Dealers are constantly on the hunt for more leads. They are always striving to get in front of potential customers and generate more activity on their websites and in their showrooms. The thing is, often they don’t realise they actually already have ample leads coming at them through a variety of channels, but many of those opportunities are being missed.
This article looks at how by integrating your existing technology platforms with each other you can automate a number of processes across your business. The result being that you will significantly reduce the wastage of your existing sales opportunities, and save yourself valuable dollars.
The crux of the lead wastage issue lies in the fact that modern dealerships are managing more activity than ever before but are relying on manual processes from the past. Staff are being trusted to type data into dealership software and to call back customers who enquire digitally, which are both processes open to human error and taking shortcuts.
Let’s take a standard telephone sales process as an example.
A customer rings and speaks to a salesperson about a new vehicle. The salesperson scribbles down some notes, and, if the call was successful, they then manually type those details – hopefully correctly – into the dealership’s Lead Management System (LMS). The problem is, if the customer is still unsure or wants to think before committing to a purchase, the dealer may not bother to enter them into the LMS. This means that the lead, that could potentially have been converted down the track, goes unrecorded and is therefore lost.
Using this same example, if phone call integration was in place, instead of the salesperson manually entering the data (if they decided it was worthwhile), all the customer’s details and a recording of the call would automatically feed into the LMS. This would mean that the data would be accurately recorded and that both successful and unsuccessful conversations would be logged.
From a management perspective, senior staff would have a clearer view of their teams’ win rates and would have access to recordings they could refer to for training purposes. Furthermore, their team members would be freed up to undertake additional tasks, given the reduction in manual labour.
There are numerous other areas of the business where manual data entry can be replaced with automation to drive business efficiency and reduce wastage. Online trade-in valuation data, for example, can feed directly into your appraisal software and/or LMS, to reduce the number of missed opportunities when dealers are unable to call back a customer to arrange an inspection. Given the significant number of trade-in enquiries that end up purchasing a new vehicle, these leads are just as valuable as any other sales opportunity.
Test drive and service bookings can also be automated. By integrating your website forms with your test drive or service software, the system will automatically be able to check availability and book in customer appointments. This then eliminates the need for staff to call people back for bookings – a process fraught with potential wastage.
One of our clients recently established a number of integrations within their dealership, so that leads were automatically feeding into their LMS from a variety of sources. An audit found that only 40 percent of their enquiries were being entered into their LMS. However, once they established some integrations and replaced a number of the manual processes with automated data feeds, they were able to capture an astonishing 95 percent of their lead data. As a result, they decided against increasing their ad spend and instead focused on improving their lead handling to get more out of their existing enquiries.
Our advice to those wanting to automate processes in their dealership is to take it one area at a time – don’t try to implement all integrations in one go. Also, you will find that many of the industry’s third-party providers already have established integrations with each other, so speak to your technology partners to find out more.
The path to automation does not need to be overwhelming, nor cost a lot of money. The biggest investment will be the time spent putting it in place, however, it is most definitely worthwhile.