Two types of clients: Direct and Indirect

Posted in — Lessons Learned > Sales
September 23, 2017

In terms of marketing techniques, CBAs proved to be effective at selling and providing technical advice on drip kits to direct and indirect clients.

As part of the Scaling-Up Productive Water project, the Burkina Faso team engaged in two different sales methods to deliver micro-irrigation technology (MIT):

  • A social enterprise model selling directly to consumers through Conseillers de Business Agricole (CBAs), based on iDE’s Farm Business Advisor model. For monitoring and evaluation purposes, we refer to these consumers as Direct Clients.
  • A market facilitation model selling indirectly through other organizations. For monitoring and evaluation purposes, we refer to these end consumers as Indirect Clients.

In a survey conducted in September 2016, iDE’s monitoring and evaluation team sought to describe the two different client groups and explore insights that could be gleaned from the different delivery methods.

Profile of Direct Clients

On average, the clients reached directly were more educated, more urban, with greater economic opportunity, and less reliant on agriculture as their primary source of income. The most effective method of getting them interested in the technology was through peer contact and word of mouth. The demonstration plots, created to market the technology, proved more useful as training centers than advertising. The main barrier to adoption was the price point and the lack of finance options to conceivably overcome that hurdle. For this group, the main benefit of drip irrigation technology is its efficient water use and the time savings compared to traditional water-moving methods.

Profile of Indirect Clients

In contrast, indirect clients engaged in agriculture as their primary source of income, with access to much larger plots of land, but with much lower rates of irrigation. These poorer farmers typically received their drip kits at full or partial subsidy from the organization that had purchased the kits from iDE, as they had little savings to invest in drip irrigation by themselves and no opportunity for finance. Even with the kit, their ability to access water remained an additional barrier to successfully installing the drip kit. This group primarily viewed the drip kit’s potential benefit as increasing their crop yields and incomes.

A CBA checks the header bag full of water that's feeding into the drip irrigation system at the Technology Center in Burkina Faso.

CBAs benefit both client groups

In terms of marketing techniques, CBAs proved to be effective at selling and providing technical advice on drip kits to direct and indirect clients. Of the direct clients that reported receiving CBA support, 80 percent received technical assistance such as kit installation, repair, and maintenance. Three-fourths of direct clients received agricultural advice on topics such as crop planning and produce storage. In terms of frequency, approximately two-thirds of direct clients had between one and ten CBA visits in the past year. Overall, satisfaction rates of CBA services were high, with 92 percent of direct respondents and 100 percent of indirect respondents who received CBA support indicating they were satisfied or very satisfied. 89 percent of direct clients and 100 percent of indirect clients said they would recommend their CBA to a neighbor or friend.


Shared obstacles

A key takeaway, however, were the shared obstacles and needs reported by both groups. Both groups addressed the need for MIT to be combined with access to water. Additionally, based on client feedback, the support received from CBAs was essential to their success with the technology.

Both groups reported on the lack of loans available to help purchase equipment of this type, which is more expensive than they can afford by themselves.

Tagged — Burkina Faso
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