What does it mean to sell with purpose? How can you bring immediacy and purpose to every conversation, no matter what you’re selling? What if success doesn’t just mean one more closed sale, but one more life saved?
Join Andy Paul (Host of Sales Enablement Podcast) and Amy Huseth (CDK Global Inc., Vice President, Marketing & Sales Enablement) for a unique conversation exploring what it means to sell with purpose in the era of COVID-19 and beyond.
Learn how CDK Global Inc is successfully enabling their remote sales teams and why selling with a sense of purpose helps you form stronger and more impactful connections with customers.
Andy Paul: Amy. Welcome to the show.
Amy Huseth: Thank you so much. I’m happy to be here.
Andy Paul: So tell us about what you do, your VP of marketing and sales enablement for.
Amy Huseth: Well I’m, uh, yes, I am the VP of marketing and sales enablement for CDK global and is a technology company and we create and sell hardware and software to dealers. Automotive, recreation, agriculture has heavy construction internationally to help them connect with and serve their customer base.
Andy Paul: So basically anybody that I guess has a dealer network for things that move somewhat, right. Things
Amy Huseth: that move.
Everything from a moped to a Mack
Andy Paul: right. So I imagine that the, at least domestically here in the U S as a lot of those, haven’t been doing any business over the last three months,
Amy Huseth: you know, it’s been tough, but you’d be surprised. Interestingly, the recreation. Um, has been doing well because people don’t have a lot of options to get out, so they want a motorcycle or a boat,
Andy Paul: but dealerships are open?
Amy Huseth: Yeah. So I would say the majority of dealerships, their service departments are open. Um, the sales appointments, the majority are appointment only unless they’re regionally on the East and then they have been completely closed, but they, and us and us are looking for ways for them to do, uh, business virtually.
Andy Paul: Yeah. So if the interesting combination of responsibility is marketing and sales enablement, and generally I’m seeing actually I’m seeing that combination more and more. So what was sort of the thinking about combining those two?
Amy Huseth: I am actually, so I’ve been with the company for 13 years. I’ve had a number of roles and currently. I’m responsible for the majority of departments that do anything to support sales. So I have the marketing, uh, that’s got product marketing, communications, creative. I have the events team for the events for the dealers and internal events. I’ve got the training teams that do the new hire and ongoing training.
I have our solution consultants, sales enablement teams that do the demos for our products during the sales process. And then I have a couple of sales teams that sell layered hats and networks solutions. So that is all under me. And we basically like to say from beginning to end, we support the sales people and our clients so that we, you know, we train, we market, we demo, we sell all the same
Andy Paul: Wow. Yeah. Cause they were looking at the, the, um, range of things that you do. It’s really a soup to nuts for the dealers. I had phone systems, dealer management, systems credit, even right?
Amy Huseth: Sure. We do. When I like to tell people, when you walk into a dealer, anything you see other than their equipment from desks and chairs.
We’ve helped them provide from the day you go on the internet to think about looking for a car, to see what their inventory is, to get your financing and your credit done to having the car delivered. And then later on in the service bay, everything from booking your appointment online to figuring out what needs to be repaired and pulling up warranties. We solve all that.
Andy Paul: So tell us a little bit about the, um, sales force for CDK. How do you guys service your dealers
Amy Huseth: So well, historically, and now it has been a little different, so we’re all over the country and the average rep has anywhere from 60 to 100 dealers
Andy Paul: in the field. These are field reps, right?
Amy Huseth: Yes, yes. Correct. Sorry. We. And we do both inside field reps and inside sales. So our field reps are all over the country. They have anywhere from 60 to a hundred dealers, they work with, you know, our, our salespeople have been around a long time. We have an average tenure of 10 years, but some have been here 20 plus.
So the relationships are really strong. And then in addition to that, they have support on the inside both a network team that helps them with. Things like routers and making sure they have the infrastructure set for the dealers as we sell products to them. And then an inside sales team that helps them with the smaller, layered products that can be sold over the phone.
