In 2018 dealerships have well and truly grasped the need to capture all their leads to a lead management system. At AutoPlay we've seen the volume of leads captured by dealerships via the Sales Pipeline increase consistently every year. With licence and business card scanning and integration with DMS systems it's incredibly easy to capture leads to the AutoPlay Sales Pipeline. In addition, email or other electronic leads are captured automatically either from the website or via our API's - meaning the vast majority of leads are getting captured to your dashboard.
One area that AutoPlay have never been able to confidently report on is the number of 'Phone' leads received by dealerships. Capturing these details is entirely reliant on the salesperson being disciplined in their lead capture processes - something that is far easier said than done. Looking at 5 of the major multi brand distributors AutoPlay works with, we can see that on average less than 7% of all leads are recorded using the Lead Type = Phone each month.
Anecdotally we've heard in Aussie that the number of phone calls can outstrip the number of walk-in/email/other leads by 20-to-1. According to ADP Digital in the U.S, call volumes outpace email leads by a more moderate 4-to-1 ratio, and approx. 19% of car buyers make first contact with dealerships via the phone (J.D Power U.S New Autoshopper Study, 2015). Autotrader/Kelley Blue Book put this figure at 25% of all leads vs 14% emails.
The discrepancy between these figures is significant - which is most likely due to one dealers definition of what constitutes a 'Phone' lead. This only serves to highlight the difficulty in accurately attributing phone leads, but the underlying fact is that the number of phone leads your dealership receives is almost definitely more than what your sales team is recording in the Sales Pipeline.
AutoPlay partner with a company called Adtorque Edge - who offer call campaign tracking to AutoPlay customers. Recently Adtorque began working with a mutual customer based in Auckland. This dealer receives approx. 1200 leads each month and typically records about 7% of these as 'Phone' leads. Through working with Adtorque Edge they have begun tracking Google and facebook campaigns across all channels - including attributing the number of phone calls to the dealership to specific marketing campaigns and channels. What they discovered was that of the approx. 1200 leads, over 27% of the leads were actually phone calls - a fairly large discrepancy from the 7% that are manually being recorded within AutoPlay Sales Pipeline.
Stats available from Adtorque Edge for the Australian market highlight this same concept. Through improving the attribution of phone leads Adtorque were able to highlight the incomplete tracking that dealers were experiencing from their online marketing. The table below highlights that for this customer they believed that Keyword #1 used in Google Adwords was the least effective - with just 17 website conversions recorded and costing AUS$75.47 per acquisition. This ranked Keyword 1 as the worst ROI of all 6 keywords used at the dealership - comparing poorly with the average cost per acquisition for all marketing campaigns of AUS$59.42. However this was based purely on website conversion and did not take into account any phone calls generated from those campaigns. By setting up specific phone numbers for these campaigns Adtorque Edge was able to more accurately attribute how effective the campaign was, finding the Keyword #1 also generated 88 phone calls during the same period - taking the cost per acquisition down to $12.22 and meaning that it now ranked as the most effective keyword based on ROI.
Unfortunately at the present time AutoPlay are unable to automatically capture phone calls as leads within Sales Pipeline. However despite these technical limitations we still believe there is enormous value for kiwi dealerships in gaining more transparency over their online marketing spend. If you are interested in finding out more about call attribution from Adtorque Edge please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll organise them to contact you.
AutoPlay divides the customer contact lifecycle into ‘Out of Market’ contact nurturing, and ‘In-Market’ Leads requiring active in-dealership Lead management. This philosophy supports a mixed vendor ecosystem and maximises the integration possibilities.
Dealer Management Systems (DMS) have been the backbone of dealerships since the inception of automated systems and processes. Over time the footprint of the DMS has increased to cover basic Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) to allow for the integration of many back-office services and applications. In recent years there has been a demand to include simplistic customer contact management as the pricing of full Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have been prohibitive.
With the availability now of fully functional SaaS based CRM’s off the shelf at low per user price points, and many other low-cost marketing automation tools being accessible. Dealerships are now reverting to using their DMS for solely ERP services and investing in dedicated Lead management, CRM and marketing automation platforms.
