ROI wins ‘Best Innovation in Sales’ at the UK Professional Sales Awards

PSA win


ROI has won the Best Innovation in Sales Award in conjunction with Honda UK, in a hotly contested award ceremony in London last week. Changing the sales process from using conventional Field Team Sales Managers to Virtual Account Management, ROI has helped Honda triple customer contacts, reduce costs and increase year on year sales by over 40% to key customers.

The UK Professional Sales Awards are a unique event which allows UK based businesses to compete for the ultimate accolade of sales professionals and are adjudicated by Cranfield Business School.

Right-sizing Field Teams in a changing digital sales environment

Honda UK shares similar challenges with many other car manufacturers who sell into the B2B fleet sector:

  • Customers with increasingly little free meeting time, with over 20 other car brands fighting for decision-maker attention
  • Increasing availability of information via other communication channels has reduced customers desire to have face to face meetings
  • Expensive to run field sales teams, with difficulties in proving their effectiveness

Numerous research studies, including research from Aberdeen Group Research in 2016, indicate that salespeople only spend about a third of their time engaged in face-to-face selling.

Against this backdrop of salesforce expense and productivity, ROI created an industry benchmarking exercise to explore customer expectations from automotive manufacturers. We discovered that customers increasingly desire a ‘self-service’ approach to gathering product information via the internet, and are now more amenable to video or teleconference to share information with salespeople.

Honda UK worked closely with ROI to find a solution that disrupted the traditional sales approach, creating a unique Virtual Account Management team based at the ROI offices in Nantwich. These replaced the majority of the previous Honda field sales team, leaving two Honda UK personnel on the road to meet with the very largest key accounts.

Jacqueline Rowe, Fleet Engagement Manager for Honda UK commented on the strategic change, “Restructuring the Honda and ROI sales teams to deliver more frequent and relevant customer interactions via web and phone has been responsible for the increase in customer interactions by 96%, in addition to significant savings of both cost and time for customers and salespeople. The shift to the Virtual Account team structure has also enabled customers not previously seen by a salesperson, to receive contact and sales information.”

One customer from a large European manufacturing firm said, “I experienced very little contact in the past from Honda, but in the last 12 months there has been a shift in communications, speed of response and regular updates and I am very happy to report that I have acquired a CR-V and two Jazz and we are also in the process of acquiring another CR-V.”

Increasing customer access to test drive vehicles through web based platform

To create more opportunities for customers to try the Honda product, ROI also designed an innovative web-based test drive platform, which is now being used by over 100 dealers in the Honda UK network. This system has allowed the test drive fleet to be moved from a single central location to local dealer provision, resulting in an increase of vehicle availability to customers and prospects by 328% and strengthening the link between dealer and the prospect to enable a better sales conversation.

Bespoke B2B Marketing

To increase product awareness, Honda UK Fleet and ROI designed a set of email marketing campaigns and built a new test drive microsite linked to the new system. Traditional fleet marketing has often been a re-work of retail based campaign material but ROI and Honda knew that we had to improve this and deliver bespoke messages to more defined individuals. We were able to segment the data and create different messages, for different products and improve response rates.

This UK Sales Award win follows our success last November at the European Customer Service and Contact Centre Awards when we won Outsourced Partnership of the Year. We are constantly looking at ways to help clients improve customer experience and increase sales. For more information about how ROI can help you shake up your sales processes, please call Simon Fretwell at 07920 803 237.