First off, some definitions…
1. Lead Management – A bit of a catch-all term, Lead Management is the process of tracking and managing sales leads with the goal of converting to sales. Lead management is AutoPlay’s bread and butter and can be summarised as what you do with leads once you receive them.
2. CRM – Customer relationship management has been popular for a number of years now and is based around the idea that the more you know about your customer’s previous interactions with the customer the more chance you have of meeting their specific requirements and creating long term relationships. CRM takes a 360-degree view of customer relationships and is intended to encourage repeat purchases.
3. Marketing Automation – Generally refers to software that allows certain marketing actions to be automated. Most marketing automation involves automatically scheduling social media posts and automatically triggering email communication when customers are most likely to be interested in your product and/or brand.
4. Remarketing – Remarketing is about reaching out to customers who have already visited your website and position targeted adverts in front of them as they travel around the internet. Google remarketing is one of the main players in this space though new options are plentiful from Facebook through to online newspapers that are now moving into this space.
A dealership considering all four of these angles will undoubtedly be doing well. However, sometimes skills, resources and budget all constrain us to focus on what we can. Too much emphasis on managing leads can result in customers feeling like transactions and ignores the effectiveness of CRM as a long-term sales strategy. Similarly, too much focus on CRM can result in all your salespeople’s time spent following up after sales and not enough time generating new business.
Unfortunately Lead Management and CRM take sales resource. There is software to make this easier, but at the end of the day databases need to be managed and sales opportunities need to be followed up on. On the flip side although Marketing Automation and Remarketing can involve some up-front planning, their very nature is designed to automate things that a marketer would struggle to achieve manually.
So, does this mean that dealerships should prioritise setting up Marketing Automation and Remarketing over getting their Lead Management or CRM in check? Well…no, not necessarily.
Instead of looking at these actions on a continuum along a timeline, we need to view all of these sales and marketing activities as an ever-repeating cycle.
Marketing Automation and Remarketing help generate and foster leads so that they are ready for the sales team to follow up on. If your sales team don’t manage leads well and are losing sales opportunities through bad practices, then you are just wasting your money chucking more leads you won’t convert at your sales team via aggressive Remarketing or Marketing Automation.
Conversely you are going to find it hard to effectively run a Marketing Automation programme if you don’t have a good lead management system capturing customer info, or a good CRM system that is giving you a 360-degree view of the customer.
Although clearly a holistic approach works best, the first step should always be to maximise your Lead Management and sales processes and systems to increase your conversion ratios. Once this is in place focus on improving your CRM procedures and how you approach long term relationships. Once these core building blocks are stable start exploring your Marketing Automation and Remarketing options. For a dealership doing the basics right Marketing Automation and Remarketing can help generate more quality leads that the dealership is well placed to get the most out of.
Matt Darby works for AutoPlay who provide lead management tools for dealerships in NZ and Australia. To find out more contact AutoPlay on email@example.com