What Are The Contact Lifecycle Segments?
1. Out Of Market Customers
Nurturing of customer and prospect contact information remains the domain of CRM applications. This allows for a coordinated customer contact plan and centralising of all marketing activity to ensure prospects receive clear and not conflicting market messages. The interaction between the CRM customer activity and marketing automation is based on customer interaction or engagement, and optimises marketing spend and effectiveness. Once a customer prospect is driven across a predefined threshold a Lead is created and passed to the in-market domain for Lead management.
2. In-Market Customers
For in-market customer lead management, time is the key factor in completing a successful conversion to a sale. The customer contact information including all collected background profiling data needs to be clearly made available along with the enquired-on vehicle or request. Based on the premise that people sell to people, the allocation of a lead to a sales agent needs to be efficient in order to allow for a timely first customer contact. Once in the hands of a Sales Agent it is important that there is a defined and adhered to digital ‘Road to Sale’ (RtS) process.
3. ERP Services
On the completion of a successful sale the customer journey must remain seamless as the management continues through the BAU business processes. This includes the completion of the finance and delivery processes and the ongoing service requirements being met. As the customer remains active and engaged with the dealership it is important that this information is in turn fed back to the customer nurturing process that is provided to ‘Out of Market’ customers.
API's & Standards
One of the major enabling technologies has been the maturing of real-time interfaces and API’s and a number of middleware vendors providing integration development and support. This has seen a rapid move away from the file transfer interfaces of the past. This has greatly opened up the choice of vendors available to provide highly effective ‘Pont Solutions’ to improve overall customer experience and management.
Example AutoPlay Deployment
AutoPlay Lead Flow Best Practice
The first quarter of 2018 is officially done, April is now in the books and we are now well and truly in the grips of winter – the perfect time to review how your online lead sources are performing and compare with what is working for other dealers throughout NZ.
Whilst March saw solid increases in the volume of Leads, Test Drives and Sales from the previous month, April has seen a slight decrease in Leads (down 5.5% from March), and Test Drives (down 5.0% from March). Fortunately for dealers Sales continued to increase with a 12.5% increase in Sales from March to April.
In April we continued to see ‘Web – Dealer’ open a wider gap as the most common source of Leads with a 33.9% increase from March to April 2018. Conversely Brand decreased by 17.5% and ‘Web Classified’ decreased by 25.0% - further solidifying dealer websites as the most popular source of leads amongst kiwi dealers.
Similar to Test Drives, ‘Web – Dealer’ was the most common source generating Test Drives in April 2018. Test Drives generated via the ‘Brand’ increased by 4.6%, however dropped to third - being leapfrogged by Test Drives generated from the ‘Direct’ source (up 5.3% from March 2018)
The usual suspects occupied the top three sources of Sales in March with ‘Web – Dealer’, ‘Repeat’ and ‘Web – Classified’ occupying the top 3 spots. April saw a significant increase in the number of Sales recorded against the ‘Web – Dealer’ source – up 58.2% from March 2018. This is likely due to the significant increase in the number of leads generated from this source in March. Sales increased across the board with 5.1% more Sales from ‘Repeat’ business and 3.8% more Sales from ‘Web – Classified’ sites like Trade Me.
Make sure to read the next issue of The PlayBook to see what sources of leads were popular in May amongst kiwi dealerships.
March 2018 is now in the books and as expected we saw a reasonable bounce back in the number of Leads, Test Drives and Sales recorded by the approx. 80% of franchise dealers that use AutoPlay Sales Pipeline to manage their leads.
Overall there was a 10.5% increase in the number of leads generated in March vs February. Some of this can be attributed to February being a shorter month, however such an increase still reflects more leads being created each day in March compared to February. Despite fewer leads generated in February, there were still 16.1% more Test Drives generated in March – highlighting that a significant portion of leads are test driven within the same month as being created. In addition, Sales increased by 11.9% overall, making March a successful month for franchise dealers.
