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raphael chan

raphael chan Sales & Leasing Consultant

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Is it time for an individualized CRM for Internet leads?

After working with my dealer for 3 years now I have come across an issue that seems to rear its ugly head quite often... the problem is that my co-workers and managers alike just don’t seem to we willing to embrace the idea that customers are coming from the internet. Because of this we are always spending our entire marketing budget on print ads, "Beacuse thats whats working!" "I have set to see google bring me a deal." 

I would like to get some input on my thoughts out-side of my dealer. It seems that we are now entering of not already head deep in the world of online. But the leads that come in via online sources are non-emotional. We have no way to gauge their interest beyond the words they surrender to us in their inquiries and I feel that it is unfair to simply place these leads as part of a dealers active CRM lowering the stats of a dealer.

I feel that if possible Internet leads require a CRM outside of the current systems dealers have in place, as we still cannot consider them as active buyers yet. These leads typically take more time to incubate before we can even establish an emotion connection that moves them into a dealer. If a separate CRM was introduced not only would dealer performance be easier to track without the skew of the delayed online leads but It will also allow for the ROI to be tracked by a BDC team much more effectively compared to having a general sales team listing a random source to a sale. This would allow for much stronger correlations to be seen as we nurture our online leads into active ones where they would then be introduced back into the regular CRM.

I feel that this would allow for dealers to truly see the ROI of placing marketing dollars into driving traffic online and allow for more strategic marketing decisions. Are dealers are simply not recognizing the profitability in generating leads online? Or are they ignoring it all together?325d750c3996e9856b18f21dd7c26dfe.jpg?t=1

Please let me know your thoughts.

Josh Ledbetter
I am not a car salesman so I can't speak to everything you guys go through. However, because we sell dealership improvement software, I have done a ton of research on the subject. I don't think dealers ignore it but struggle to see something that they cannot touch. When a guy walks in with the paper underneath his arm and says, "Hey, you still have this one?". Uhh.....Ok, I can see that. Internet leads, however, can often be junk so the dealers cringe at the money spent. People sending in false emails, numbers, names, etc. so that they can just see how much a car is or what a payment might be. What the dealers fail to see is how many magazines and newspapers are thrown in the trash or even worse, never bought. The reality though is that you have to have a good online presence in today's world. How many newspaper companies have already closed their doors? How many of us stare at our cell phones all day long? Think about how many companies are selling cars WITHOUT ever even seeing their customers. This is why we help build a dealership community with our customers and focus on organic leads. 30% of customers drive 80% of revenues. In order to grow, I have to keep the ones I have and turn more customers into that 30%. You have to give them a reason to go to your website Lose the fluff and keep the good stuff! Lastly, it sounds as though your leadership team is under a heavy amount of pressure to get a "win". I guess I would try and understand what constitutes a good lead and why they believe so. CRMs are already cluttered with fictitious data......why add more blah?
Lezlie Brannan
We implemented a customer survey for buyers to be done at the delivery, and filled out by the customer exclusively (not the salesperson!) Among the questions is, what brought to our dealership, with multiple choices for our leading lead sources including websites,autotrader, google search, print, etc. The next question is what websites did you use to research your purchase? You'd be amazed at how the responses differ from what the salesperson reported!
Dustin Lyons
Lezlie gathering that data on where the leads come from is a great idea! It is very good that you are using it at delivery and filled out by the customer as well, that way it doesn't pass through the filter of the salespeople who unfortunately sometimes don't see the value in knowing what is bringing in the customers.
raphael chan
I just feel that the sales front and marketing department are at a disconnect. Sales people after a deal are too euphoric to think about how putting in a source properly can generate more business for them and the dealer. I think that there needs to be a clearer way for those invested in driving online traffic to track the data. Asking sales or any other department to do it is just lazy. I do not believe that people are coming in without looking online at all. I feel that if the skew in data was corrected we would find that online sales/ e-commerce to be a lot more profitable then what the perception leads us to believe. Any software vendors want to come up to the plate? :D
Adam Lee
Call the people at VinSolutions and ask for Craig Simpson - share your concerns with him and give him a chance to tell you what their CRM truly CAN do for a dealership. Sounds also Raphael as though you guys may need to try something that MOST Dealerships fear the most --- admit that you need help, and then actually look outside FOR that help. I've been at countless dealerships where "upstairs" (marketing) and "the floor" (sales) simply DO NOT talk to one another (and let's not even get STARTED about Service and Sales not interacting). I think there is plenty of discussion and articles available online from the past say....TEN years or so of talk about this current "Industry Shift" for you to arm yourself with and go straight to the top people at your Organization and say "hey guys - we need to have a chat...one that MANY Dealerships are having...and here's some help to get us started".

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