BDC vs. Internet Sales Department

Kelsey Caskey
How does everyone feel about BDC's vs. Internet Sales Departments? We are looking to get an "Internet Department" back up and running at our dealership. A lot of the feedback I have gotten here shows that our GM/Sales Managers are leaning towards a structure with 6-7 ISM who handle leads and inbound phone calls, and are with Customer from lead generation through the purchase. They want to pay these reps commission like any other sales rep. I lean more towards a 4-5 person BDC handling most follow up, all internet leads, equity mining, and inbound phone calls. The reps would be with customer from lead generation to showroom visit and hand off to our sales staff. They would stay in touch with our customers forever through post sale follow up and then back into equity mining (we use Auto Alert). Any feedback on best practices and any struggles you have seen with either route would be greatly appreciated.
Michael Roemer
I agree with Carlo here too. Its really important to perfect the hand off and smooth out the transition from digital showroom to physical showroom as much as possible.
Kelsey Caskey
Thanks everyone, right now we are using a round robin system with the sales departments handling their own leads. Each Sales Manager is essentially managing their stores internet leads. And yes we need to change, either route will be better than what is in place now. Arnold, you hit the nail on the head, I am really trying to get the higher ups to understand that the fixed expense of a BDC will pay off and is worth it!
Brandon McNett
I think it is really dependent on the market that you're in and how customers expect to be taken care of, as well as the skill set of your sales team. A "Cradle to Grave" system can work if you're confident you'll have complete buy in to the "follow up and generation" portion of your sales process. This is typically a skill that sales people have, though don't embrace. If the culture of your sales people wouldn't allow for complete buy in and unwavering support in accountability - a BDC is better. It may be more expensive, but by focusing on letting people do what they do best AND being able to drive accountability to the people who are best at the job you'll get better results. Have an engaged sales team, who believes in and trusts your BDC and the ROI will be worth it. Sometimes you have to spend a bit more money to do things the right way and ensure that it is done RIGHT THE FIRST TIME! It's more costly to implement one way, fail at it and then try to implement option #2....take time, spend the money, set up the processes and hit a home run!
Marc McGurren
Great conversation that many dealers struggle with. It sound like you all know you need a change, just have to decide whether a BDC of internet department is best. At PCG we are not pro-BDC or pro-internet department, we are pro for that is best for the store. If you are considering doing 6-7 ISM's, that means you have a decent amount of leads to manage. With that said, a BDC might be a better fit. The reason is you can do more with less. In order for a BDC to "pencil" out on paper and justify the cost, you cannot just focus on incoming internet leads. We take a 4-tier approach, starting with incoming internet and phone leads, moving then to equity mining once you have phone and internet down, then you can do a coin toss on which one you do next, but you can do service or unsold showroom follow up. If you do those 4-tiers, the math will easily show it makes business sense. If you do choose to do an internet department, just make sure the team isn't overwhelmed with too many leads. I like 60-80 leads for a true blue cradle to grave ISM. This allows them to spend quality time with the leads and then be able to handle other car selling duties that a BDC person wouldn't handle. Also, regardless of the setup you all choose to use, there must be someone in charge and held accountable for the production of the BDC/internet. I have rarely seen it work where a desk manager or someone with other roles being able to oversee, train, coach, and sell as many cars as possible. The dealer typically has a GM, GSM, New Car Manager, Used Car Manager, desk managers, etc, why wouldn't there be someone overseeing what is 20-50% of a stores business? Hopefully that helps!

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