One of the biggest drivers for the increased number of leads was a significant increase in the amount of leads being generated from Dealer Websites (up 62.4%). Over the last 6 months we’ve seen a sustained positive trend with lead, test drive and sales activity that can be directly attributed to dealer websites. This latest increase indicates that ‘Web – Dealer’ is really firming as the best place to get your leads from. Offsetting the increase in ‘Web – Dealer’ leads was a decrease 22.1% in ‘Brand’ leads and 4.1% in ‘Web – Classified’ leads.
In March the ‘Web – Dealer’ source was again the number one source of Test Drives – up 9.5% from February 2018. After decreasing 11.3% in February, the ‘Brand’ source bounced back with 33.9% more Test Drives recorded against the ‘Brand’ source in March than we saw in February. The ‘Web – Classified’ source also performed well – jumping into the third position with 16.3% more Test Drives from this source in March than February.
The usual suspects occupied the top three sources of Sales in March with ‘Web – Dealer’, ‘Repeat’ and ‘Web – Classified’ occupying the top 3 spots. However, after a down February where all 3 experienced a drop from the month prior, Sales increased across the board. ‘Web – Dealer’ experienced a small increase of 1.6%, whilst ‘Repeat’ (up 12.2%) and ‘Web – Classified’ (up 9.5%) experienced larger increases.
Make sure to read the next issue of Autotalk to see what sources of leads were popular in April amongst kiwi dealerships.
How well does your dealership use Sales Pipeline?
Within AutoPlay there are numerous ways managers can measure how their team are performing. From their success against targets for Leads, Test Drives and Sales through to their conversion performance against industry benchmarks. But how do you currently measure your dealerships usage of the Sales Pipeline? We have reports for this as well but with all the data available at your fingertips how do you weight one metric against another? You need to take a holistic view of the key metrics to really see the full picture.
Why measure usage metrics?
In a sales-centric environment like car sales, it’s tempting to focus solely on performance metrics like leads, test drives, sales, conversion figures and performance against targets. After all why do you care about how well a user is using the software so long as they are pushing tin – surely that’s AutoPlays problem?
And you would be right, one of the main priorities for AutoPlay is ensuring that our customers are using the software to get all the advantages that come with this, rather than just ticking boxes because they have to. However it should also be driven from the dealership side for many reasons. When the good times come to an end the diligence shown around lead management will set up sales people to maintain their levels of success.
Moreover, a rogue salesperson who sells well but doesn’t manage their leads will inevitably create a wake around them. It creates more work for Managers and if they leave the business it’s impossible to handover to a new staff member.
Most importantly even the best performing sales person can always do better. Unless your conversion to sales is at 100% there should always be room to focus on improving performance – and one of the easiest ways to improve performance is to drive the key metrics that underpin success.
How do I measure usage?
The first step is to determine what the key metrics are for usage. It is about more than just the number of logins, leads, test drives or sales loaded. The following 5 metrics are key to establishing good habits and maximising lead management.
1. Lead Source %
How effective is your dealership at capturing the details of where your leads are coming from? Tracking the lead source is one of the easiest things to achieve, yet is commonly an area where even good salespeople let themselves down. Part of this can be attributed to not seeing how capturing this info can have a direct effect on their own personal bottom line – the obvious answer being that understanding the most profitable marketing channels will help the dealership make decisions to generate the most leads, for the least cost. More leads equal more sales opportunities which can only be a good thing.
How to weight: Score/20
(% of leads with Lead Source x 20 points)
2. Overdue + Stalled Leads #
Is your dealership letting leads fall through the cracks, or are you keeping up to date? If nothing else, the key focus for any salespeople is to keep their leads in the Now or Future date ranges. If leads are falling into Overdue or Stalled then they are not being managed well. The goal should be to have zero leads in Overdue or Stalled.
How to weight: Score/20
(20 points for zero Overdue/Stalled. – 0.5 points for any lead at Overdue or Stalled)
3. Awaiting Action #
If you don’t respond to leads quickly and efficiently then no amount of good lead management practices will win you these customers back. It’s vital your salespeople move leads through the road-to-a-sale and don’t leave them languishing at ‘Awaiting Action’.
