Coverage for Internet Sales Agents? What Is Your Policy?

Bobby Morales

I would like to find out what everyone's thoughts are about coverage for internet agents. During the past two years we have had many changes in particular to coverage for internet agents. The original coverage was (7) days as long as their was direct contact made with the customer either by phone, email or text. This was later changed six months later to (5) days. 

Our Internet Dept. has changed from only having (2) and (3) members to going all the way to as much as (9) Internet Agents in our department. Our store sells on the average from 200 to 275 new & used cars per month with a sales staff 7 to 9 Internet Agents, (2) Fleet Department Sales and from 12 to 16 retail sales people. We have (3) Sales Managers at the tower who each have a team of 4 to 5 retail agents and 2 to 3 internet agents as part of their team. 

Each Internet agent is currently receiving from 60 to 80 internet/phone leads per month. They are required to call, text and email for the 1st five days until contact is made with the customer. Once contact is made, attempt to set appointment. 

Approximately one month ago; the policy now changed to provide coverage to only (3) days and a significant change was made to establish contact. The Internet Agent must now keep in contact every 72 hours to be included on a deal in case the customer buys from someone in retail sales who may have not properly sourced the customer or not. 

Example: If customer "A" submitted a lead on Thursday and the Internet Agent made direct contact on the same day by phone (phone calls are recorded via our CRM) In speaking to the customer, the customer let's the agent know they may stop by this Sunday. Agent makes follow up calls on Friday, Saturday & sends text on Sunday. Customer does not show up. On Monday, the customer shows up but the Internet agent has his/her day off. With the new policy, Agent must keep back & forth communication every 72 hours to have coverage. If it goes past 72 hours even thou there are emails, texts, and phone messages but no evidence of back and forth communication; the entire deal goes to the retail salesperson who closed the deal. 

Due to this new policy; I am now having a difficult time with Internet Agents wanting to work in our department as they feel this new policy is extremely difficult to maintain and will pressure agents to stay in contact with customers who will become irritated with too many calls for the same reason. When you consider that each agent will take on 50 active leads per month and within three months time he/she will most likely have over 100 active customers to keep in touch with; it makes for some extremely difficult task to keep constant contact with each of these active customers.

The reason I am bringing this up is that these Internet Agents feel the burden is all on them, they each make from 50 to 75 calls per day, email and text customers, setup appointments, test drive the customer, negotiate the deal, etc.. So when a customer they have been working for two weeks or more comes in and the last time they spoke to him/her was five days ago; they no longer have coverage. Yes, many of you are going to say, if they did a good job, the customer will ask for the sales agent. In a perfect world ; YES but we do not live in a perfect world. We live in one where another sales person will most likely forget to source (polite expression) and work the deal and make the sale. The Internet Agent may have had the day off or out with another customer; yet all his/her work of working the customer for over three weeks is not worth half a deal because his/her last back and forth communication was over (3) days.

Sorry for the long version but I wanted to explain the policy and how it affects in getting Internet Agents to want to stay motivated. Our department sells between 70 to 100 new/used vehicles per month. 

My main question. What is your department's policy when Internet Agents work directly with customers and do you feel this policy is fair to the agent?

Thank you,
Robert. 

 

Chris K.

Why do you all make it so hard for your employees to love their job? No wonder they want to leave, earning a living shouldn't be so tough.  A good BDC agent should make $750-$1K per week easily. You cheapskates are getting what you all deserve. They deserve GREAT PAY, especially if they set up the appointment and the customer showed. BDC agents do all the HEAVY lifting so sales people got it easy. Any Manager can pencil numbers and sell at cost to make a deal. Sales managers should get the flat commissions. What do they do? I do everything a Manager does and 10X more. It's easy to be a BDC agent and it should be cradle to grave for each rep and customer. Nobody replies by email anyways, this is a phone contact sport. Some may text but the phone is king. We make most appointments on the first contact. I personally see no need for sales managers. Internet can do it all.

Here's you BDC flow:

Lead comes in: Agents start follow up.  BDC effort.

Appointment made: BDC effort.

Appointment Shows: BDC effort.

Steps of Sale: Sales rep

Show numbers: 15 seconds at the sales desk. Sales Manager.

Close deal: Sales Rep.

Follow up: Sales rep & BDC Agent.

Why do we need sales managers again???

Bobby Morales

Good Point Chris. My Agents actually work the customers also and still manage to make 50 calls or more per day. The coverage of 3 days with back and forth communication is what they are so upset about. What is your take on acceptable coverage for Internet Agents that work from cradle to grave?

Jim Fallon

It's all about measuring performance and reviewing results. With our system, I can watch how my sales representatives perform both in person and via email activity. Our AMS Analytics platform allows us to incorporate all our business activities and  CRM systems to measure and watch how operations turn into dollars. We used this tool to monitor our commission structure and determine how we can best motivate our sales representatives. At the end of the day, you cannot argue with the facts when we review them on a daily basis.

Derrick Woolfson

@Bobby, I was in your shoes. It is absurd. And I agree w/ @Chris! Half the time the managers making these decisions are clueless when it comes to managing the CRM and the work that goes into keeping up with it all. Not to mention, this "swift" policy change (which often has extreme consequences as it demolishes morale) stems from their not hitting the sales objective. So it just must be that the BDC is not bringing in enough traffic. Whereas, if they actually dug into the CRM they come to find that sales are only closing 41% - and the manager does not T.O., or expect the sales consultant to follow-up with unsold leads. Good luck my friend! 

Chris K

Bobby, the first 3 days should be full contact, but it's possible you're not getting the responses because you are too aggressive??! However I've noticed that the sales will occur in increments of 3 days or 3 weeks or 3 months for new car sales. As soon as you make a call and leave a message try sending a text that you're trying to reach them. We sometimes get a lift from those people, whereas they may not be so inclined to reply to an email or answer a phone call. I think texting is been way over hyped and all the companies that pushed that they all made tons of money and their original owners are now sailing on large yachts, and could care less of that have you sold a car in your entire life. Let's be real. We are the heroes. Us internet freaks, and can y'all remember when nobody ever wanted to handle an internet leads? Those people should never touch a lead. We all saw the future and we are earning the rewards.

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