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Toyota Material Handling

Increasing your market share in the digital era

How Toyota Material Handling Europe successfully unrolls a new inbound strategy with valuable Proof of Concept. Resulting in +200% online MQL (Netherlands).

Toyota Material Handling Europe is determined to increase market share by engaging their potential and existing customers in the ‘digital era’. This case study shows a snapshot of Toyota Material Handling from mid 2017, and how they successfully implement the new inbound strategy into the European organization.


Toyota Material Handling: from Japan to Europe

It was in 1926 that Sakichi Toyoda founded the Toyoda Loom Works (now Toyota Industries Corporation) following the successful development of the automatic loom. Roughly three decades later the first Toyota counterbalanced forklift was introduced. Today it’s the world's largest manufacturer of material handling equipment.

From the European head office R&D, Manufacturing, Corporate Functions and Sales and Marketing are covered. In each market, a managing director and Sales, Marketing, Rental & Used, Service & Logistics Solutions Director drive the business and take independent decisions regarding the local operation strategy. They manage to do that very successfully; today Toyota Material Handling is holding a strong market share position on the European market.


Engage a generation that no longer wants to be sold to

Engage a generation that no longer wants to be sold to

The way customers buy today is changing. People at operating markets started to realize that more and more potential customers do research about products online. Each prospect goes through a unique buyer journey and, along the way, creates a shortlist of potential solutions and vendors. That being an important eye-opener, the team at the European head office asked herself two crucial questions.

The first question was: “How can we continue to work with, and engage the part of the market we already do business with: our customers?” And the second question was: “How can we reach out to the market that we currently do not have contact with?”

To maintain a position as solution provider and European market leader, the team at the head-office was determined to guide the organization into the ‘digital era’. Their goal: engage potential and existing customers, by providing them high quality information and service and build a strong brand – offline and online.

This case study shows a snapshot of Toyota Material Handling from mid 2017, and how they are successfully unrolling their new commercial strategy into the European organization.

Online is increasing in importance. We wanted to make more impact with Marketing and bring in more qualified leads through digital channels.

Change management in a large enterprise

Change management in a large enterprise

It was very clear for Toyota that the changing behavior of prospects forced them to re-evaluate their current commercial approach. Also, supporting 23 markets from the head office in Europe with structure, key stories and tools, decisions needed to be made on how and where a new commercial strategy would be unrolled. Will the change be driven from top-down, or bottom-up?

At first, Toyota decided to hire more people for the Sales team in order to boost new business. They soon realized that in order to engage potential customers very early in the buyer journey, Marketing needed to bring in more qualified leads for Sales.

Marc Maureaux, Brand Manager of Toyota Material Handling Europe: “We want to interest our new and existing customers and engage them with stories that resonate. This is why following the Inbound Marketing methodology felt very natural for us. The Inbound approach is built on an outside-in perspective. We aim to be extremely relevant, and attract a group of people that want to do business with us.”

Marc is very aware of the scope of a project in a company like Toyota Material Handling. Marc: “Unlike smaller companies, if we decide something today, we simply can’t do things entirely different tomorrow. We are a large organization and have to move within the existing structure. It was not realistic to think that we would make big changes all over Europe at the same time. Instead we have decided to have a focus pilot approach."

Last but not least on our agenda was the online presence of our organization. Marc: “Online is increasing in importance. We wanted to make more impact with Marketing and bring in more qualified leads through digital channels. This is why a new online webshop and a new website were an important starting point. From there, we could start with the further enrollment of the Inbound strategy.”


Provide structure in people, process and technology

Provide structure in people, process and technology

The team at the headquarters was determined to gradually implement the new Inbound approach to attract more prospects online.

To achieve this, providing structure is key. Marc: “We are a decentralized organisation and we don’t want to interfere too much with how each market operates individually. However, it was very important that the European head-office supports and facilitates the plans. Only when there is a solid process in place – call it an ‘Inbound Playbook’ – each market is able to implement the Inbound strategy on their own.”

The main challenge was providing the right resources. Marc: “Yes, we are talking about a large organization, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have large teams in each market. Efficiency is crucial. Also, we wanted to enable the countries that implement the Inbound strategy to gain insight on how they perform. Are numbers going up? Are we attracting more traffic and generating more leads?”

Secondly, the head office of Toyota Material Handling wanted to have the possibility to connect digital touch points, put the right audience on an individualized personal track and support prospects based on their preference. The aim was to increase engagement, collect qualified leads and also to monitor the progress. To achieve this, a new set of Sales and Marketing tools was needed, where data about leads, prospects and existing customers come together.”

When it comes to a transformation – start small! If you bring value to the organization, soon other people want to become a part of it.