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Dennis Galbraith

Dennis Galbraith Chief Marketing Officer

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Demonstrated Value

Vendors have a wide range of methods for demonstrating the value of their products, some of which vary from one rep to another. Some vendors bundle products up in a way that makes it virtually impossible to measure the value of their offerings in any comparable way. Many dealers are responding with their own methods for determining the value delivered by vendors. It would be useful to hear from vendors and dealers alike on what they see as the best methods for demonstrating the value of various products. 

Many methods have their flaws. Cost of Sale does not take into account that some sales are worth much more than others. Cost per lead is difficult for products driving walk-in traffic. Last-click attribution models are certainly not ideal. In an integrated campaign, some products benefit from the presence of others, making the isolation of benefits difficult. The focus for some dealers is not to find a perfect method, but to find a basket of objective measures that collectively help the dealer make a decision.

Clearly, it's hard to compare products that drive traffic to a dealer's site with leads or listings products, but in the end they all compete for the same share of wallet. So what are the best ways for dealers to decide whether or not to keep buying a product? 

Kelly Holloway
This is great Dennis. One area that dealers seem to forget about is if the product/service impacts all of their departments. Live chat is usually noted a sales tool for a dealer's website. However, live chat can bring significant revenue to all departments at the dealership, not just sales. We see that 30% of chats taken are related to fixed ops. 30%!! Unfortunately, their are many dealers out their only looking at the sales leads/ROI generated from chat and forget about the huge potential it has for your service/parts departments. Therefore, they are ignoring the other 30% of chats that could bring big business to your fixed ops teams. Don't put your vendors into department silos. Dealers need to review how the product/service is going to help ALL departments. Take off your departmental glasses and look at the dealership from a holistic view point. Are you using live chat for your fixed ops department, or is your sales staff the only reps using the service? We have seen too many times where a dealer representative says "I am in the sales department. You will have to call the service department to set an appointment." Your customers don't care about departments. They want your help. Be ready for them, no matter what channel they use.
Dennis Galbraith
Great post Kelly! I have heard horrible comments about calls and chats regarding service from sales managers. I think most sales managers understand the importance of service, but GMs need to be sure marketing decisions are made both objectivly and with a holistic view.
Craig Nebeker
Working on the agency side, these are common questions and I have seen many methods used to try to answer them. The answer frequently comes from a vendor who inevitably chooses the method that will point to their particular product or service. Attempts to attribute the effectiveness of the many tactics in play are usually hampered by either a lack of expertise in measurement and statistics, a vested interest in the outcome or a combination of the two. I am constantly stunned by the sloppy or disingenuous analysis I am presented on a regular basis. Supposed experts from reputable research companies regularly violate basic rules and assumptions they should have learned in an intro to statistics class. I've been finding remarkable success utilizing ensemble classification methods across a broad array of challenges where you have a large number of predictors and a small number of observations. However, these methods require a solid foundation in measurement theory, statistics and a researcher that isn't drinking the Kool-Aid. The solutions to these problems are out there, but you have to be willing to make the initial investment in the right people to solve them.
Stan Sher
I would look at a few factors. The first factor would be to consider how well the products integrate with one another. Integration is very important because it saves management a lot of time doing manual work. I also believe that it is important to think about how well the people working at the dealership will use the tools. Will management hold their people accountable to use these products? I also look to see if this particular product has features that will let me try "outside the box" practices to increase the possibility of running my business in a better way. I am always looking for a game changer. After that, I will consider price.
Dennis Galbraith
Great point Craig! I've heard presentations from agencies who did the same spin-doctor thing some vendors do to focus the dealer in the area of their own specialty. That is a horrible shame. There is an important roll for agencies as part of the solution. Few agencies serving dealers have anyone close to your level of talent in this area, analytically sorting out the truth, but this should be a rapidly growing service agencies offer.

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