How to weight: Score/20
(20 points for zero Awaiting Action. – 0.5 points for any lead still at Awaiting Action)
4. Average Data Capture %
Is your sales team making sure to capture the customer info required to follow-up? For most dealerships they are not converting 70% to 80% of the leads the dealership receives. If you don’t capture customer details it makes it hard for the dealership to remarket to these contacts who have not resulted in a sale. Score at Meet & Qualify stage to account for throwaway web enquiries that never progress beyond an initial reply.
How to weight: Score/20
(% of data captured for contacts at Meet & Qualify stage and beyond x 20 points)
5. Close Reason %
When closing leads as lost is your sales team recording a reason for the lost lead? Creating a discipline around qualifying “lost” leads not only helps isolate the reasons customers are not buying, but also forces salespeople to pay attention to how they close leads in order to open up more remarketing opportunities down the line.
How to weight: Score/20
(% of leads closed lost with reason x 20 points)
Using this process to gauge your performance out of 100 will help dealerships attribute their overall usage of AutoPlay to one easy to digest single score. From AutoPlays side we are in the very early stages of planning out a Dealership Score for our AutoPlay reporting suite. If you have any questions about these metrics or feedback on how you measure usage please hit us up at email@example.com
The first month of the year is done and dusted, and with it brought a return to normalcy in the volume of leads, test drives and sales captured by AutoPlay customers (approx. 80% of the franchise market by volume). Where December saw a lull in the number of leads captured, January has returned to normal levels which have resulted in big increase across the board - leads increased by 17.3%, test drives by 15.7% and sales by 16.5% December 2017 to January 2018.
Leads captured increased across all sources with the ‘Web – Dealer’ source increasing by 22.4% from December to January and regaining the top spot as the most common source of leads for kiwi dealers. ‘Web – Classified’ slipped from first to second but still increased by 13.6%. After a 33% decrease in December, brands rebounded and the number of ‘Brand’ leads increased by 41.9%.
In January ‘Web – Dealer’ increased by 20.9%, ‘Direct’ increased by 21.9% and ‘Brand’ increased by 21% - knocking ‘Web – Classified’ off the number 3 spot. As leads decreased in December there likely wasn’t a huge number of December created leads waiting to be converted in January to test drives – showing that many of the leads generated in January are being closed the same month.
In December 2018 the ‘Brand’ source was the only lead source to buck the trend and experience an increase in sales from November to December. In January big increases in sales generated from ‘Web – Dealer’ (up 41.2%), ‘Web – Classified’ (up 19.6%) and ‘Repeat’ (up 23.4%) saw the ‘Brand’ source disappear from the top 3 sources of sales. In particular sales from classified sites jumped back into the top 3 – helped by the fact that in December 6.8% more test drives were captured from sites like Driven, Autotrader and Trade Me.
Make sure to check out next months issue of The Playbook to see how leads, test drives and sales by source changed in the month of February.
Top 3 Sources for Leads, Test Drives and Sales New Zealand Dealerships December 2017 (vs November 2017)
Now that 2017 is over we can take a look back at Lead, Test Drive and Sales activity over December 2017. Overall December was a quiet month as we lost a number of days to stat holidays and the quiet period between Christmas and New Year’s. Overall, the number of Leads captured by dealers using AutoPlay Sales Pipeline were down 17% from November 2017 to December 2017. Mirroring this trend, we also saw the number of Test Drives decrease by 12.7% and Sales by 12.9%.
Although Leads decreased by 17% in December, ‘Web – Classified’ managed to buck the trend and increase by 4.4%. Whilst the discipline of loading leads can slip around the holiday season, AutoPlay captures leads from 3rd party websites automatically which has helped to keep this figure stable. With ‘Web – Dealer’ accounting for 10.7% fewer leads in December this helped ‘Web – Classified’ regain the top spot in December 2017. After a strong November, the number of leads provided to dealers by the ‘Brand’ decreased by 33%, causing this lead source to slip to the third best source of leads for kiwi dealers.
