Effective Lead Management for Dealerships

As dealers focus on January car sales, now is the time to review your lead management process to ensure that you are not missing out on any opportunities.
The First Step
The key focus for most dealerships is generating more leads in order to increase car sales. However, before spending additional time and resources on marketing activity, it is more important, now than ever, to look at how you are managing your existing funnel, before deciding to add to it.

Understand your conversion data before you start spending budget and losing opportunities by introducing more prospective customers into the funnel.

It is important to get this right before focusing on growing your lead funnel.
Lead sources
Publisher and dealership websites account for the majority of car sales leads, in addition to those from search marketing and social channels. However, often these lead sources are under-utilised. For example, consideration should be given to a more engaged lead capture process.

Managed messenger campaigns, when executed well, can drive up to 200% more relevant inbound enquiries than traditional lead forms. These leads are also more likely to convert as there is greater engagement between the parties.
Ad views
It is important to understand your monthly online ad views, in order to increase leads, analyse campaign effectiveness and calculate ROI.

Identifying which ads result in higher or lower views by querying your analytics data, will drive future campaign decisions. Enhanced segmentation, relevance and faster response times will result in an increase in appointments and the ability to take deposits to secure sales.
Digital leads
Digital leads can come from a variety of online sources including; email forms via dealer and publisher websites, messaging and lead generation campaigns.

Identifying the breakdown of your digital leads by source will help you understand the areas you should focus on when it comes to lead generation. Sources include:

  • Calls
  • Web chat
  • Social
  • Email forms
  • Walkins
  • Finance applications
Lead conversion
Knowing your lead conversion rate and the number of ad views needed to generate a lead, will determine the number of leads required. This will then give you specific metrics when it comes to understanding the number of ad views and subsequently, leads required to reach sales targets.

Knowing what channels you can influence ad views on quickly is key to driving the right leads into the business.

While most dealerships calculate their lead to sale conversion rate, it is important to also monitor your lead to test drive rate. While digital deals are on the rise, there is still a real need for the physical dealership experience for a lot of buyers.
Lead response times
A fast response rate to an inbound customer enquiry is crucial in converting that lead to sale. When leads are responded to between 10 and 13 minutes, the success rate is 20%. However, when leads are responded to between 3 to 5 minutes, the success rate in securing appointments and deposits over the phone increases to 70%.

A faster response time can be achieved through automation in your lead management system, templated responses and chat integration.
Test drives
Tracking your customer test drive/appointment show up rate is often an indicator of the level of engagement pre-appointment. A robust CRM programme, prompting relevant communication throughout the customer journey will maximise test drive appointments. Understanding your number of monthly test drives will identify gaps in the sales demonstration process and the performance of lead generation campaigns.
Walk-in customers
While recent restrictions have resulted in a reduction in customer walk-ins, this will inevitably return as dealerships resume showroom trading.

Most walkin customers have done their research by this stage and have already decided on their desired vehicle. In most cases, they have not sent you an enquiry but this is the type of lead you want more of.

Tracking these walkins is not just important to understand conversion. This type of buyer profile represents a great opportunity to create targeted audiences in social and Google to drive more of the same leads.
Lead distribution
Distributing inbound leads effectively is a crucial point in the sales process. A manual method of distributing leads to a sales team and not having a robust follow up system could mean that you are missing sales opportunities.

Automating lead distribution will allow you to ensure prompt follow-up with the customer, track the progress of the lead, conversion rates, profitability and product penetration. Seeing the performance of all sales leads in one dashboard will give Sales Managers a picture of overall sales performance. This can be achieved through appropriate lead management software.

Additionally, hidden opportunities such as lost opportunity recovery have proved very successful for many dealerships.