In the farm equipment industry, CRM continues to evolve, and most are using some form of CRM in their business. At the same time, the industry is still not using CRM in all the ways it can just yet. Dealers recently discussed their thoughts and approaches to CRM during the 2018 FEMA Marketing & Distribution Convention.

Dealers are welcome to any leads that come from their manufacturers, says B.J Knutson, Titan Machinery, Fargo, N.D. Dealers want to see the data that is being generated. Doing so allows them to see how to handle leads. Having a salesperson who does not record their contacts and/or appointments in the notes or worksheet is not useful to dealers. They need to follow up and rate leads for themselves and for manufacturers so a customer is not lost.

“One of the requirements with that lead is that we follow up and we rate it,” says Jay Funke, Del-Clay Farm Equipment, Edgewood, Iowa. “We can actually go into our system and say we talked to John Doe, and John says, ‘Yeah, I'm going to be buying a new skid loader, but it’ll be in 6 months.’ We can mark that in the system.”

Key Advice for Handling Leads:

  1. Have a strong online presence
  2. Makes sure salespeople are recording contacts/appointments
  3. Follow up and rate leads
  4. Provide feedback on the leads to manufacturers

At Titan Machinery, Knutson noted some leads from manufacturers used to go directly to salespeople and they weren’t always followed up on by the salesperson or they got lost along the way. Now, Titan handles the leads centrally to make sure they are addressed.

“In the old days when they checked that little card in the magazine, we had one guy who checked every card and we got every lead from every manufacturer – same guy,” says Mike Wiles, who moderated the panel. “Now your leads are generated online. They're online looking for something. That's a real prospect.”

For dealers, figuring out a process of taking leads from the person who physically checks off every box to the person who is buying online is key. Dealerships and manufacturers need to figure out who determines which lead is qualified and what the next steps are from there.

Dealers also discussed how the presence of social media and the internet in general has created a different environment. As more farmers are looking online and as more are younger, online presence becomes more important. More and more farmers in the field are online and are using the internet to look for something they need, be it parts or information. Now, most dealerships are on at least one social media site, usually Facebook, and many have been going through the process of updating their websites.