This is Part 1 in a two-part series.
Direct and open communications with OEM suppliers can be a vital part of the management process. Randy Tye, who served as vice president of inventory management for Mazergroup, was responsible for overseeing the largest New Holland dealership group in North America, one that encompassed 18 locations and more than 300 employees across Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan. His job was to ensure that he had the right equipment on the lot. Ask anyone in that position today–it’s a very challenging job in a market where supply chains are stretched thin.
A veteran with more than 4 decades of experience in the equipment marketplace, Tye shared how during his time with Mazergroup he promoted and encouraged sharing of information among dealership management, sales staff, and OEMs.
OEMs want to know what’s moving and what’s in demand. And dealerships want to know when the equipment they are quoting to customers will be available for delivery. Tye explains that the system that was in place worked but was cumbersome and added to the workload of his sales managers.
“The manufacturer representative would call our sales managers on Friday afternoon to get a report on the sales activity,” Tye says. “That’s just good business because everybody wants to know what’s going on, including how many products are being quoted, is sales activity good or slow, or what incentive programs may be on the horizon.”
“We decided that we should be sharing that information with New Holland more directly, so we started to provide our sales information automatically,” Tye says. “With the exception of our customer information, we would share information like what units we were quoting, what units were being sold and our projected sales activity.
System proves its worth
Tye implemented a system nearly a decade ago, and it proved its worth. He added other manufacturers to the system and noticed significant advantages in helping salesmen provide the best service to customers.
Tye says it’s a win-win situation for the dealership and the OEM. “I’ve spent the majority of my career talking about tools that can aid salesmen and make them more professional,” he says. And a key step in this process is to deliver products in a timely fashion.
The program Tye builds captures all relevant information on the sales process, including information on trade-ins as well as all data on the tractor being quoted. Sharing this information has added benefits to the sales staff. “If the regional manager sees that we are working on a quote for a specific piece of equipment, he can alert us if there are any discounts available,” Tye says. “For example, there’s a quote on a certain model tractor on a Friday and he has a target program that will be implemented on Monday for that model tractor. With our system he knows who to contact immediately to say there’s an extra discount that may be coming from the manufacturer.”
That knowledge in a competitive environment can make the difference in closing the sale.
Tye understands that there may be some hesitancy when it comes to sharing sales information to OEMs. “But there is a way to be proactive in sharing information with the OEM that provides critical information that benefits the OEM and benefits the dealership,” Tye says. “We have seen first-hand how this program helps us close sales.”This proactive sharing of information on the sales process has proved very helpful. Tye stresses that data shared does not include customer information. “We are careful to safeguard customer information,” Tye says. “We are very protective of what we share with the OEMs.”
“Throughout my career I have worked with OEMs and treated them as a partner,” Tye says. “Sharing this information benefits our dealership and the OEM because we both want the same thing: increased sales and satisfied customers.”
Timely information to customers
Having this kind of sales data available to sales staff across multiple locations has proven to be a valuable resource in ensuring timely and efficient quotes to customers, as well as sharing critical sales and marketing data to help manage inventory and lock in additional sales. Instant information on what is on the lot, the status of orders from OEMs, and what quotes are out on equipment is shared, taking the place of endless phone calls. Tye says on example would be if his dealerships are losing out on sales of balers. He can look at the information across the dealerships to determine the reasons for the lost sales, and share that information with the OEMs. “Perhaps it’s a new incentive that is needed to be more competitive,” he says. “We can make those determinations faster with all the information in one place.”
Tye notes that the information shared helped him pinpoint areas where he could work with the sales staff to drive more sales. “If we found that we are losing sales on certain products, we could look at our sales data and share with the OEM what is happening in the market,” Tye says. “If our regional manager knows we were quoting a specific machine and he could pick up the phone and tell our salesman that there’s an incentive available, he could offer that to the customer.”
And because the sales systems are integrated, information is available in an instant, without a series of phone calls, emails or paperwork that takes time and effort. Because speed and efficiency can make the difference.
Randy Tye has spent his entire career in the agricultural equipment industry, working in a variety of sales and management positions and with major equipment OEMs. Tye recently brought his industry expertise to the Iron Solutions sales team.Want to learn more? Fill out the form below: