Manheim is pushing for increased SME business after launching a telesales Bristol-based office alongside its field-based staff.

Focused on fleets with between 10 and 500 cars and “encompassing some local authorities”, the move has seen SME car sales grow by a third year-to-date, while the SME customer base has grown by 10%. James Leese, previously Manheim sales director, manufacturer, who has now also taken on corporate business after the departure of Martin Potter, said the firm is “being much more proactive” with SMEs by using telesales. It has been targeting new and former customers. “We’ve been going over previous info and asking why they stopped using us. And we’ve reactivated 150 accounts since the start of the year,” said Leese.

“Rather than just being a supplier, we are trying to be more proactive. We are much more closely managing their stock to ensure it is going to the correct sales programme, whether that’s a Manheim site or another channel,” added Leese.

A field-based team is also helping branches to find and deal with local SME business.

Meanwhile, the remarketing company has launched a pilot with an unnamed manufacturer involving vehicle refurbishment. As previously, unrefurbished cars will be put through a closed sale and costed so buyers know how much it will cost to be repaired. Now, additionally, after the buyer has purchased a car, Manheim can carry out the work if requested.

Leese said: “The pilot gives the vendor the advantage to pre-sell a car. From their perspective, they may sell more cars off the back of it and don’t have to refurbish themselves. It also means all the cars are coming in the same situation so keeps things simple.

“If successful, we will spread the idea. It would be mostly for customers that don’t refurbish already.”

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