Andy Paul: And give us an example of those are
Amy Huseth: sure. Those would be things like a credit check or, um, things to help them with inventory. Um, smaller things that the demo can be done over the phone, not bigger purchases, generally under $5,000 a month in purchase price.
Andy Paul: Got it. So what’s the transition been like for your, your field team? And once the shutdown came around,
Amy Huseth: You know, it was interesting when the pandemic started, we honestly did not know what to expect. Um, as I said, historically, our customers base their business on face to face interaction and the majority of our business with them is face to face. Right. But our sales team actually found itself busier than ever. A lot of it, I think was due to the relationships we have with our dealers that have been longterm. So we truly became their partners during this time, helping them figure out how to continue to grow their business, you know, in this virtual world, which was new to many of them. Um, and then we’ve also been focusing a lot on the products that had been on the, been there the whole time, but not really a focus. All of the ones that had can help the dealer do business virtually.
Andy Paul: Well, so what would those be? For example?
Amy Huseth: Yeah, sure. So, um, everything from some of the, my network team who sells the VPNs and the routers and they needed to beef those up for the infrastructure. And we have our big product right now that we have a huge initiative with called connected store.
And it’s exactly what it sounds like. It connects the dealer with their customers virtually so that they can do everything from. Look for the car, check their credit. Uh, do a virtual. I’m sorry, a virtual check of the car. They can do everything, but test drive the car and then have it delivered to their door without ever stepping foot in the dealership.
Andy Paul: So this is really your sort of, it sounds like from this and correct me if I’m wrong, it sounds like you’re facilitating your dealers to be able to compete against all the new services. You know, the online purchase services then.
Amy Huseth: Oh, 100%. Um, you know, and we were CDK is unique because we do have all the integrations from soup to nuts, as you said. So we don’t have to integrate with outside partners. We have them all inside. Um, and I personally bought a car that way. Uh, a few weeks ago, I did it online and they could deliver it to my house. I went to go pick it up, but they said we can just drop it off at your house. It was brilliant.
Andy Paul: But what was the experience like saying, Okay, I’m making the commitment to buy this car without actually having sat in and driven it.
Amy Huseth: So in that case, I did go up and test drive, but what they did is they said it’s putting in the lot. The keys are in the car. Go take it. I I faxed them a copy of my license, and then I came back. I didn’t really see the member, but the rest of it was brilliant. Everybody does so much research on the internet now. They really don’t need to haggle face to face. Nobody looks forward to that. So actually it’s taken a big chunk of time and stress out of the car buying experience in our opinion.
Andy Paul: Yeah. So how are you helping your deals with that with a sort of remote sale where the specific things you guys emphasize that you have in your product set that help them with that?
Amy Huseth: Yeah. So actually we’ve done a number of things as a company to help them. Um, a lot of it has been around the pricing and we’ve priced these products differently. So, for example, we rolled out an initiative that gave away, you know, four of our big products for two months, for them to try, which were integrated phone systems, um, the virtual connectivity to the inventory and, um, the credit that can be done virtually and the pricing.
Uh, those were all sent to the dealers. Look, we’ll give these to you for two months, try them out and see if that helps your business. Um, and then we made the initiative to really unprecedented giveaway the connected store for free to our dealers until 2021. We basically said, you know, it’s really important to us that they stay in business and. Do that we need to do things like this. So we gave away this great product to them for two years to use.
Andy Paul: So hearkening back, something you said earlier is talk about your sellers are trying to help your dealers, not just stay in business, but also grow sales on a normal basis is so what is, what are their interactions or look like when they’re interacting with the dealers?
I mean, sure. It’s not just, “Hey, you know, upsell and cross sell all the time,” but how do you work with them strategically to help them grow their business?
Amy Huseth: So the thing we have been doing is really, we don’t talk about products and we talk to our dealers, we talk about their business holistically. So, you know, we have a conversation like you would with anybody else, you know, what’s your real focus right now?
