“I would like to be able to get us to a position where we are working a lot closer with milk buyers to help them understand our products and services, so we are working in the supply chain from the top down."
A day in the life of Gareth Mitchell
For Gareth Mitchell, being a Regional Business Development Manager at Cogent involves business to business networking, sales team support and providing technical backup.
Gareth grew up in a family of farm workers, so farming has always been a big part of his life. He studied Countryside Management and Environmental Conservation at Duchy College, and this led to him taking on a role within an estate management company before working on a beef suckler farm on Dartmoor for four years. Gareth then joined Bridgeman’s Agricultural Merchants, Devon, where he held several positions, including animal housing and handling facilities specialist.
Gareth joined Cogent in August 2021 to cover the South region. He says this was a decision he made to progress his career within agriculture in a sector he feels is vital for the future of the industry, paired with a desire to help farmers improve efficiency and increase profitability.
He says: “Genetics is a very strong part of agriculture. If you look at the forecast for farming, genetics is going to play a massive part, and it gives you the opportunity to really add value on farm."
Gareth says the main aim of a Business Development Manager (BDM) is to develop business relationships and brand and product recognition, and this is achieved using a two-pronged approach - working within trade networks as well as a farm customer database.
“We work closely with a number of key industry stakeholders including milk buyers to explain how our breeding programmes, and the products and services we provide can benefit them and their producers from an efficiency and profit perspective as well as from a customer perception perspective.
Internally, this aim is achieved by providing technical backup for the Genetic Consultants where they may require more in-depth knowledge on products and services such as PrecisionCOW collars, colostrum and PrecsionDNA genomic testing or the running of the PrecisionMAP portal for example.
“As a BDM you are there to support the sales team so you will do a lot of dual calling with Cogent’s Genetic Consultants and also providing training and support for new starters,” he adds.
Gareth sees plenty of opportunity for self-development within his role and he aspires to further his in-depth product knowledge to allow him to offer more value when on farm with colleagues.
He says: “I would like to be able to get us to a position where we are working a lot closer with milk buyers to help them understand our products and services, so we are working in the supply chain from the top down.
“I think there is also an opportunity to work more closely with agricultural colleges and universities to help educate students doing degrees and agricultural courses on the real value of genetics and how it can benefit them when they get out into the working world. Many of these people are the future of agriculture and the next generation of farmers.”
Gareth says one of the most rewarding parts of his role is helping to create leads for the sales team.
“Having stands at shows, farm open days and vet conferences are great opportunities to network, meet new people and explain the product and services we offer, we get a lot of enquiries for the sales team to follow up this way,” he says.
The role of Business Development Manager would suit someone who is very approachable says Gareth, a major part of the role is working with the Genetic Consultants, and they need to be happy to work with the regional BDM.
“You will need to be confident because it does involve speaking to a lot of groups of people – you have to put yourself out there a bit.
“You also need to be able to work on your own initiative, there is quite a bit of variety in the role, so you have to be able to manage your own time.” Adds Gareth.