Škoda plans to more than double the number of local business development managers (LBDMs) in its dealer network.
Škoda head of fleet Henry Williams (pictured) told AM sister title Fleet News: ”We really went in with a sophisticated LBDM programme three years ago.
“We said ‘right, we’re investing this money here, we want to increase our local business sales and we’re going to run it for three years and then we’re going to review it’.
“So that three years is now coming to an end and what we’re doing at the moment is looking at that and saying ‘well, is it the best in the industry?
“If it’s not then it needs to be’ and making the investment required to develop that.”
Škoda has 20 LBDMs, dealer-based sales representatives, selling to local businesses with sub-25 vehicle fleets.
It is going to increase the number to 45 by the end of next year.
The LBDMs, and participating dealers, will be given resources to ensure the customers they are dealing with are looked after in the “Škoda way”. It will entail training.
“We’re going to be managing national recruitment to ensure we have the right people, we’re going to be mentoring, coaching them through it, providing them with a class-leading lead management system so they can make the most out of their area and have the best relationship they can with their customers, in the same way we do with our own area fleet managers.”
Williams said small fleet was one of the hardest parts of the market to get growth in because of the volume of fleets and contacts that need to be established.
“But I’m very clear that our route to that is through our local business development managers as people on the ground having those face-to-face conversations with end-user customers.”
Recruiting the additional dealers
Škoda has asked for key dealers to volunteer to part of the programme.
“That’s been successful already.
“We’ll also be going out to them through the rest of this year for that recruitment so we’ll get that number, that’s a certainty.
“Our dealer network sees the value in this programme.
“The dealers who are already on it are very vocal about how good it is and how it compares to the rest of the manufacturer world and so I don’t envisage any issues with that .”