What are you trying to improve? Where do you think you could be doing more? What are you happy with? What you’re doing right now? And we try to figure out what’s causing them pain. Um, and then we really focus on that and, and how that would look. If we could solve this problem for them now, right now, it’s, traffic’s not coming into the dealership on foot.
We resolve that is that beefing up their internet site is that making their, you know, virtual connectivity better? Is that helping them advertise to show that they are prepared for this pandemic that may continue and change the way they do business. Um, so it is really a discussion. We, we don’t talk about product.
We talk about what their story is, how we can help them. And then what products may support that. And we really do like to be a consultant to them because once again, no one wants to listen to you unless you’ve proven that, you know, and understand what’s going on in their business. We spend a lot of time learning their business.
And these are family businesses that have been passed down through generations. So, yeah. So w which is great. I mean, we’ve dealt with grandparents to parents to now their kids who are taking over the business, which is. Yeah. Cause a lot of interesting conversations as technology.
Andy Paul: So during the shutdown period, so explain sort of what the transition has been for your sellers. Now that I’ve been so accustomed that face to face, how quickly we’re able to transition to virtual selling and what are you sort of set up to do in that regard?
Amy Huseth: So we, we did it very clear that I think like everybody else, everybody had a week of frozen, Holy cow, what does this look like? Right. But we really beefed everything up.
So, you know, a lot of it honestly was with my group really trying to enable them. So my training department, uh, started doing sessions on how to work with people, virtually how to talk over the phone. How did you discovery over the phone? And we had specific training sessions for the salespeople, just on that.
We then had mass training sessions on the products that we knew we needed to focus on like the virtual products. And I marketing team started creating videos on those that they could be sent out 92nd videos to get them in front of the clients. Um, and we’ve been using zoom and a lot of video. Um, our solution consultants have started doing national and regional demos before we were hitting 400 clients a month.
We’re now hitting four to 500 a week because we’re holding mass demonstrations of our products and thought leadership and modern retailing seminars to get people on those. Um, so really we’ve, we’ve hit the plan, honestly. Uh, you know, even during a pandemic in April and may actually had a record month in May for a couple of our big virtual products.
Andy Paul: Hmm.
Amy Huseth: And then likewise, our implementation teams have instilled a virtual install model. Which is brilliant. I mean, it’s something that we had thought about, but this kind of forced our hand and it will really pay off in the future as well. And the feedback has been from our clients. Who’ve had both sides of the coin that they liked the virtual model just as well, if not better. And it took up last time and less resources. So, you know, I think we’ve. Really come out on top of this thing.
Andy Paul: Well, I was going to ask you that question. So now, as we look at, start seeing some opening in various parts of the country, and obviously we’ll see more clearly, hopefully fingers crossed is. Do you see your sellers are changing how their day to day routine is going to go where they’re actually going to be saying, Oh, maybe I spend a little less time in the field. Cause it might be more efficient. And if it’s a better experience for some of the dealers, I’ll do some of those more virtually.
Amy Huseth: Yeah. You know, I, I really think it has. Um, and I think that is great because I think they realize that you don’t need to be in front of the client between the windshield time and the flight time be waste while you and I talked earlier, we love to travel.
It does take tme. Um, so they’re realizing that that’s not the case, that they can get their point across with the technology we have and, and the speaking points. And I think dealers are appreciate it. I know we’ve had higher attendance at all of our virtual webinars, and I think it’s between their needs to know what’s going on in the market and know how to further their business, as well as the fact that they’re not spending time doing some face to face interactions. It frees them up to learn and, you know, help their business out.
Andy Paul: So meaning that they were maybe spending too much time with their sales people before?
Amy Huseth: No, not our salespeople, but I think, you know, when you have people coming into the dealership and you know, they’re kind of, let’s say looking around at cars and spending time, they don’t have as much time to get the other things done, whether that’s a webinar or strategically looking at their business.
I think anyone who owns a business, you get that a lot, someone comes and says, let’s talk about your strategy. Look, I’m just trying to get through today. So I think this has kind of given them a breather and a lot of them have come out with, you know, I’ve had time to think and process, and this is the strategy going into next year and beyond. So let’s work on that together.
