Help, what should I look for in an ISM?

Jacob Jackson
We have had mixed luck with ISMs at our store. We have moved sales people into the position who were good with the computer with no luck. We have hired from the outside, and had some success... only for the ISM to leave once our department was set up (he went to a bigger store.) I feel like we are hunting with little direction. What should we be looking for in an ISM? Am I looking for web skills first or sales skills first? Its a basic question I know, but I'd appreciate some guidance as far as skills, attributes and experience levels to helping us select a successful ISM.
Paul Rushing
Jake you really need to define the role you wish for them to fill and how they are going to be compensated. Is the ism going to be completely responsible for all online marketing? Is he/she only going to be paid for sales they generate and only handle internet leads? Are they going to have a staff to manage? Will their role be to help design integrated marketing plans with whomever handles dealership marketing? Before you can get solid answers to your question you need to define expectations first.
Jared Hamilton
The first thing it sounds like your store needs is some direction on what you expect from your Internet department and how you plan to achieve it. There are many different types of ISMs out there who are successful; I personally don’t believe this position is as cookie cutter as a Retail Sales Professionals or even a Desk Manager. Are you wanting to run a BDC, a single ISM set up (which it sounds like by your post) or a full Internet team of some sort? The structure your store sets up determines what you will look for. If you are simply looking for someone to work your leads that come in from your website, 3rd party providers and inventory listings than you are talking about an ISM at the most basic level and here is what I would look for: 1.Phone Skills: It will take over 8 calls to get a hold of a lead on the phone, when you get them on the phone your ISM will have to be GREAT so they don’t blow the chance they have worked so hard to get. 2.People Skills: Ok I know this is basic, but building rapport
Eric Miltsch
[Seems like we're in agreement...I actually wrote mine reply before seeing Pal & Jared's responses...] J, Good starting point: What do you need? Where are your weak spots? What needs to be solved? Next: Do you need a sales pro to manage your pipeline and or a team? Or is this person managing the online tools being used? Two distinct skill sets obviously; strong sellers may not be strong leaders. Lastly: This person needs to understand the online landscape. Whether or not they are tasked with creating the online strategies, or simply managing & executing an existing process, they need to be an immediate leader within the dealership. Your new ISM needs to communicate, and strengthen, the position of the Internet Dept. w/every single person in the dealership - get their buy-in. They need to be your biggest advocate for the online efforts. Should be well versed in the following areas to effectively manage the dept: (intermediate to expert level user) * 3rd party Automotive vendors * S
Joe Webb
Much like the others who responded, it is necessary to lay out departmental goals and determine the basic Internet store policy/processes that will run the department. However, I'll gladly share the set-up I put in place at my previous dealership. I managed a crew of three new car Internet Sales Manager, two pre-owned Internet specialists, up to four Customer Contact Reps, and three Online Inventory specialists. We were a fully-functioning and successful BDC. When I took over the department years prior, it was just one person (me) answering leads and selling. I became adept enough at bringing in customers where I simply didn't have the time to keep up with them all and thereby had to pass off the majority of appts to others. Very quickly, we evolved the position so I functioned as the lead handler, appt setter, and closer for all internet traffic/leads. Salespeople would handle the test drives, product demonstration, and paperwork, but I'd bring them in and do the heavy lifting (i.e. negotiating). When
Jacob Jackson
I should have been more clear, but honestly after reading the comments I guess I really dont have an aggressive plan laid out. For now, our store has about 200-250 leads a month to manage. They come from our site, dealix, reply, forddirect and I just need to hire someone for now that can work a successful process to sell as many of the leads as possible. I feel like once we get a good ROI off of this we will look to branch into other areas of web marketing, but I feel like the investment will be wasted sine we cant handle what we already have. What do you look for in a sales person to manage these customers for both new and used. Should any sales person be successful? How fast can I expect this department to grow given?

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