White Paper - Marketing Automation

Create Follow–Up Reminders Based on Your Customer

The phrase, "Here are the keys to your new car" is one of the happiest moments for a customer that just bought a vehicle. Then arriving home and telling the world "Look at what I bought!" Presenting to their family and friends the features, miles per gallon, and finally the deal they got. But, how did that sale finalize? Was it as simple as waiting for the customer to walk onto the property and sign the contract?

Nowadays, 70 percent of the buying process in a complex sale is already completed before a potential customer is ready to engage with a sales person. That means potential customers are doing the majority of their research online. This forces dealerships to focus on other means of pro–active communication with the customer. This entails the responsibility of Internet teams and managers to make contact with the customer and get those new prospects into the dealership.

The rise of the Internet has confronted dealer≠s with the new challenge of capitalizing on this continually growing and sometimes complex source of leads. With 67 percent of a dealership's leads coming from the Internet, it is important to have a strategy in place that makes sure you touch every sales opportunity.

How can a dealership leverage the available technology in their favor? The answer is Marketing Automation. Marketing Automation is a process that enables companies to define follow–up reminders and activities based on the customer's current status in the buying cycle. Customers that have not come into the dealership require a different message than a customer who has been on a test drive and begun the negotiation process.

Marketing Automation allows you to tailor your follow–up reminders and messages based off any status and any lead provider. This consists of prospect follow–up, service follow–up, or even sold follow–up that includes birthdays, anniversaries, and trade–in deals. Customers research their future vehicle on the internet at record–setting rates everyday, which means dealerships must adapt to these trends and arm their sales reps with the tools and processes to capitalize on the knowledge of today's car buyer.

What are the best practices for dealerships in this world where customers are more equipped with knowledge and information than ever before? DealerSocket, a CRM software company based in San Clemente, California, suggests maintaining constant communication with potential customers to turn them into sales more quickly than waiting for them to walk back into the dealership.

Being persistent pays off in the end. DealerSocket explains that top dealers average eight calls per prospect, and it takes an average of 26 days to sell. That means dealerships need to invest their time and show they care for the customer instead of a typical pitch to make the sale as quickly as possible. For example, when a prospect sends an internet lead, through marketing automation, an auto–response is sent to the customer thanking them for their request, then to the salesman to contact the customer via phone and email to answer all their questions. Dealerships need to be committed to understanding the customer's car buying needs and achieve that goal. They should be making same–day follow–up calls, next–day follow–up calls, closing the deal calls, vehicle sold follow–up phone calls, and a friendly aftercare follow–up. It is about creating a trustworthy and friendly environment that demonstrates that the dealership is thinking of the customer's best interest and that they are with them every step of the way.

This is why it is important for dealerships to simplify the sales process and use accurate, precise, and frequently updated data about the customer. Fresh data should be maintained at all cost with as much updated information about the customer as possible. For instance, when the customer walks onto the dealership and expresses their fascination for a certain car, dealerships should be trying to get as much information from the customer for their database so that they can make a same–day follow–up call that night to answer the questions that customer had before they left the dealership. Friendship is key to marketing automation.

Data from DealerSocket shows that Internet leads have the highest in–store closing rate of 54 percent, followed by phone leads at 45 percent, and floor leads at 25 percent. When dealerships receive a lead from a customer, dealerships should tailor follow–up responses to the lead type. Knowing everything there is about the customer is crucial.

With the help of marketing automation, dealerships can even make phone calls to lost sales if a certain discount or promotion emerges. Marketing automation also makes it possible for dealerships to find out why exactly they didn't buy a vehicle, then contact them a month later about a promotion that will persuade them to pulling the trigger on the sale. Sometimes dealerships ignore the best lead source on the market today: their DMS.

Within their DMS lead–source engine, dealerships have a wealth of valuable information, such as sold customers' current payments, APRs and months to term as well as customers who may qualify for lower payments. With that data, dealerships can generate and create new incentives for customers to visit the dealership.

Where dealerships fall short is allowing these revenue–generating leads, throughout their CRM, go surprisingly untouched. With powerful data–mining tools like DealerSocket's RevenueRadar, dealerships can proactively and continuously mine their CRM and DMS data simultaneously to equate to revenue–generating opportunities. The dealership is then prompted to contact specific customers about promotional events to increase revenue that might have been lost through the cracks of traditional marketing leads.

Creating marketing campaigns for specific customers creates insightful and impactful persuasion in the customer's eyes. DealerSocket numbers show that dealers who make more phone calls and manage appointments increase their closing ratio on phone leads 7 percent more than their competitors and increase the number of appointments set by 26 percent.

Customers are changing the way they conduct research and that requires dealerships to adapt to these new techniques. Now, more then ever, is important for dealerships to explore their data and reestablish the communication with prospect, sold, especially lost customers. Marketing Automation makes that possible and much easier today to increase profitability and revenue with very little effort. Don't get lost in all the data, embrace it and use it to your advantage and see a dramatic increase in consumer traffic.

For more information about Marketing Automation please call 855–315–5139.


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