In sales, it’s all about the leads. The number and the quality.
Most car dealerships (and their sales teams) always clamor for “more leads.” But what they really want are more quality leads. Smart marketers know that if they are generating lots of weak leads, they are not going to be seeing eye to eye with sales. Time is wasted, tensions rise, and numbers aren’t met. In today’s digital age, the focus on sales lead quality is more important than ever with millennials entering the market in large numbers. Gone are the days of hours on the phone, and upon us are the days of search engine ads, social posts, and email campaigns attributing to inbound leads. Filtering through all these channels is crucial for giving salespeople the assist they need to convert leads into sales. Here are 5 tips to help your dealership improve lead quality:
1. Work with Sales to Define an “SQL”
A “ Sales-Qualified Lead”, or SQL, is a prospect that meets your sales department’s definition of sales-ready in order to move to the next step of the sales funnel. Only 45% of businesses have established a company-wide definition of a sales-ready lead, according to a study by MarketingSherpa1. That creates a huge disconnect between the two departments rather than a seamless hand-off. Whether it be a test drive request or an internet chatbot inquiry, establish with your sales team what deems a lead “hot”.
2. Implement Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is a process of ranking a lead’s interest level and sales readiness based on a methodology agreed upon by marketing and sales. Dealerships can score leads in a variety of ways by assigning points or also implementing rankings like “hot,” “warm,” or “cold.” Or A, B, C. However you want to rank them, assigning a score to a lead creates a hierarchy for sales, ensuring that they are focusing their efforts on the low hanging fruit first and setting themselves up for success.
The actual lead scoring should incorporate a combination of explicit data and implicit data. Explicit data is information the prospect provides such as name, occupation, phone number, etc. Implicit data is what is revealed by the prospect’s online behavior such as web pages visited, and recency or frequency of visits. In an Eloqua study of 10 companies using lead scoring systems, on average, deal close rates increased by 30 percent; company revenue increased by 18%; and revenue per deal increased by 17%.1 Lead scoring keeps a dealership organized and prioritizes prospects to set sales teams up for success.
3. Commit To Lead Nurturing
A 2010 Forrester Research study found that companies that excel at lead nurturing are able to generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost per lead than other companies. 1 Lead nurturing is the act of guiding prospects down the sales funnel by building relationships through content and communication, whether they are ready to buy or not. The thought here is to build customer loyalty and trust in your company and your product enough to have it top of mind. Various studies show that buying prospects really only engage with sales during the last third of the car buying journey, which leaves a large gap of time for research. This is a crucial time for your dealership to get your message in front of the buyer.
4. Create a Marketing – Sales Sync-Up
A quick meeting or call once a week or once a month is crucial for any organization. Having the marketing and sales departments on the same page ensures the wheels keep spinning in unison. If marketing has no idea what happens to leads, the wheel has lost its axle. At least monthly, lead grades should be reviewed, updated and reported to marketing. That way sales can in turn provide helpful feedback which benefits both parties, keeping these two different teams in the same lane.
5. Use Automation and Predictive Marketing Software
Last but certainly not least, if you are working leads without marketing automation or predictive software you may be working harder and not smarter, and additionally losing out on a large portion of potential quality sales leads. Technology such as that offered by the Market EyeQ sales platform from automotiveMastermind utilizes behavior prediction technology to first identify and then communicate to all loyalty, service-not-sold, and conquest customers in your market. The predictive sales platform provides market-leading data, sophisticated marketing, and an in-depth dashboard, plus access to an expert consultative service team. These bundled tools give you the details you need to close more deals every single month. It lets you utilize all aspects of your dealership for leads rather than fishing in the dark by cold calling. Using marketing automation software is essential for your ever-changing database in an attempt to nurture car buyers and get them in your dealership’s door.
The symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing is the engine that makes a dealership go. There are many other vital parts to the company, but as you know, the engine is what gets you from point A to point B. Ensuring your lead qualifying process is finely tuned ensures you can get where you want to go, breaking down goal after goal and crushing your conversion rate. The quantity of leads is always important as the wheel must keep churning for the law of averages, but ensuring the leads are of high quality is what truly sets your dealership up for success in the long run.
What could revolutionizing the way your dealership looks at both the quantity and quality of sales prospects do to help you sell more cars? Contact us today for a free consultation.
Learn more about dealership marketing and how to capture high-quality leads here.