New Holland is setting the pace in e-marketing with a new program to more easily capture and manage sales leads for its dealers.
(Editor’s Note: This is a follow-up article to “Virtual Stores: The Next Generation of Dealership Marketing,” February 2010 Farm Equipment,
Without question, the Internet is creating new sales opportunities for farm equipment dealers. Dealerships across North America are moving quickly toward online sales and lead-generation activities that target customers and prospects who perhaps would never be reached by traditional marketing methods.
“Our customer base is changing from the first-generation farmer, to the second- and now the third-generation,” says David Greenberg, New Holland Agriculture’s senior director of marketing for North America. “This new demographic has been raised in an online world, and they expect to do business online. Our online effortsare in step with these expectations.”
In fact, New Holland has implemented several major online initiatives over the past few months. Last year, the company completed a major overhaul of its consumer-facing website, www.newholland.com/na.
Recently, it launched a new “Build & Price” section that allows customers to configure new machines, check pricing and request quotes from dealers. Marketing messages highlighting special offers and promotions now appear throughout the site. The company also has added a new online parts store that directs customers to local dealers for parts pricing and availability.
All of these upgrades were made with the intent of generating more online traffic — and sales. As this issue of Farm Equipment was heading off to press, New Holland became one of the first manufacturers to target online equipment sales at the dealer level, with the launch of an integrated suite of web-based sales and marketing services called the “New Holland Digital Dealer Program.”
What It’s All About
Digital Dealer was developed by Iron Solutions Inc. of Franklin (Nashville), Tenn. It’s designed to capture sales leads from multiple sources, with a goal of connecting qualified prospects with a local New Holland equipment dealer. The web-based system provides data-mining tools that can drive qualified sales leads to local dealerships through targeted, direct-response marketing.
“The program accelerates the sales dialog between customers and dealers…”
“This new program allows our dealers to manage and receive more sales leads, quote more units and close more sales,” says Greenberg. “Our efforts to drive leads and close sales are now coordinated with our dealers, and the results can be tracked and measured at the dealership. That’s where we close the loop.”
New Holland’s recent initiatives laid the foundation for online lead-generation capabilities at the dealer level. For example, the web site now logs the activities of visitors. Visitors who are serious can use “Build & Price,” a service of Iron Solutions called IRON Builder, to configure a specific machine and check the manufacturer’s recommended pricing. At that point, customers can request a quote by providing contact details.
The Digital Dealer program captures this relevant sales data as customers explore the New Holland site, as well as the dealer’s web sites and online inventory listings. It also makes this data available to the dealers so they can quickly convert these leads into sales.
The program allows dealers to do a better job of managing customer relationships and sales. Dealer staff can easily manage and track leads, customer information, equipment data, trades and actual sales. And with online access to price books and current programs, they can quickly generate and deliver accurate quotes to potential buyers.
“We’re integrating lead management with customer relationship management,” notes Greenberg. “It’s a next-generation approach that will help everyone work together more efficiently, and drive more sales and profits.”
The technology that supports the program comes from a suite of web-based services developed by Iron Solutions. “For equipment dealerships, it’s no longer a question of whether the changes in Internet technologies are coming, but a question of how fast,” says Iron Solutions CEO Darwin Melnyk.
Melnyk explains that the system allows manufacturers to measure the
Iron Solutions’ Darwin Melnyk and New Holland’s David Greenberg announced the Digital Dealer program at New Holland’s National Dealer Meeting in late March.
effectiveness of marketing, and see which activities are driving leads to dealers. And because the system is fast to deploy, easy to learn and flexible enough to accommodate different dealer requirements, dealers will be able to reap the benefits immediately, he says.
“We’re pleased that New Holland has taken this major step to quickly move our sales departments into the digital age,” says David Kleiber, Kleiber Tractor & Equipment, LaGrange, Texas. “With Digital Dealer, we have a system for prospecting, we can get quotes to our customers faster, and as the sales administrator, I can monitor the leads my sales staff gets into the system. Now, we are all on the same page in terms of pricing and trade values for our customers.”
How It Works
For the customer, the online shopping experience can take many forms. They may visit the dealer’s web site, a used-equipment site or a commercial site, to name a few. With the new program, these online shoppers are directed to the Iron Builder section of the New Holland site that allows prospects to build and price equipment and request quotes.
To encourage customers to request a quote — and submit their contact information — the site may offer an incentive on the same equipment.
This establishes an online dialog with customers who are in the market to buy a particular unit. If they’re looking to trade, they can enter that information. The service then captures what they’ve configured. They select a nearby dealer. And step by step, the system qualifies potential leads. Inquiries are then presented to New Holland, who routes them to dealers.
For dealers, it’s all about benefiting from their supplier’s ability to generate leads. This is where, Melynk says, the IRON HQ dealer-facing program kicks in. When the company receives a lead, it is now integrated with the dealer network, and leads are forwarded to dealers, where they can be managed.
All of a sudden, the dealers have a wealth of sales information at their fingertips. The customer has now been qualified, and the dealer knows the specific machine and configuration the customer is interested in.
The dealer can respond quickly with a professional quote, without a lot of other background work. Because the dealer has the customer’s contact information, he can connect with the customer by phone or e-mail. He can talk about the specific model, as well as options, add-ons, and potential up-sells. He can also use the customer’s model configuration to quickly develop quotes that reflect trades, as well as any modifications that may come up during the dialog.
“We’ve moved from a customer thinking about buying equipment to a purchase decision in the course of perhaps a day,” says Melnyk. “It accelerates the sales dialog between customers and dealers, expediting the sale for both. It eliminates manual tasks and gives salespeople more time with their customers, so they can capture more business.”
In addition, the program serves as a sales and customer relationship management service that allows sales managers to route and send messages, capture sales data, develop quotes and manage leads.
“New Holland is now pitching more opportunities to dealers, and their dealers now have the tools to respond,” says Melnyk. “That’s why the program is such a powerful platform for their dealer network — it’s a complete sales management service that makes everything run faster.”
The dealers enrolled in the new program are enthusiastic about its prospects for sales growth, says Greenberg, who announced the program at New Holland’s dealer meeting in March. “We’re in the midst of a change from the spreadsheet to the digital space — and our dealers want to be part of it. They’re committed to using these services to market their equipment more efficiently, draw in more buyers, and move those buyers through the sales process with greater velocity.”
Great Lakes Goes Digital
Dealer Mark Dawson says detailed customer information simplifies his business and provides better service to the farmer.
Mark Dawson, assistant manager at Great Lakes New Holland, a four-store complex based in Mitchell, Ontario, is enrolled in New Holland’s Digital Dealer program so his sales team can anticipate the needs of customers before ever calling on them.
“As a dealer, I can’t be everywhere,” Dawson explains. “I can build a web presence, but I must drive traffic to it. So having this kind of information land on the sales person’s desk makes it easier for our team to work faster and better. Now they’ll be able to spend more quality face time with the customer.
“There’s a life cycle to everything customers’ buy, so it helps to capture that information,” says Dawson. “Customers are very demanding these days, and they expect us to have a better understanding of their business.
“Everybody consumes differently, and understanding these differences is crucial,” he adds, noting the days of sticky notes and cold calls are becoming a thing of the past. “There’s been a real convergence of online technology, and it’s easier to integrate. Today’s customers appreciate this more proactive approach of reviewing information prior to the sales call.”