Interview with Russell Marine on Driving Accountability, Efficiency and Effectiveness in Sales

Interview with Russell MarineThe success of any business hinges on the effectiveness of its sales personnel, so if the sales team is not up to the task, then the whole business will be in jeopardy.

With five state-of-the-art marinas in central Alabama, and potentially more on the way, Russell Marine has proven to be a very successful business. One of the biggest reasons why it remains that way is due to its talented sales team that delivers top performance in all the areas that count – from great sales results to excellent customer service.


However, it’s not just talent that makes the Russell Marine team so effective, but the tools it has at its disposal. We’ve recently had the chance to sit down with Justin Howard, the Sales Consultant at Russell Marine, and ask him what makes his dealership so good at driving sales. Find out what he had to say in our interview with him below.


What can you tell us about Russell Marine and your job here?


Justin: “We’re a boat dealer located in central Alabama. We have four locations on Lake Martin, and one up on Smith Lake.

As for my involvement, I started back in 2009 as a dock hand and then moved up through the ranks – from dock hand to Service, and then into Sales. So, I’ve seen just about every bit of the marine lifestyle here.”


What would you say separates Russell Marine from other dealerships?


Justin: “We’re pretty blessed – we’re on the prettiest lake, I believe, in the Southeast. The location is key, and a lot of people come up for the brands we carry, and also the lifestyle that we provide for our customers.”


Can you tell us a little bit about your role at the dealership?


Justin: “I’m in boat sales as a Sales Consultant. My job is to find the correct boat for the customers and help them purchase it – or rather, help them turn their dreams into reality.”


What would you say are some of the biggest challenges when it comes to your work?


Justin: “The biggest challenge is finding the correct product for the customer and keeping the previous customers happy by staying in touch with them long after the sale.”


How do you deal with unhappy customers?


Justin: “First off, I try to resolve the issue – I don’t just leave it dangling. I accomplish this by trying to understand the customer’s side of things – to learn the reason for their unhappiness, so that I can do something that would make them happy.”


What would you say makes a successful Sales or Customer Service team, and why?


Justin: “It starts off from the top. You’ve got to have great management, and then the management has to lay the foundation for the rest of the business – including hire good employees, instill reliable processes and so on.”


When did you implement IDS’ Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, and what was the initial reason for doing so?


Justin: “We implemented CRM about four to five years ago to simplify lead management and reporting. We had our own manual system for this before, but we wanted to reduce the number of actions our salespeople had to take to get their jobs done, so we decided to implement the CRM.”


What was your personal experience of using the CRM for the first time like?


Justin: “At first, it was aggravating, because I knew very little about it, but once I learned more about it, it became easy. After all, first you crawl, then you walk and finally you run.”


On that note, what was the training like?


Justin: “It’s been great. In fact, earlier this month, an IDS employee came down and helped us with some things. We actually did a day-long meeting, during which they showed us how to work the system correctly. They were here the full week, going over Sales on one day, Service on the next day and so on. It was very helpful.”


How does IDS help you with your daily tasks and challenges?


Justin: “It keeps my to-do list in order, which keeps me on track, and it allows me to perform most of my tasks more effectively.


Following up with customers is the biggest thing for me, and with IDS, all you have to do is schedule your follow-ups, and the system will do the rest. Very quick and easy.

CRM also helps our management by automatically keeping track of other salespeople to make sure they’re doing their jobs.”


What are your thoughts on the IDS Mobile App?


Justin: “It’s great – I have it on my phone. It helps me, mainly, at boat shows, because I can enter a lead into the IDS system from my phone, right then and there.”


What would you say is the biggest benefit of using Mobile App?


Justin: “Follow-up. Since time is of the essence, you want to follow up with that customer as soon as you can, as soon as that’s hot on your mind. With the Mobile App, I can do that straight from my phone instead of trying to find a laptop or a computer somewhere.”


In what way has IDS changed your professional life?


Justin: “It helped me keep up with my progress by showing me where I should spend more time and where I fall short. It also helped me better myself as a Sales Consultant and to be better with my customers. It’s a tremendous addition to my professional life.”

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