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When we set out to discover the most important principles to success in transforming one's dealership to maximize the Internet opportunity we were struck by the importance a dealerships organizational structure played into success. Equally as amazing is how most dealers still ignore this foundational piece to successful transformation. In the research and documentary project we witnessed 5 org structures being used in varying degree of success to attack the Internet opportunity.
5 Structures Proven to Work
1. Single ISM: Most stores simply designate one sales person as the ISM. They get the leads, work them and usually are required to work the deal through the desk.
2. Team ISM: This structure is almost identical to the single ISM, except here the dealer has realized that by adding more ISMs the department can scale better. Again in this structure the ISMs work the deal from “cradle to grave” but are often required to use the desk.
3. BDC: Business Development Centers go by many names, but the concept is similar: leads get processed by a separate team who is trained to specifically handle connecting with the customer and setting the appointment. Once the appointment is set, the customer is passed to a sales person to actually “sell the car.”
4. Reverse BDC: In this case the ISM handles the lead up front but after a certain amount of days if the lead is not sold, it goes to the BDC for long term follow up. When the BDC makes an appointment the customer is passed back the ISM for closing. This way the ISM stays focused on the immediate deals and the BDC with its trained phone skills can focus on executing a long term follow up process.
5. The Internet Store: This in many ways is the pinnacle for a dealerships Internet efforts. In this case there is no separation between the retail floor and the Internet Department. In this environment everyone from the GSM on down is trained to focus on handling Internet deals.
Things to consider:
Having seen each of these structures in place, and after interviewing dozens of professionals nationwide about their particular structure a few things were very clear:
a) The market is moving toward there being no differentiation between the retail customer and the internet customer, thus why have a separate department to handle each type of customer?
b) Despite the Internet store being the ultimate goal, it is not always wise to jump right into it. This is an evolution and it takes time. Its important for General Managers to look at the his/her particular store and make the determination as to where they are at and make the changes needed to move them to the next step.
c) Those stores that learn to evolve and adapt faster will be those that come out on top.
What org structure does your store use? Is the really the best for what you are trying to acheive?