Reynolds & Reynolds is a $1 billion company headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, which provides integrated information-management solutions to the automotive retail marketplace. Its products include retail and enterprise-management systems, networking, e-business applications, web services, CRM, consulting, and leasing services. The Enterprise Solutions Group at Reynolds manages strategic accounts. Enterprise Solutions has 15 partnership executives, and they work with the 20 largest automotive retail and distributor groups in North America, helping them achieve outstanding business results. Enterprise Solutions accounts generate more than $90 million in annual revenue.
The account in this case is Southeast Toyota Distributors (SET) based in Deerfield Beach, Florida. It is one of the most respected automotive companies in the world, with exclusive distribution rights to market new Toyotas in the southeastern United States. SET has 163 dealer locations that outperform all others in the industry, regardless of brand, in nearly every measurable category—sales per outlet, profit per outlet, dealer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction. SET also owns two other companies that offer financial services, such as insurance and extended warranties, to more than 1,500 retailers. SET and its affiliated companies have annual sales of $7 billion.
In 1997, Reynolds' Enterprise Solutions Group started working with SET, helping it achieve its business objectives. Gary Coveyou, the Reynolds' SET Account Manager, created a dedicated account team for SET with Reynolds employees from the following areas:
Sales and Marketing
Service and Support
Automark Web Services
Project Management and Development
Reynolds CRM Services
Reynolds Software Solutions
At Reynolds & Reynolds, strategic account management is not simply a sales initiative. It is clearly a business initiative. With this team, Coveyou developed an account playbook for SET that laid out how Reynolds needed to sell, deliver, and support its business solutions. The SET account team realized from the start that it is just as important to build solid relationships as it is to deliver great technical solutions.
The SET account team realized from the start that it is just as important to build solid relationships as it is to deliver great technical solutions.
Reynolds had started the relationship before 1997 by selling to individual SET dealerships its dealer management system, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for automotive dealers with accounting, inventory, vehicle management, CRM, and other functions. In 1997, Coveyou and his account team sold SET corporate on the benefits of working with Reynolds & Reynolds to develop the next generation of its dealer management system. Because it was a critical step in its long-range strategy, Southeast Toyota dealers then bought the current Reynolds & Reynolds dealer management systems. Both firms realized that such an alliance would lead to greater business results for many years. Coveyou had seen that Southeast Toyota was the perfect partner—and a marquee account—for such joint development.
By 1999, Reynolds had installed its current dealer management systems in 80 percent of SET dealerships. While installing these systems, Reynolds people were also interviewing more than 200 SET associates to capture their requirements and develop the functional specifications for Reynolds' next generation of solutions and services.