Exiting an incredibly challenging year for auto dealers and consumers alike, automotive sales started off strong in 2021, growing by 11% month-over-month in January according to IHS Markit.
Dealers have proven to be incredibly resilient, quickly adapting to rapid change and evolving their sales process to meet new consumer demands. “Never forget what we went through, because it shaped who we are today,” said outgoing National Automobile Dealer’s Association Chairman Rhett Ricart during his farewell speech at NADA Show 2021.
Looking ahead to many unknowns, including growing inventory challenges brought on by production delays and a global semiconductor shortage, Rhett’s advice couldn’t come at a more appropriate time. While each dealership will face their own unique challenges, getting ahead in 2021 requires auto dealers to continue evolving to stay ahead of the competition – and their audience.
In this blog post, we share three ways dealerships can get ahead of auto leads with proactive dealership marketing by:
Reorganize Your Dealership’s BDC
Taking the first steps toward a proactive dealership marketing process means starting at the hub of all things digital at your dealership: your BDC. While some traditional dealers may see the BDC as a place to take and make phone calls to leads who filled out a form, proactive dealerships are tasking their BDC to predict buying behaviors as opposed to just reacting to them.
According to Google, while 65% of auto buyers discover their purchasing dealership online, 74% do not submit an online lead action. Ensure your BDC is equipped with the right information to proactively identify customers who are likely to be ready to buy, even if they don’t submit a form. Reactively, you can use insights into how a buyer interacted with your website, such as any makes or models they’ve browsed online or whether they’ve used your online trade-in evaluator.
When armed with the right tools and technology to connect these online touchpoints to other data-driven customer insights, your dealership’s BDC can begin proactively engaging prospective leads, turning cold-calls into personalized experiences that speak to a customer’s unique situation.
Utilize High Quality Data for Proactive Auto Prospecting
With predictive marketing tools, dealers are empowered to apply this proactive marketing approach beyond their BDC, maximizing the quality and quantity of auto leads by identifying when a customer will likely re-enter the buying cycle.
Instead of qualifying each lead as it comes in, or simply taking a “spray-and-pray” approach at auto lead marketing, dealership tools powered by predictive analytics automatically search through a dealership’s DMS and CRM to identify prospective buyers.
When these datasets are combined with third-party financial and demographic data, a prospective auto lead can be identified through any number of factors, like whether their family is growing or they’re approaching their lease mileage, enabling your team to seal the deal with actionable and personalized offers.
Of course, these insights must be up to date to be effective, meaning the success of a proactive marketing approach hinges almost entirely on high-quality data. Market EyeQ, for example, simplifies this workflow by integrating with some of the CRM and DMS platforms in the automotive industry. From there, Market EyeQ layers in thousands of additional data points from reputable third-party sources like IHS Markit, CARFAX and TransUnion to build a dynamic buyer profile.
Focus on Customer Loyalty
Inevitably, some of your dealership’s best customers won’t be ready to buy again just yet. This doesn’t mean you should forget about them in the meantime. With unique access to their purchase and service history, dealers can get ahead of loyalty customers to prevent future defection.
For example, some of our most successful dealer partners use Market EyeQ’s predictive and automated marketing capabilities to track customers on 72-month terms and structure personalized offers to well-qualified auto prospects with 36 months or less left on their current vehicle lease.
With the service drive strongly supporting loyalty efforts, this strategy is particularly powerful when applied to a dealership’s strategy on working the service drive. Using this approach, dealers can better determine which of their upcoming service appointments are well-positioned to begin shopping soon. This allows your service team to proactively connect with prospective service-to-sales leads before they enter the service drive, kickstarting their buying journey.
At its core, the act of reacting to auto leads requires dealers to wait. And while no two dealerships are destined to face identical challenges in the year ahead, 2020 proved one lesson universally true: Dealers who wait amid so much change are the ones who get left behind.
Interested in exploring how Market EyeQ can help your dealership proactively identify and convert auto sales leads? Contact us for a free demo.