Andy Paul: And you said something interesting earlier about teaching people, how to do virtual discovering. Let’s say. What what’s different that you’re teaching them about what they need to keep in mind about doing that virtually as opposed to doing a face to face.
Amy Huseth: So I think, you know, as is obvious, you’re really missing the nonverbal cues and for somebody who deals with people out face to face, you heavily rely on those, right.
And on a call, you don’t have those. So we actually gave a whole session, our few of our top sales people talking about the importance of silence, the importance of open ended questions. Um, the importance of not asking yes and no questions to keep the conversation going, the importance of taking notes. So you don’t have to go back and ask them again, um, little nuances in a conversation that you take for granted when you’re looking somebody in the face.
So I think that’s empowered our salespeople to feel more confident in that, because prior to this, when we would say, why do you need to drive three hours to talk to them? Why don’t you just call them over the phone? And they see no need to get in front of them. I think they’ve felt confidence that they know that’s not the case because they’re still hitting their numbers.
Andy Paul: You’re also interesting points to bring up brought up because I think a lot of people when they get on video, They get self conscious about things they would do if they were in person take notes, for instance, as one is. Yeah. I think people feel that they have to be so focused on the camera, focused on the person they’re talking to. And on video that they’re hesitant to look away and take notes the way they would normally would. And I think that’s of a great, a great reminder, um, because some of the basic disciplines can fall by the wayside.
Amy Huseth: Well, and we’ve talked about really the advantages of being on the phone. I mean, right now I’ve got a couple of notes up in front of me.
They may or may not be applicable, but when you’re on the phone, you can have cheat sheets, you can have notes around. Especially if it’s regarding a product and somebody asks you a question, we’ve literally given them ways to hold off on a conversation while they’re Googling somebody or reaching out to somebody on a chat, say how many users can go on this product?
You know, something when you’re standing in front of you, can’t do so we’ve actually shown them how this is more powerful and creates more of a support system with them while they’re in front of the dealership, because you have people backing you on chat. And everything else gives you the information you may need, where otherwise you have to say, I need to check on that and get back to you.
Andy Paul: So really for, for you I’m this, this could really be this meaning the pandemic. And I think it has been for other companies too, is it actually could be quite transformational in the way that you service or your customers.
Amy Huseth: You know, really, um, you know, I always try to look at the bright side of things and good things that could have come out of this, um, crazy time. And, and for us, I really see a lot of it from the fact that we have a great CEO who made a number of moves during this time to not only bring our company together more cohesively and feel proud to be part of the company. You know, he did things like. He made a salary until the end of the year $1 and his bonuses $1, that our company stays strong and stays healthy and is there for our clients. Um, you know, he, he does things, like I said, he been given discounts on all the April products. Um, and he, I think we have made a good name for ourselves because our clients truly feel we are a partner with them and we’re in this together.
Culturally, we feel stronger internally. We’re already a really tight knit company. We do call ourselves family and that has been strengthened and it’s forced our hand in some of our technological advances to speed those up and really look at the coming marketplace and how we can be there. And we’ve proven we can do it.
And so I think people have a lot of confidence going into next year and we’re excited about it
Andy Paul: Well that’s an interesting perspective cause you know, most companies are, I talked to them are still a little sort of wait and see type type approach.
Amy Huseth: Well, you know, I think right now the auto dealers are, are starting to open back up, um, they are, it depends where they are in the region. We work nationally really. So a lot of them have a pretty solid outlook and we’re going in and trying to be there for them every step of the way. Um, and we feel like if we succeeded during this unprecedented pandemic, then we can only go up from here.
And I think it’s really made us focus on what’s really important both with our client relationships and with the technology we’re providing.
