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AM Awards 2021 winner: Best Sales Team, Marshall Mercedes-Benz of Southampton

Gemma Rolf (centre), general sales manager, Marshall Mercedes-Benz of Southampton, collected the award from AM news and features editor Tom Sharpe

A motivated team working dynamically to meet its goals to exceed the expectations of its customers and managers secured the AM Awards 2021’s Best Sales Team award for Marshall Mercedes-Benz of Southampton.

Starting from a £95,027 profit on their return from furlough in May – some £292,122 behind budget – the team set out to deliver its full-year profit of more than £1 million but smashed that budget by 10% in just more than six months.

The dealership’s AM Awards entry detailed how its workforce showed flexibility, resilience and imagination to adapt to what was an “unknown sales environment”.

Initially focussing on used cars and click and collect, and establishing a temporary covered outside handover area to facilitate the process, the sales team closely referenced a live daily spreadsheet to guide their focus on new or used cars each day after Mercedes removed its sales targets.

The shift in mindset meant vehicles need not be undersold at a time when replacement new and used car stock was hard to come by.

General manager Lee Taylor said the strategy succeeded in growing margin and pride in the product.

New car retained margin rose from almost £400 year-on-year in 2020 and used car retained margin by more than £500 as 515 new and 804 used vehicles were sold – down 325 on 2019.

Improved profit did not come at the expense of customer care, demonstrated by a CSI score of 97.37%.

Embracing digital, sales executives liaised with customers using video-conferencing, while its sales support executive produced tours of various Mercedes models which could be sent out alongside presentations detailing associated insurance products.

Marshall Mercedes-Benz of Southampton also came top of all Marshall’s 122 locations for profit from finance and insurance in 2020.

Furthermore, the adoption of a ‘buddy system’ among sales executives allowed the dealership to adopt an ‘always on’ approach to customer enquiries.

Taylor said this also guaranteed his hardworking team time to switch off from the business, knowing a colleague would handle requests in their absence.


Highly commended

Hendy Used Car Tunbridge Wells

The latest AM industry special issue

The complexity of running a modern dealership can be misunderstood easily by people looking in on our industry.

Any general manager has so many plates to spin, and they must foster a talented team that they can rely on to not just do the basics well, but to sprinkle some magic on top that customers can notice.

If the marketplace in 2023 is steadily returning to relative normality, this normality now includes the drive to find customers for an increasing supply of electric vehicles, and the need to source used cars from all channels and market them carefully. And of course there are the desires to delight consumers with an omnichannel experience and to hold on to decent margins after a couple of years of strong profitability.

The expectations of both the customer and the business’s stakeholder must be achieved to the optimum level.

In this special digital publication, industry experts, prominent suppliers and franchised dealers share their insights on the major aspects required in running a modern dealership well.

Read now

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