just used IronGuides and Iron Comps and had staff test those two out. We had staff test out these platforms twice.”
Hold everyone accountable.
“We wanted to hold our current platform provider accountable and would say, "Hey, your competitor is willing to make these changes and system offerings, what you guys are willing to do?’”
Ask what is available to help the decision-makers.
“Definitely utilize any free trials that anyone's willing to offer. Good partners are going to work with you. Don't be afraid to ask for another free trial. Even for our final trial, we paid $500 or something like that. Just don't be afraid to ask for anything really from them.”
“Overall, everyone agreed that Iron Comps was easier to use. There wasn't any pushback there. From our testing, we learned some were hesitant because Iron Comps is so transparent that some people thought they were missing something. It doesn’t just spit out a value, so we developed our own internal best practice guide to help our staff find the best comparables.
If our loan officers are saving time by not sitting behind a desk, they're out looking for and getting new business and bringing in”
Opportunity to Improve?
A benefit of working with Tractor Zoom’s team is the personalized approach to your specific situation. No two Tractor Zoom partners are exactly the same. Neither is our approach in working with any of our 30+ ag lending partners who utilize Iron Comp. If you would like to see other examples of how lenders are partnering with Tractor Zoom to leverage real-time data to improve their valuation process, feel free to reach out to Jeremy, our lending account executive at JHewitt@tractorzoom.com