DEARBORN – Ford Export and Growth (E&G) dealers only have until the end of June to become eligible for a fast start bonus award available through the new Business Preferred Network (BPN) program.
The Ford Export Business Preferred Network program is designed to assist dealers in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Pacific and the Caribbean and Central America with their fleet sales processes. Ford Business Preferred Network dealers recognize the importance each of their fleet customers have within their extended communities and are committed to providing a superior sales and service experience for these fleet, commercial and government customers. “Developing and maintaining long-term relationships with fleet customers is a key to dealer’s success or failure in this growing segment,” says Doug Walczak, E&G Fleet sales manager.
E&G dealers must meet a specific set of program requirements in order to achieve Ford certification as a Business Preferred Network dealer, including:
• minimum fleet sales of 200 units annually (100 by June 30 for fast start bonus award)
• at least one fleet sales consultant and one fleet sales manager core certified in STARS (Standardized Training and Resource System)
• one or more fleet demo vehicles registered on the BPN site
• minimum 75 percent of active FIN (fleet identification number) codes must have valid e-mail addresses
• a follow-up date for at least 75 percent of FIN code customers
• completing dealer fleet self-assessment and business plans, reviewing them with E&G regional personnel and uploading to the BPN web site
Walczak says ongoing communication with customers will be instrumental in dealers who achieve certification retaining that designation. “Establishing a regular and recurring follow-up process with each fleet customer is a key to dealer success in this program.”
About 40 percent of Ford export sales are to fleet customers, and sales of fleet and commercial vehicles are expected to grow steadily, particularly with the introduction of Ford Transit vans and wagons into more markets. “It will be important for our dealers to be ready to offer these great new commercial vehicles to their customers,” Walczak said.
Abel Ortiz, Ford Caribbean and Central America Fleet sales manager, said dealers there are excited to further partner with fleet customers to help them achieve their goals. “This BPN program will help all of our dealers increase communication with their fleet customers and open up new fleet sales and service opportunities.”
Since the program’s launch earlier this year, response from E&G dealers has been positive. Bill Vega, vice president of Autos Vega Ford/Lincoln in Puerto Rico, said they’ve found the BPN site to be a useful tool to track and follow fleet customers and sales personnel and their interactions. “It functions as a CRM tool focused on the fleet business, while at the same time it is a management tool that helps us better allocate our sales efforts and resources,” he said. “Just the capability to have a single customer database we can refer to is a big advantage and a time-saver. We can track both leads and sales in a very convenient and clear manner.”
Each dealership has its own dashboard, complete with key metrics to help manage and monitor business growth; fleet performance reports, including a scorecard for key sales and operations metrics and a status report on whether they’re meeting BPN requirements; and multiple tools to help them stay in contact with customers and identify sales and service opportunities.
Dealers meeting BPN program requirements by June 30 will receive a fast start bonus award of $5,000 or $10,000. They have until the end of the year, however, to meet the program requirements to become a Ford Export Certified Business Preferred Network dealer for 2014.