The following article is based on Ben Garton's presentation at the 2019 Dealership Minds Summit. To watch the presentation, click here.

“I’ve seen more engagement of guys selling construction that would typically just stick in their little lane in ag. They’re more comfortable because they’re not having to go through the price books. When you have a quote tool, that makes it less intimidating.”

That’s Ben Garton, chief marketing officer of Garton Tractor, speaking on the benefits of bringing technology to his sales team. Garton describes how tools like Wix and PandaDoc have engaged and motivated his sales staff to take ownership of their online leads and better vet them for quality. He also shares some of his best practices for how to rejuvenate online sales and what programs work best for rewarding responsive team members.

Garton first outlines the ways he’s tried to achieve peak productivity. The first method is what Garton calls the “cookie-jar” method. By placing all leads into a CRM, the sales team should take each lead as it comes and treat them with equal priority. Garton found the opposite was true. Good leads went quickly and small sales would sit.

Recognizing a need for change, Garton and his team tried the “quarterback method.” Sales managers would collect leads and forward them on to salespeople to follow up. However, the leads would often remain in the inboxes of busy managers, resulting in sales staff getting requests that were already several days old. 

Trial by fire helped Garton devise his current plan: giving leads to a select group of enthusiastic salespeople to function as a dedicated online sales team. These employees are actively engaged in the posting of equipment for sale and respond quickly to online leads. This both ensures the appropriate salespeople are getting the online requests and pushes staff to be more proactive in online selling.

“One thing since last year we’ve done,” says Garton, “is staff who are handling online sales leads are now helping with posting the equipment online. They are taking pictures. We’re allowing them to post their information, their cell phone for texting and their direct email link ... They are owning the process.”

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To watch video of Ben Garton’s (Garton Tractor) presentation on dealership best practices, visit, courtesy of DeLaval.

In addition to salespeople being able to customize equipment postings, under this system, customers’ emails are collected in a general inbox, allowing Garton to immediately pass them on to sales staff for following up.

Benefits of Tech in Sales

Garton highlights how the salespeople will often see benefits on the front end of these systems. For example, Garton cites Wix’s website building abilities and the website’s user-friendly app as a part of his sales team’s comfort in online posting. A little convenience and intuitive design can make the difference between enthusiasm and dread when moving sales online.

Garton mentions that as OEMs push their own quoting tools on dealers, it can be difficult to maintain unity in a dealership’s brand image. To help, he recommends PandaDoc, a click point price tool (CPQ) that his team uses to create quotes and upsell to their customers, including virtual walkaround tours of the equipment right from the PandaDoc quote.

PandaDoc allows dealers to upsell options (left), give virtual product tours (right) and even accept e-signatures.

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“PandaDoc can embed videos, brochures and allows upselling,” says Garton, “I can sell you a compact tractor with a loader, then I can include options have it priced in there. If a salesperson sells a compact tractor and the guy wants a mower or something in addition to the compact tractor, he can just click the item in the catalog and it will dump over and be on his quote.”

Digital Tools for Dealerships

  • PandaDoc – Click Price Quote (CPQ) tool, generates quick by scanning QR codes. Allows for up-selling options. 
  • Wix – User-friendly website management tool; app allows sales team to be active in online sales
  • Trello – CRM for convenient management of leads and sales, allows salesperson to track a sale’s status in the shop.

Garton discusses how the tech even sparks friendly competition among staff. In addition to allowing staff to compare the interaction certain equipment posts get (letting them adjust their approach on future posts), a generational divide can be bridged with online sales. Younger salespeople can help the older generation learn the newer tech, while gaining the older generation’s knowledge, says Garton.

“Say we have an older salesman who doesn’t do anything online, handwritten everything. When he gets a trade in for a forage harvester that might be going overseas, he’ll actually get with our younger sales team and have them post it online and help show him what to do. It’s built some camaraderie between the young guys and old guys.”

What Sets Top Sales Performers Apart

Garton points out that most dealerships have a “top dog” — a key sales person that heavily out performs others. When looking at these key employees, Garton notices a defining feature is an unmatchable bank of equipment pricing knowledge. Those with the fastest, most accurate quotes, says Garton, are your key earners.

“This is how our sales team looks by sales volume. This guy over here is number 1. He sells the volume of numbers 2, 3 and 4 combined,” says Ben Garton. “Here’s our line of the minimum amount to do to keep your job. What’s driving this performance gap? It comes down to the processes. The number 1 guy has been in the industry a while and has processes built out for managing his leads and sales.”

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“The top guy has a library of quotes already premade for everything that hits the lot. A guy walks in, boom: here’s your quote. It lowers their transaction time, and it makes the customer feel more comfortable like you know what you’re doing.”

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8 Factors for Cultivating & Promoting a Professional Culture of Excellence

Compensation Plans: A Tale of Two Dealerships

Van Wall Equipment’s Formula for Clear Sales Strategy

No Sales Left Behind: Using Tech to Boost Your Sales Team

Ritchie: Create a Team of Solution Sellers

Feed Your Sales Team — A Presentation From Shawn Skaggs

The On-Farm Visit: How to Get the Most from Client Face Time

Redefining Your Sales Mindset

Adding Specialized Product Lines Can Expand Your Customer Base

Getting the Salesforce Out of the Dealership & In Front of the Customer

Purchase Projections: Look Beyond the Sale

3 Ways to Get Your Aftermarket Team to Adopt a Sales Mentality

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