The emailed Q&A is below:
AuSM: With Pennsylvania just added to your list of markets this year, how much has the recent growth impacted your business, and where might your footprint extend next?
Patrick Dudash: Our growth in both physical and digital footprint over the last three years has opened a number of markets to us, which were previously untapped. Our expanded geographic coverage obviously positions us with additional dealer groups and, in many cases, new institutional consignors. XLerate’s explosive digital growth opens even more markets for us where we do not have a traditional brick-and-mortar or a mobile sale presence.
We will continue to expand both our traditional geographic and digital footprints when the right opportunities present themselves. We will do this while continually focusing on our current core group of 10 auctions that operate 16 different sales, which includes our mobile sales in Texas, Florida and California.
AR: How is your auction adapting to an increasingly digital auction environment?
PD: Culturally, our senior management team now fully embraces the digital environment and the new, incremental opportunities a properly executed digital strategy enables for both our customers and our company. We can now “speak” both digital and brick-and-mortar to our current and potential customers and simultaneously execute well in both environments. To get to this point, we have invested heavily in market-based digital reps as well as in our own, growing digital marketplace.
In 2015, we moved Kelly McAllister from a more traditional auction role supporting our auctions digital process to director of online business development, a role designed to push digital growth at our auctions. To support this, Kelly has developed digital sales representative hiring profiles and compensation plans to assist our physical auctions in finding and hiring candidates to drive online sales volume.
Patrick Dudash, XLerate Group
AR: What do you enjoy the most about being in the remarketing industry?
PD: What I enjoy the most about being in the remarketing industry is the ever-changing landscape of consignor volume and the challenges it brings our auctions. On the institutional side, it's the opportunity to promote our auctions’ high-level touch in customer service and operational expertise when volumes are rising. While at the same time, on the dealer side, helping them find the right mix to meet their inventory needs.
We are doing this through our new XL-online Marketplace where we continue to grow consignment and sales for our dealer network, and have a dealer wish list available for us to push the inventory they need.
Additionally, we’ve recently added XLFunding (xlerategroup.com/floorplans), a dealer floor plan service available at all of our physical and mobile auctions. We see this as a key to support our buying dealers’ increased appetite for inventory.
AR: What do you see as the biggest challenge for your company, and what is its primary focus to maintain and/or grow its influence on the automotive industry?
PD: Investment capital is not an issue for XLerate. As we grow, we need to continue to recruit to-notch talent for both the “traditional” auction world as well as the digital/technology spaces — and then meld/integrate both groups of talent into one high-performing, client-centric culture.
As we see the overall economy continue to improve, we also see a correlating fall in unemployment. As we try and grow our business, it becomes more difficult to recruit, hire and retain key employees.
We continue to combat that with a safe and fun work environment, and aggressive and rewarding compensation programs. We also need to make sure that we are aligned with the right technology partners/providers who can facilitate our growth strategy is one of the most critical decisions on the near-term horizon for XLerate. This has to become our primary focus to maintain and/or grow within the automotive industry.