Babcock wins DAF’s ultimate sales accolade for a second time

It costs five times more to attract a new customer than keep an existing one. That’s according to Khalid Saleh, author of “Conversion Optimization: The Art and Science of Converting Prospects to Customers”, who notes: “The first rule of any business is to retain customers and build a loyal relationship with them, and thereby avoid customer acquisition costs. It’s a well-established fact that 44% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition versus 18% that focus on retention.”

Babcock wins DAF’s ultimate sales accolade for a second time

Babcock falls squarely into the latter category. Our company and our people are obsessed with keeping existing customers happy. This strategy has paid dividends over the years, most recently leading to victory in the prestigious DAF International Sales Dealer of the Year award for 2023. The award is a huge accomplishment, especially considering that we competed with over 50 other sales territories from all over the world.

“It was a great honour to win this award. It certainly brings a feeling of accomplishment and recognition for our efforts,” says Mark Gavin, national sales director at Babcock.

DAF Trucks recognised our record sales in 2023 (120% growth over 2022), as well as the significant enhancement of DAF’s brand image, and the creation of a very successful used truck programme. This is the second time that we have won the award, having taken first place in 2018.

“The deciding factor was most likely our performance, which exceeded the expectation set for us by DAF. The manner in which we have grown and established the brand as a premium product in a difficult, competitive market was also taken into account – especially considering that Babcock was coming off a very low base when we took over custodianship of the DAF brand,” Gavin elaborates.

“We have fostered a culture of excellence and achievement within the sales team by sticking to the basics and empowering individuals. Our sales strategy for this particular year was to get back to the ground level and do the basics right! Things that sound straightforward were the keys to our success,” notes Gavin.

“This is most certainly a team award. The sales executives have the freedom to treat their roles as they would running their own independent business and be accountable for any successes or failures. In this way, they manage their own costs and time, and maximise productivity.”

The entire team is mindful of Saleh’s sentiments when it comes to retention. “Some 80% of our sales in 2023 were from existing clients,” says Gavin. “We can only realise these sorts of numbers from clients who are satisfied with our products and services; we therefore make sure customer satisfaction is number one on our list of priorities.”

Babcock MD Marius Barnard concurs: “We have a lean management structure that gives customers direct access to key decision makers. This also bodes well for customer satisfaction,” he points out.

Naturally, the team would like to add yet another award to its trophy cabinet; with various plans for maintaining and building upon this success in the coming years. “We hope to use the current momentum and growing visual impact of having more DAF vehicles on the road to penetrate even further into Blue Chip fleets in South Africa,” says Gavin.

Barnard adds, “We expect improved parts availability in the future, which helps to ensure maximum vehicle uptime. We will also soon be making a significant investment in a CKD local assembly plant to improve supply and short-notice specifications flexibility. This should happen within the next two years.”

Finally, are there any key takeaways that the team would like to share? “The key to our success is simple. We stick to the basics, look after our people, and listen to the market,” says Barnard. The Babcock team is clearly doing all of the above extremely well.


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