Test Drives were down across the board in December. but after several months as the number one source of leads for dealers, there were still a number of leads from the ‘Web – Dealer’ source to be converted to Test Drives – resulting in a smaller decrease of 0.9% compared to 12.7% across all sources of Test Drives. ‘Direct’ was the second most prevalent source of Test Drives and ‘Web – Classified’ accounted for the third most Test Drives – up 6.8% from November 2017.
Sales were also down across the board with ‘Web – Dealer’ down 10.6% and ‘Repeat’ down 20.6%. In between ‘Brand’ accounted for the second most sales in December and was up 20.2% from November – likely due to the high volumes of brand leads pushed through from previous months slowly being converted to sales.
Make sure to check back next month to see the most frequent sources of Leads, Test Drives and Sales in January 2018.
As I write, Xmas is just around the corner and this provides dealers with a great opportunity to review what lead sources are, and are not working for them. Overall activity remained pretty static in November. Leads decreased slightly by 0.2%, Test Drives decreased by 0.1% and Sales increased slightly by 1.0% from October.
In November the top 3 sources of Leads remained ‘Web – Dealer’, ‘Brand’ and ‘Web – Classified’. ‘Web – Dealer’ fell by 6.2% but still managed to retain the top spot, though there were 1.7% more leads generated by ‘Brands’ in November than in October. ‘Web – Classified’ continued to drop, with 5.1% fewer leads from these sources in November than in October.
October saw a significant 35% increase in Test Drives for the ‘Direct’ source, however this proved to be an aberration as the top 3 spots were occupied again by ‘Web Dealer’, ‘Brand’ and ‘Web – Classified’. ‘Web – Dealer’ was the most common source of Test Drives, however in November the volume decreased by 12.3%. Both ‘Brand’ (up 39.2%) and ‘Web – Classified’ (up 19.3%) were popular sources of Test Drives in November.
After becoming the number one source of Sales in October, ‘Web – Dealer’ retained prime position with a further 6.7% increase. In November a large number of Sales were recorded as being from the ‘Referral’ source – with an unusual 124.9% increase. ‘Direct’ also increased by a significant margin with an increase of 44.1% month-to-month.
What are the Top 3 Sources of Leads, Test Drives and Sales for kiwi dealerships? (October 1st to October 31st)
In October 2017, for the second consecutive month AutoPlay customers experienced an interesting scenario where Leads captured increased (up by 6.3%), but Test Drives (down by 4.9%) and Sales (down by 4.0%) both decreased from October levels as dealers converted less of the leads that they generated.
Lead sources were distributed across many different channels in October – resulting in drops for 2 of the top 3 lead sources. Only ‘Web – Dealer’ increased by 2.8% from September – making dealer websites the top source of leads in October. ‘Web – Classified’ continued to fall from previous heights to the 3rd most frequent source of leads in October. Following a decrease of 15.4% in September, the number of leads from 3rd Party sites dropped again by 12.4%.
In October there was a significant 35.2% increase in the number of Test Drives where the source has been recorded as ‘Direct’ (which is often used by dealerships for walk in Test Drives). Despite this ‘Web – Dealer’ remained in the top spot for the second consecutive month with a slight increase in the number of Test Drives from dealer websites. ‘Web – Classified’ continued to decrease with a further 23% drop from September to October – predominately due to the decrease in the number of leads being received by AutoPlay customers from 3rd party websites.
‘Web – Dealer’ jumped ahead of ‘Web – Classified’ as the top source of Sales in October for AutoPlay Sales Pipeline due to an increase of 3.2% for the former, and a drop of 11.5% for the latter. As always ‘Repeat’ continues to be the third most frequent source of Sales for kiwi dealers and rebounded from a slight decrease in October to grow by 10.6% last month.
There are only 3 ways that a customer can communicate with a dealership – face-to-face (walk in), email or by phone (some may argue SMS but that’s a discussion for another article). AutoPlay Sales Pipeline has a number of in-dealership tools that make capturing data face to face easy including Drivers Licence/Business Card scanning, Test Drive Forms and Appraisal Forms. Similarly Email leads are captured automatically from dealer and third-party websites via our lead capture mechanisms or our API’s. That leaves Phone leads as one of the main areas where there is still massive potential for leads to fall through the cracks.
