Helen Rowland, Account Manager

Department: Sales

“As a team, we bounce ideas off each other and use each other’s case studies to share knowledge and solutions."

Farming roots

Helen with customer

“I grew up in Warwickshire on my family’s dairy and beef farm. I have always had a keen interest in livestock farming and dairy production, therefore going down a farming related career path was an obvious choice.”

“I studied at Aberystwyth University and during my agriculture degree, I completed a placement year with ForFarmers. I was based at the Portbury feed mill in the South West of England. During the 12 months, I gained a brilliant insight into the company and this confirmed my desire to secure a permanent role at ForFarmers.”

“Whilst on placement I was able to see all aspects of the business from shadowing on farm sales and technical support, to seeing the inner workings of the mill and helping with marketing. ForFarmers is continuously innovating and I was given the opportunity to get involved with a number of forage and beef trials.”

“A typical week on placement would usually contain a day or two out on farm shadowing Account Managers. Depending on the specialist, the tasks for the day might include walking crops, sales appointments, taking soil samples, analysing dairy data or monitoring DLWG of animals."

“I then went back to University and the following year I graduated. I joined ForFarmers on a permanent basis in November 2019 as an Account Manager. It’s been really nice to come back to the company and gain my own area and customers and also keep in touch with colleagues in the South of England that taught me so much.”

Sales area

“I cover the Derbyshire area, mainly based in and around Ashbourne. As an Account Manager my role consists of working with dairy, beef and sheep farmers to help them gain the most out of their farming business.”

“ForFarmers have a number of sales teams covering the UK. I am in the Central Team and I’m surrounded by supportive colleagues. We share knowledge, bounce ideas off each other and use each other’s case studies to share knowledge and solutions. Having a balance of experience in our team really helps the newest members such as myself, as this creates an enjoyable working and learning environment.”

Visiting farms

Soil sampling

“I always plan my week in advance especially as I have a large area to cover and therefore need to make the best use of my time. My first job of the day is to check my emails from customers and colleagues before I head out on the road. I aim to be at my first farm appointment by 9:30am and back home late afternoon to catch up with any queries and emails. I try to efficiently book appointments in my schedule in the same area but some days I keep free so that I can complete some prospecting work.”

“When visiting customers, one of the first things I do is find out their farm goals. Monitoring performance and being able to work towards a goal for the farmer is paramount. I enjoy the variety in my job, some days I might be looking closely at dairy costing’s, another day I might be taking a Forage or Youngstock Specialist out on farm with me to discuss technical protocols and advice with my customers.”

Adapting to working at home

“Due to the Covid-19 outbreak I have been working from the safety of my own home, just like all of the other Account Managers. As a consequence, I’m spending lots of time on the phone to customers and prospects rather than out on the road. I do miss face-to-face visits, however it is necessary under the current Government guidelines and helps us to protect not only ourselves but also our customers.”

“Working from home has benefits for example I can speak to more customers each day and there’s no traffic jams. On the other side, I do miss being out on farm, walking the cows and seeing any issues or improvements to the herd.”

“As a company, we are still offering all of our services. We have had to adapt some of them for example sending out silage sampling kits in the post. As a team I feel that we are working together more closely in order to support one another and our customers.”

“A number of my dairy customers use remote access technology such as Dairy Herd Costing’s and Visiolac; our unique diagnostic tool. Visiolac indicates how well a diet is performing and highlights key areas that could be improved. This helps us ensure that the diet is nutritionally balanced and helps further improve feed efficiency. Technology such as this has been very useful during lockdown as it helps me an eye on my customer’s herd health and performance.”

“Communication has been critical during this period and I try to schedule a call once a month with my customers and prospects to keep up to date with them. I also check if there is anything else I can offer them.”

Taking customers on a journey

Helen with Beef Cattle

“Being a dairy farmer’s daughter, I’ve always had a passion for cows and when growing up I was always asking my dad questions about farm methods and why he does it a certain way.”

“The thing I enjoy most about my job is seeing improvements. Working with customers and seeing improvements to their business, whether it be reducing calving issues, maximising milk from forage or improving milk yields by making changes to feed rations, brings me a huge sense of pride."

"Farmers place a lot of trust in our hands when they allow us to make key decisions on farm. Therefore building relationships is a crucial part of my role in order to become a trusted advisor on farm.”

“I really enjoy being able to show results on farm and improve efficiency and profitability, it makes my job so worthwhile. I’m also constantly learning on the job and enjoy listening and learning from my customers too.”

Supportive sales team

“The Central sales team is a brilliant team to work in; we are a small, close-knit and very knowledgeable group of individuals. We speak every day, share success stories, advice and information. It can be a very solitary job out on the road and so we are always there for one another and only a phone call away.”

“We are currently in uncertain times with Covid-19 and Brexit both playing their part. I believe now more than ever, dairy farmers are looking for advice and help on ways they can improve efficiency and create sustainable businesses suitable for the future.”

“I love my job and I have been given so many opportunities already to grow and develop my knowledge. This has included training sessions to going out on farm with more experienced Account Managers. I hope I can continue to improve farming businesses by utilising the wide range of services that ForFarmers can offer.”