Trust, excellent customer service and a highly motivated team – these are the key factors Agroton-M relies on and thus has become one of the leading dealers of agricultural machinery in Bulgaria.
Agrotron-M has been active on the Bulgarian market for 18 years and during that time has developed into a successful importer of innovative and high-quality agricultural machinery. The company ranks second in the Biggest Agricultural Machinery Dealers ranking for 2018 according to the agricultural business report of Capital Weekly that was published in September 2019.
Currently Agrotron-M exclusively sells HORSCH, Olimac, Strautmann und Tehnos.
A constantly growing family business
Agrotron-M is a family-run company founded in 2002 by the married couple Meliha Ayretlik und Mehmed Yumerov – the initial purpose was to import second-hand agricultural machines from Germany. Some time later, Meliha's brother Metin joined the management team.
“After Bulgaria’s accession to the EU and with the availability of European financing models in the agricultural sector, the demand of the Bulgarian farmers for new and high-quality machines increased. We had to respond to the demand of the market and focus on offering new agricultural machines“, Meliha Ayretlik remembers.
In 2009, Agrotron-M built an office in Stara Zagora. But the company continued to grow and two years later a large subsidiary was opened in Targovishte – including a show room, spare parts warehouse and a service station. The outdoor area covers more than 10,200 m², the indoor area about 3,500 m². In 2015, only four years later another 3000 m² subsidiary was built in Montana – another key farming region of Bulgaria.
The main brand the agricultural community associates Agrotron-M with today is HORSCH.
Doubling of the turnover in the first year!
The partnership of Agrotron-M and HORSCH started in 2012. The HORSCH sales manager for Bulgaria, Petja Dainova, still remembers the details: “I came to know Agrotron-M in late autumn 2011. I was to find potential dealers for a partnership. The first meeting was very casual, and I was impressed by the sincerity and the warmth we were welcomed with. Apart from the positive atmosphere and the high level of organisation the most important factor was the extremely well sorted service and repair workshop. After a meeting at the exhibition in Hanover and upon the very positive feedback of major Bulgarian farmers with regard to their co-operation with Agrotron-M, the HORSCH management decided to make them the official importer for HORSCH machines in Bulgaria.
Of course, we also were a little bit worried at the beginning: Does the dealer know enough about our technology and our machines? Can he identify with our way of thinking? But our concerns quickly vanished into thin air. Everything worked out excellently and within one year Agrotron-M doubled the turnover of HORSCH machines in Bulgaria.“
Petja Dainova adds: “The structure, the mentality, the organisation, the way of running the company is quite different from most dealers. The keyword for Agrotron-M is team spirit – every employee is a link of the same chain and everyone contributes to the common objective. No-one at Agrotron-M will be heard saying: This is not part of my job! And that’s what makes the company so successful!“
The team – the key to success
Agrotron-M employs about 100 people and attaches great importance to the fact that their staff is excellently trained and highly qualified. The sales team consists of experienced and well-trained specialists who cover the whole country.
“Our sales team listens carefully to what the customers want and focusses on their specific requirements. It is not about offering a machine, but rather a complete solution for a state-of-the-art arable farm.” Meliha Ayretlik emphasises.
The service and repair workshop team consists of highly qualified specialists who participate in trainings for maintenance and repairs every year. Their main principles to solve problems as quickly as possible, provide warranty and carry out repairs in the most reliable way.
Every year HORSCH organises sales and service trainings. “Before the sales trainings were carried out on our premises by trainers from Germany. However, for several years we have been inviting the Agrotron-M dealers to Germany where we can combine theory and practice in an optimum way. The service technicians, too, are mainly trained in Germany. For HORSCH the performance level of the dealers in the different countries is a benchmark. Agrotron-M always ranks among the top dealers”, Petja Dainova states proudly.
Agrotron-M has a lot of spare parts from different manufacturers on stock. There is a wide range of tyres, wheels, oils, grease etc. “Even if the required spare part is not available immediately, the maximum delivery time is only two to three days. In the warehouse and the repair shop there is a 24-hour stand-by duty to make sure our customers can reach us during the season“, Meliha Ayretlik explains.
