With a new group of rental-oriented products that previously was part of Ingersoll-Rand, Volvo Construction Equipment needed to create a new entity to represent those products to its own rental network as well as other rental companies. Hence the creation of Volvo Rental Sales. RER editor Michael Roth recently caught up with Kale Paulson, national sales manager for the U.S. and Canada for the new entity.
RER: Can you tell us the origin of Volvo Rental Sales?
Kale Paulson: The effort and group developed since the acquisition of Ingersoll-Rand’s Road Machinery Division by Volvo Construction Equipment. Previously with Ingersoll Rand we did a lot of business with the rental channel, specifically with the compaction products. Coming over to Volvo, we brought over not only the compaction products, but a lot of contacts and relationships with the rental channel, with both independent rental companies as well as national rental accounts.
That was kind of the starting point of how we felt we could continue doing business with the rental channel.
I imagine the experience you had working with the rental channel with Ingersoll Rand would be a benefit to Volvo.
We felt like we could bring some value-added experience and competencies to Volvo in terms of calling on and supporting the rental channel as a whole in trying to leverage our current relationships into sales of other Volvo products such as skid-steer loaders, compact wheel loaders, backhoe loaders and compact excavators.
This is a brand new program?
Correct. We put a lot of work and thought into the whole program and process, but our group is new as Volvo Rental Sales. We have three district sales managers in the U.S. and one sales manager up in Canada who are specifically handling the rental channel. In addition, we have the whole Volvo sales organization and our dealer network supporting Volvo Rental Sales and our support of the rental channel. We have had the opportunity to build from the ground up, bringing over the strengths of what we did with Ingersoll-Rand and making the adjustments that we think will help us better serve the rental channel.
What products are you representing?
As of right now we are handling the compaction products that we had handled previously and brought over from Ingersoll Rand, as well as Volvo compact products, which includes compact excavators, compact wheel loaders, skid-steer loaders, and backhoe loaders. We are not currently selling the larger equipment such as the articulating haul trucks, excavators, large loaders and graders, but there may be some opportunity in the future for selling these products to the rental channel.
Will you also represent the compaction products to Volvo Rents franchise entities?
Yes. The franchisee is an entity that makes its own decisions. We’re basically the sales force between Volvo CE and that franchisee to sell and support them on behalf of Volvo CE for the Volvo product. Similar to our other National Accounts partners, we support Volvo Rents franchisees and Volvo Rents corporate the same way. In addition, Volvo has a very good dealer network and we are trying to include them within our overall process to support the rental channel.
What has been the response from Volvo Rents owners and managers?
They have viewed our group as a great asset to them. In the past there was Volvo Rents and Volvo CE but there was really no conduit in terms of a sales force calling on Volvo Rents. We feel like we bring that to the table, just like we do with all the independents and national rental accounts out there too. So they see us as a positive addition.
How do you see your relationship with the rest of the rental channel?
We’re trying to get the word out to the rental channel. We feel like it’s a very important channel and Volvo is very committed to it. Formerly, Ingersoll-Rand had a long-standing relationship with the rental channel. We plan on continuing that tradition and commitment to rental customers within Volvo.
Are you working through dealerships or selling direct?
It’s really a combined effort. Our district managers sell direct as well as work with our dealers. It depends on the respective area, on the local dealer, and on what product groups the local dealer is offering.
So you look for the nearest dealer for delivery?
That’s one option that could work out, but we take every sale on a case-by-case basis. Our dealer organization is very strong and can provide parts and service support on a local basis, so we’re trying to facilitate that and empower that local dealer to fully support the rental channel as a whole too. So that’s another focus, to try and drive not only sales but also drive parts and service support to the rental channel.