Andy Paul: Yeah. I mean, when you’re talking about, you’ve had these clients for so long and they’re multigenerational customers, if you will, you guys earlier this week on, on my podcast, out of guests, uh, Robbie Kellman Baxter is written this book called the forever transaction and. And talks about that moment. When your customers take off their customer hat and put on their member hat, you know, they feel like they belong to something. That is, it sounds like that’s the case with
Amy Huseth: you. Yeah. You know, we do. And a lot of our things talk about the CDK family and it’s not just the people who work for us. It’s the people we work with. And I think that’s the thing that we stress. They really aren’t our customers. We work with them. Um, and I would say we all have personal relationships with our clients that we’ve known forever. We know when their kids are being born, when they’re getting married, their softball games, we spend a lot of time with them because with a lot of businesses, but particularly family owned, you know, it’s not just a job for them.
It’s their life. It’s their livelihood. You know, it’s everything for their family. And we understand that. So we go in with that attitude that they’re all part of our family as well.
Andy Paul: So who’s your competition because, I mean, if I remember correctly reading this as in your earlier iterations, I mean, CDK has like grown through acquisition or, uh, cause I wasn’t Reynolds and Reynolds part of what you guys, how you guys got started.
Amy Huseth: Well no, so Reynolds and Reynolds is one of our competitors, we actually were part of ADP.
Andy Paul: I’m sorry. I meant ADP.
Amy Huseth: We’ll be fine. Um, so we, and we broke off about five years ago and we were part of their dealer services. Um, but we are a very small part. So about, I want to say five years ago. Yeah. We had the anniversary this year. We broke off and became CDK global.
Um, and. That actually was part of a digital acquisition that does all our websites, a part of an international acquisition. Since then we have acquired a number of different companies that can add to our portfolio. So at the basis where DMS companies, so dealer management system foundation, and we have a number of competitors out there, Reynolds and Reynolds is one of them.
Um, we have Autosoft we have, um, Cox, we have a number of different companies we compete against within the market. Well, the reason we’re a little unique is we have then either developed or, um, taken on companies that have the smaller products as well, that integrates. So we recently made a great acquisition called eLead, which is our CRM company.
Do exactly what it sounds like they help us, you know, help the dealers create leads. And we’ve now got that integrated into our system. So in the ancillary products, we have the layered, we have a lot of competitors out there, but they may only specialize in that one smaller product. So we’re unique because we’re the umbrella with all the smaller products under it.
Andy Paul: Got it. So about a $2 billion a year company, correct?
Amy Huseth: Correct.
Andy Paul: Yeah, apologize for the mistake earlier. So I really am I early in my career, I, I sold computer systems to auto dealers. Um, it was, I forgot what the. For you, what the application name was. I was working for Burroughs, which was a big computer company at that time now UNISIS but I competed against ADP and Reynolds and Reynolds, sorry for that. That’s where the confusion came from, but
Amy Huseth: sure, no problem.
Andy Paul: Yeah, we didn’t last long in the business. We weren’t dedicated to it. Like, and that was always the thing, right. There was such history that those companies had with auto dealers that we just didn’t.
Amy Huseth: Yeah, it is a niche and specialized market. And I will tell you. I really do feel like the auto dealers know that. So if, if you try to walk in and have a conversation about technology, that’s not what they’re interested in, have a conversation with them about their business. And then that’s where you open the doors to, you know, our relationship.
Andy Paul: Yeah, that did buy two cars though, as a result of selling to auto dealers.
Uh, my first two cars I owned in my professional career. Yeah. Or from customers. So, uh, yeah. Well, my family was, was auto dealers. My mom’s side, my, my grandfather and my uncle owned a Ford Lincoln mercury dealer in a small, small town in Iowa. So runs on the runs in the family,
Yeah. So unfortunately, no longer in the family, but they had it for a long time.
Well, Hey man, I really appreciate you spending the time with us here today.
Amy Huseth: No, thank you so much. It was great talking to you and, uh, you know, I appreciate the chance to come on and talk about what our company’s doing. Cause I’m really excited about it and really proud to be a part of it. Excellent.
Andy Paul: Well, good.
Um, we’ll look forward to doing this again.
Amy Huseth: All right. Take care, Andy. I appreciate it. .