MTD Exclusive: Discount Tire Invests in Fleet Service Business
Discount Tire Co., the country’s largest independent tire dealership, is making major investments in its fleet servicing capabilities to help drive more business to its 1,070-plus locations.
The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company is building “a boots-on-the-ground salesforce that will help complement a lot of the great work our stores have done to own (fleet) business in their own backyards,” Chris Adams, Discount Tire’s vice president of B2B, recently told MTD.
The goal is to target contractors, HVAC companies, landscapers, plumbing companies and other specialized service providers “and build relationships by demonstrating our commitment to helping them reduce their total cost of ownership,” he says.
Fleet customers “will have the ability to go through a portal and select preferences, and even pull up history and invoices” of past work.
“At the same time, our local reps will make sure our nearest locations understand how to service our fleet customers," he adds.
Discount Tire also is investing in the team of “fleet specialists” at its Arizona headquarters, who will oversee management and administration of fleet accounts.
“They will perform due diligence from the standpoint of contacting fleet managers and understanding their needs - if there are specific tire products we need to install on their vehicles and things of that nature,” says Mark Marrufo, Discount Tire’s vice president of fleet operations. “That (information) is put in our database and communicated to our stores.”
Marrufo says this centralized approach will help ensure consistency in managing accounts. “What we’ve worked on this year was to get the processes in place and the technology in place, so now we have visibility into all new accounts.”
“Our stores will have visibility as to what to do for that fleet customer,” explains Adams. “So when a representative from a fleet comes into a store, he will have an account number that speaks to (his company’s) preferences.”
“We’re also investing in tools that will help us grow - ensuring we have a robust CRM tool, making sure we have a portal for our customers,” he notes.
Discount Tire is promoting use of AutoIntegrate, which he describes as “an electronic authorization tool - mainly for fleet management companies - that allows us to communicate electronically with the fleet by authorizing tire installations, etc., all in real time," Adams continues.
He says that fleets with “five or more vehicles” will be a “sweet spot” for the dealership.
“We’ve been doing fleet (work) in some form or fashion” for decades, says Adams. “But we’ve discovered that we have some gaps. We think there are specific segments where we can capture market share.”