Neither HORSCH nor Agrotron-M believe in a "sell by all means" policy. “When a customer is interested in a machine the most important thing is to find the one that is perfect for his farm. It often happens that a customer wants to buy a certain machine. However, after we have discussed everything and talked about the conditions of his site and his requirements he eventually decides to buy another machine – one that suits his specific conditions and his intended range of use best and that achieves an optimum performance“, Petja Dainova describes.
The HORSCH sales manager for Bulgaria, Petja Dainova, about the top-selling machines on the Bulgarian market: “In the seed drill sector the Pronto 4-9 DC, the Avatar SD and the Maestro CV/SW rank first, in the tillage sector the Joker RT Classic, the Joker HD, the Tiger MT and the Terrano FX are top of the list. About four years ago we started to offer HORSCH Leeb plant protection sprayers in Bulgaria. The feedback especially for the Leeb PT and the Leeb AX is very positive.“
Customer service: top priority
Agrotron-M’s customer relations are mainly based on reliability. Right from the start the service technicians support the farmer – as consultants and with practical advice. “The initial use of every machine we sell is carried out by our service specialists. For many other dealers this means „mission completed“. We, however, take a different approach – we support the customer until he and his team are completely familiar with the machine. And if a new driver has to be trained at a farm, we take care of it”, Meliha Ayretlik explains.
For HORSCH, too, customer care is a top priority, says Petja Dainova: “Other manufacturers also offer good machines, but beyond that we provide the customer with a top-level support. In addition to the usual warranty conditions for example we got the extra mile: If there are problems with new lines or machines, we carry out the necessary repairs and retrofittings without causing additional financial burdens for the farm. The objective is to support the customer and help him. HORSCH’s product range is rather wide. But not every machine fits into every market. Together with Agrotron-M we select the machines that perfectly match the conditions in Bulgaria. The range of products grows every year. Four to five years ago for example, we had no plant protection technology. Now we also have equipment in this sector and can offer it to the Bulgarian farmers”, Petja Dainova comments
Before they decide on an investment, farmers want to see how the machine performs in the field. This is why Agrotron-M and HORSCH rely on demonstrations directly at the customers’ premises. Moreover, almost every year HORSCH organises the HORSCH Practical Field Days in Germany. Agrotron-M always participates with a large group of farmers. In addition to demonstrations and factory tours, the guests are provided with information about current innovation a lot of which are tested on the test farms of the Horsch family: a practical aspect that is extremely well received by the Bulgarian farmers.
Active online presence
The right marketing strategy is essential for the success of a company. Agrotron-M is no exception. “We take an integrated communication approach by promoting our products and services with a variety of activities that work together and complement each other. We are present in traditional channels such as specialised newspapers and magazines as well as online and in social networks (Facebook and Instagram) to reach our current and potential customers”, Meliha Ayretlik says and she adds: “We have a modern and functional website with a lot of visual and text content and, of course, a YouTube channel. The new generation of farmers are online, and we have to be up to date. To keep up the interest of our followers in the social networks, we upload authentic copyrighted content on a daily basis, including videos from field demonstrations at our customers' farms.“
“For HORSCH and myself it has always been a pleasant co-operation with Agrotron-M that in the course of time has taken us where we are today. Whenever I visit their branch in Targovishte, it is always buzzing with activity. There is always something going on – machines are loaded and unloaded, assembled, customers are received and so on. Quite different to other dealers where it often is rather quiet. Solidarity, teamwork, commitment and attention to the customer – these are the basic principles of all employees. This is the company’s biggest asset. When a farmer arrives asking for help, no-one leaves the place until the customer is satisfied – regardless of the working hours. No wonder that a lot of customer relations go back over 15 years“, Petja Dainova summarises.
But what is it like to run such successful family business? Meliha Ayretlik answers with a smile: “It is challenging! But when it comes to the future of Agrotron-M, all decisions are strictly business! As different as we may be, each member of the management contributes his/her knowledge and skills and thus to the successful development of the company. I hope and trust that this will continue in the future!“
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