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I originally wrote this blog post (CLICK THIS LINK) almost 2 years ago, titled, "We need to Re-Position and Re-Name The Internet Department," on AutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com, but the subject matter is more relevant than ever. An "Internet Sales department" will, sadly, no longer be sufficient for car dealerships going forward. That day is coming sooner rather than later.
As online consumer use has grown, the size of the staff working to capitalize on that
increased usage has remained relatively stagnant. There will continue to be the need for appointment setters responding to leads via email and phone, business development coordinators to make lease retention, unsold showroom and service follow-up calls.
However, there is also enough work in marketing a dealership online to occupy one person (or an entire staff) on a full-time basis, in a DIGITAL MARKETING DEPARTMENT without that person having the burden or responsibility of setting appointments or selling cars. Most dealerships assign this role to the Internet Sales department, who are then forced to split their time performing both their original role (calling leads and selling cars) and this new added role of online marketing and keeping up with the latest trends. As a result, most of the time you will both see a drop-off in sales productivity and see a valiant but usually inconsistent attempt at marketing the dealership - limiting yourself in both areas. Just to name a few of the responsibilities this department could cover better, simply because they can dedicate a full-time effort, rather than a part-time one:
My favorite analogy to describe this is: think of your hand. You have 5 fingers - each of them represents a profit center of the dealership (New, Used, F&I, Service, Parts). All 5 are connected to a palm, which ties everything together and makes each finger that much more powerful. The palm is the DIGITAL MARKETING DEPARTMENT. Fingers + Palm = Hand, which can accomplish much more than any one finger or two fingers can.
Compensation would be largely salary-based, with specific goal bonuses for # of check-ins in a certain time period, minimum number of outbound posts, volume of inbound engagements, and other measuring tools currently available that would show increase in reach, popularity and brand awareness.
What are your thoughts about this idea? Please comment below or visit my website to connect with me, Adam Ross, Managing Director at Infinite Prospects, and schedule a no-obligation FREE one-hour consult on your dealership's online marketing strategy.