Face-to-face may never go out of style in NZ, but in an increasingly digital landscape it’s easy to focus on email activity over phone leads – after all it’s much more transparent to managers, and this makes it far easier and less expensive to track. Despite this, phone calls both in and out still play a significant part in the sales process. If you are not tracking phone activity it’s akin to driving with one hand over one of your eyes – you are just not seeing the whole picture.
Tracking phone leads will improve your lead quality as it will give salespeople a better idea of how “warm” their leads are. It will help you convert more leads as it’s very likely phone leads are not getting the same love and attention as email or walk-in leads – although initially your conversion figures may actually look worse. Most importantly you’ll be seeing a clear picture of real activity – allowing better tracking of marketing success and better analysis of performance.
What type of Phone Activity should be tracked?
There are two types of phone sales activity that should be tracked alongside your walk-in and email leads.
1. Inbound New Sales Phone Leads
Currently AutoPlay don’t automatically capture phone leads (though it’s something we are exploring – read more below). This means the onus is on dealerships to record Phone leads to the Sales Pipeline to ensure a clear picture of real activity. You can easily do this by selecting the Lead Type as ‘PHONE’. Some dealerships have taken this a step further and had reception load the lead upon receiving the call – ensuring the lead was logged and streamlining the process for the salesperson that ultimately handles the call. If tracking phone leads is something that is important to you (and it should be!), then the best dealers find a way to incorporate this into their process.
In AutoPlay Reporting the Lead Summary Report provides a clear picture of the number of ‘Phone’ leads. The pie graph at the top shows the proportion of your leads by ‘Walk-In’, ‘Email’, ‘Other’ (sent from Brand/DMS etc) or ‘Phone’. In the table below, you can view the count of Phone leads for the period, as well as conversion of Phone leads to Test Drive and Sales. Interestingly for many dealers their conversion figures will mirror those below – with conversion on ‘Phone’ leads having far more in common with ‘Walk-In’ leads than with ‘Email’ leads.
AutoPlay can also provide a Prospect & CRM Follow Up screen which enables tracking of phone activity for actions that don’t yet qualify as leads – for example 12 Month Follow Up, 24 Month Follow Up or 36 Month Follow Up with existing customers who previously purchased a vehicle from your dealership.
2. Inbound & Outbound Phone Activity On Existing Leads
It’s also important to track the phone calls your sales team make & receive in the course of following up existing sales leads. There are a couple of methods to achieve this within AutoPlay Sales Pipeline. At its most simple you can simply update the Lead Progress as you move the lead through the road-to-a-sale. Using the iOS Apps or the Desktop you can click on PROGRESS and select ‘PHONE CALL MADE’ to record that you have had the first interaction with the customer. The current progress of the lead can be seen on the Dashboard, or the Sales Pipeline Report (pictured below).
The Lead Progress gives you a simplistic measure that a Phone Call has been made, however to get a truer picture of activity you need to be tracking ongoing follow up on each lead. After updating the Progress, the Sales Pipeline will automatically prompt users to schedule follow up – our philosophy is “tell us what you have done, and tell us what you are gonna do”. When creating a calendar event, it’s as simple as selecting Phone Inbound or Outbound as the Event Type.
AutoPlay Reporting allows managers to keep on top of this activity. The Morning Meeting Report allows you to drill down to individual salespeople and view the phone activity – both completed and to be completed – by using the Refine Search option. You can also view this information in the Overdue Lead Report.
What Does The Future Hold?
At AutoPlay we are always exploring options to improve our product further. Recently we’ve been talking to other providers who have the capability of capturing phone leads digitally. Working with a provider of these types of services would enable these leads to be automatically fed into the Sales Pipeline – saving the effort of manually loading Phone leads.
This would involve additional costs from the other vendor and AutoPlay in order to facilitate this service. At present we are exploring options but if the automatic capture of phone leads is something you would be interested in please flick an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we know this is a service worth pursuing.
AutoPlay Sales Pipeline is a pre-sales lead management tool designed for dealerships, dealer groups and automakers