Home » Issue 20-2020 » Service & Sales » It all started with skipping school: Roltoma Agrotechnica, PL

It all started with skipping school

The winner of the Polish competition AgroLiga 2019 is called Tomasz Stypułkowski. Among others, he was awarded the prize for the development of his company Roltoma. This dynamics also becomes apparent in the sales figures with regard to HORSCH machines which have almost doubled from 2018, when Roltoma took over the sales area, to February 2020. How did Tomasz Stypułkowski manage to do this?

It actually started when Tomasz Stypułkowski skipped school so often that he was not allowed to advance to the next year in technical school. He finally passed the vocational training school and in 2001, at the age of 18, he left his hometown Stypułki-Swięchy in the Polish voivodeship Podlasie and emigrated to Norway – looking for adventure and a better income.
He stayed in Norway for 12 years and had several jobs: in a nursery, in a construction company and even in a slaughterhouse that during the season employed workers from all over the world, even people from Wales and Australia to shear and process sheep. “Norway is a beautiful, quiet and peaceful country. The contacts between people are marked by trust. I bought a house there and in 2011 I married my childhood sweetheart“, Tomasz Stypułkowski remembers.
“My entry into the agricultural machinery business was not particularly spectacular. In 2005 I wanted to buy a tractor for my father. I had two offers. Both were quite promising and thus the first two tractors went to Poland. My father sold one of the tractors at a good profit and I got hooked. At that time, I was 21 years old. In 2007 I founded a company that imported machines from Norway.  I owe my parents a lot for their support in the development of my company."

Return to Poland

“Why did I return to Poland? Because I realised that I could live very well in Poland, too, and that I could still travel throughout Europe and buy second-hand machines. Moreover, the tranquillity in Norway sometimes resembled boredom. And for a vivacious Pole it is not easy to socialise with the quiet Norwegians. This is the reason why I often felt lonely.“
Tomasz Stypułkowski has an agricultural background. His father had 16 dairy cows and 20 hectares of arable land. In the socialist past his machinery park with two tractors, one potato harvester and a combine was rather large. Tomasz, thus, was familiar with agricultural machines, he had experience and he knew which machines he was looking for.
Today Roltoma sells new as well as second-hand machines. Since 2014 the company has been exporting products of the Polish company “Inter-Tech“ from Zambrów to Norway. Only recently Tomasz Stypułkowski took over the exclusive agency in Poland for liquid manure distributors produced by the company Conor from Ireland. In 2019, Massey Ferguson elected Roltoma the best sales partner. Since 2018 Roltoma has been an official HORSCH dealer. Moreover, the company provides the local farmers with a technical service – for machines that were bought from Roltoma, but also from other dealers. Services for the harvest of cereals, maize and grass and the renting of liquid manure distributors, dung spreaders and meadow rollers are also part of the business.
When asked what a dynamic development depends on Tomasz Stypułkowski answers immediately: ”On how fast you take your decisions, on intuition and you have to surround yourself with the right people." In his opinion a dealer has to be positive and consistent.
Characteristics like hard work, perseverance, commitment, product knowledge and the will to succeed are important, too.

Many demonstrations

Roltoma’s success regarding HORSCH products partly is due to the commitment of one man who has the characteristics mentioned above. Radosław Sorokosz, Roltoma’s salesman, is a passionate HORSCH fan. He stands behind the products and the customers really appreciate his advice. He is THE contact when it comes to HORSCH – not only for the customers but also for his colleagues. He particularly supports them in the product argument sector. What makes him even more credible: He is a farmer himself and runs a 50 hectares farm. He, thus, knows what he is talking about.
Roltoma tried a lot of strategies to push the sales of HORSCH products. Some of them have proven their worth: approx. 20 demonstrations per year, an open house once a year and individual demonstrations for interested farmers. Field days no longer figure on this list. “They are attended by too many people who are not really interested in buying a machine. I prefer less people but with a concrete interest“, the Roltoma boss adds. There are also several campaigns on the internet and, of course, flyers, newsletters, sales campaigns as well as financing offers.

The customers really appreciate the technical stand-by service during the season. The technicians take turns and are available twenty-four-seven.
Customer satisfaction is Roltoma’s top priority: ”The price then does not play the most important role. A satisfied customer comes back. There only is a problem if the customer is not satisfied because the machine is too large, too small or does have the appropriate equipment.”

Arguments count

Roltoma employs a total of 25 people: seven of them in sales, five for spare parts and nine in the service sector.
The employees are trained by Michal Kolakowski, the regional HORSCH sales manager, and also at the HORSCH company in Schwandorf. Once a quarter Radosław Sorokosz discusses the innovations with his colleagues. Once a year there is a one-day resp. two-day training with the topic sales arguments. The high-quality HORSCH machines have their price, and this is why the sales arguments have to hit home.
Part of the sales strategy also are trips with potential customers to the company headquarters in Schwandorf. This year such trips could not take place because of the Corona virus. In January and February there are always trainings organised by seed and fertiliser producers in the sales area of Roltoma. “We are always on site with HORSCH machines and explain the participants what makes them so special. We shoot our own videos, e.g. with the Pronto, which then are shown on YouTube“, Tomasz Stypulkowski explains.
The average farm size in the region is 30 to 40 ha, but step by step large farms with several hundred of hectares start to develop. The soils vary from clay to sand. The voivodeship Podlaskie is located in the north east and thus in the coldest regions of Poland. Thus, the vegetation period is three weeks shorter than in the rest of the country. This has an effect on the requirements of the farmers.

Course of expansion

Because of short windows and labour costs that in the meantime have tripled, farmers are too busy for repairs. This is the reason why they do no longer look for low-priced, but for high-quality machines that are efficient and work fast. And in this respect HORSCH is top of the list. In the seed drill sector Roltoma mainly sells HORSCH Pronto and Express. During the short time of their co-operation the company also sold eleven HORSCH Leeb sprayers and several disc harrows HORSCH Joker.
Roltoma grows constantly. Today the company has two branches in Siemiatycze and Kolno. A new branch is built in Augustów. The construction works still are in full swing, but the branch is to be opened in spring 2021.
Tomasz Stypułkowski himself takes care of the internet presence and the online marketing of the company. He is particularly active on Facebook. And he sees to it that there is something happening on the page. The company already has more than 10,000 likes. “Our Facebook page is alive! We share our problem, successes and our everyday life“, he adds.
For Tomasz Stypułkowski important aims for success are: keep calm, create a solid basis and do not to put all your eggs in one basket. “From every trip abroad I take some knowledge back home. You can learn from any experience – even from the negative ones. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom, like I did when I left for Norway 18 years ago, to realise: I must not miss this chance!“
After all the successful years Tomasz Stypułkowski knows that money also entails a moral duty – among others to be modest and grateful and to keep your feet on the ground. This is why Roltoma again and again supports local projects and for example puts the machines for repairing a football pitch at the disposal of the club free of charge. Moreover, together with his employees Tomasz Stypułkowski every year selects some charitable projects which Roltoma supports with one per cent of its turnover.

And when Tomasz Stypułkowski needs a rest he goes to his flat in Norway. He then enjoys the tranquillity and the nature.

The AgroLiga competition in Poland looks back on a history of 25 years. Every year the prize is awarded to the best companies of the agricultural sectors and the best agricultural farms. In 2019, the prize winners received their awards from the Polish president Andrzej Duda. The prize does not include any money, but contributes enormously to the image of the awarded companies.