HDAW 2021 Preview: What to expect from tomorrow’s educational sessions

With a theme like “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.,” it’s safe to assume this week’s Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) educational sessions have been developed with clear audience takeaways in mind.

Solving all the problems independent aftermarket businesses might face cannot be done in a day. But showcasing tactics, strategies and tools that can facilitate solutions is an easier task, and that’s what Steven Bryan, Lindsay Duran and John Blodgett will do during their sessions tomorrow.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Lessons learned from leading through change

Bryan will kick off the presentations as the event’s keynote speaker, presenting in a fireside chat setting with FinditParts CEO David Seewack.

As the former founder and CEO of Vigillo, Bryan says his comments will focus on data and technology and how resources becoming available today could define how the aftermarket changes and evolves in the years to come. A long-time entrepreneur, Bryan says he will lean on his experiences not just with Vigillo but throughout his career to form his presentation.

“The thing we want to focus on is where are we going,” he says. “As we start to come out of COVID, how are our lives and businesses going to change?”

Yet despite a focus on the future, Bryan says his discussion with Seewack will be grounded in the reality of today. His intent isn’t to predict what businesses will look like in 20 years but, instead, shed light on how tools and operational changes happening today are likely to grow in importance in the years to come. He references artificial intelligence (AI) as one example.

“I don’t think people realize how pervasive AI already is in our lives,” he says. “If we can provide concrete examples of how we’re already using it now, it will be easier for people to understand how we can use it in the future.”

Next Generation Selling: The digital transformation of sales

Leveraging tools currently available to drive long-term success also will be the focus for Zilliant Chief Marketing Officer Lindsay Duran in her educational sales training session.

This is Duran’s second consecutive year presenting during HDAW. She says this week’s presentation will touch on many of the same topics she first introduced in Texas last year, including using business intelligence tools to harness data and create better sales strategies as well as how to maintain personal relationships with customers in an increasingly digital sales world. She says the latter has become particularly essential over the last 12 months as so much face-to-face interaction has been replaced by phone and video calls, emails and text messaging.

“How do we extract insights about our customers’ needs from the data we have?” Duran asks. “How can we give them that same level of personalization they are used to?”

Duran will offer some guidance on how that can be done while also offering tips and resources small businesses can consider adopting to improve their digital customer service. She’ll also touch on the importance of a strong, consistent online sales presence, and how it should serve as an extension of a distributor’s brick and mortar operation.

“What is the personalization strategy for your customers?” she asks. “[Distributors] have to think about how they can guide their customers’ actions digitally.”

The 2021 Heavy Duty Aftermarket Industry Outlook

Tomorrow’s educational sessions also will include a deep dive into the North American heavy-duty aftermarket with John Blodgett, vice president of sales and marketing, MacKay & Company. Blodgett and the MacKay & Company team have presented their analysis of the heavy-duty aftermarket at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue for many years, and tomorrow’s presentation will be an extension of those former presentations and what is coming later.

Blodgett says he’s excited to share the company’s insights to the industry. COVID-19 upended a lot of what was expected for the market last year, so Blodgett will go through how 2020’s final numbers differed from initial and COVID-altered projections, then offer the company’s analysis on what to expect in the year ahead.

He adds HDAW is the perfect time for such a presentation, as its late-January time slot enables the easy toggling back and forth between the year that was and the year to come. He also hopes the wide focus of the presentation (MacKay & Company’s data is broken down by North American country) will enable attendees to benchmark their own operations against their peers and the industry at large.

“We want to provide takeaways that will help [attendees] when they are making their business plans and outlooks for the year ahead. When they are trying to explain to their team what their goals are, hopefully they can reference what we’ve provided,” he says.

This is the final of four TPS articles previewing HDAW 2021. The first three articles are below. HDAW begins this afternoon. 

HDAW 2021 Preview: Co-chairs ‘bullish’ about potential for upcoming virtual convention

HDAW 2021 Preview: Using the event’s virtual format to maximize your experience

HDAW 2021 Preview: Trio to tackle service shop challenges at SOLD

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