It’s About Strong Partnerships
John Deere received the Equipment Dealers Association’s 2020 Dealer’s Choice Award in the Full-Line Manufacturer category, which marks the fourth time they’ve clinched the top spot. “The competition is always strong, so winning the Dealer’s Choice Award is an honor,” says Travis Becton, Director of U.S. Sales for John Deere. “Dealers assess the manufacturers’ support for their businesses, and John Deere is proud to be recognized for supporting them.”
For the company, the survey confirms areas they know they are excelling in, but also reinforces areas where they can continue to get better. “It’s a barometer of how we are doing, and it’s something we use in conjunction with feedback we get from dealers that gives us a pulse on the business,” says Becton, who spoke on behalf of the larger John Deere team.
A Culture of Can-Do
“The world depends on you, you can depend on us,” is not just a statement on the John Deere website, it goes to the heart of how the company views both their dealers and end customers. It’s about strong partnerships, Becton explains: “When a farmer thinks about John Deere, they don’t think about a place in Moline, Illinois. Instead, they think about their local dealer.” To that end, the company focuses on supporting the dealers and strengthening those partnerships to support customers across the world.
In a typical year, the feedback from the EDA Dealer’s Survey is augmented by advisory meetings, conventions and scheduled visits—in essence, a range of touchpoints for the team at John Deere to interact with dealers. But as we all know, 2020 has not unfolded in a typical way. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended much of life as we know it, including how most businesses have been able to function and run.
Currently, John Deere has many team members like Becton working remotely and connecting through virtual meetings. And as essential businesses, very few dealerships were ever shut down, he says. But the pandemic has pushed the company into new ways of doing business in an accelerated fashion.
“It has reinforced strategies we already had in place,” says Becton. The company had technology-forward ways for dealers to interact with customers, and the current environment accelerated their use. For example, John Deere Connected Support uses machine telematics to proactively diagnose and alert dealers before a customer notices a problem with their machine. When combined with online parts capabilities, it allows dealers to meet customer’s service and parts needs in a safe and distanced way.
New Ways of Doing Business
And as the country transitions to new ways of doing business with social distancing, the company is working with the understanding that there is a wide range of expectations from dealers and customers. “We acknowledge the considerations and needs are unique to each individual,” he says. “As a company, we respect that, while still helping to feed, clothe and shelter the world.” In addition, Becton talked about how many great things—large and small—their dealers are doing to help their local communities through these unprecedented times.
As the company looks ahead to the coming year, they plan on maintaining their first-place position in the Dealer’s Survey. It’s not an easy task. “Each manufacturer needs to remain focused on every area that’s covered in the survey,” says Becton. “You are only as good as your weakest link.” And to that end, he says that John Deere remains focused on “the partnership with our world-class dealer channel and supporting them to best serve the needs of all customer segments.”
About the Awards
The EDA Dealer’s Choice Awards are based on the results from the annual EDA Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey, which received input from 2,200 dealer participants in all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces to rate up to seven manufacturer lines they carry in 12 key business categories ranging from product quality to customer service. Manufacturers participating in the survey are classified in one of four different categories: full-line, short-line, tractor and outdoor power equipment.