It costs a lot to list your vehicles online. When a new listing is received into stock by a dealership the first instinct is to get that listing online as soon as possible. For a lot of dealerships this means getting the old Lumix out and getting those photographs onto Trade Me, Driven, Autotrader and the dealership website quick smart - even if the listing has yet to add any Features and Comments.
This isn't necessarily the wrong idea - the sooner the listing is online the sooner the leads can start rolling in right? However recently AutoPlay has been growing into the Australian market and have noticed a definite trend that perhaps has some learnings for the kiwi market as well.
In NZ although some channels charge per lead, the majority of 3rd party sites charge a monthly subscription instead. In Australia the model is quite different with Car Sales.com.au as their main source of online leads. With Car Sales.com.au the dealerships are charged for each lead they receive. Possibly because of this they are far more conscious than kiwi dealers of working their current "in market" leads before paying to list online - and with good reason.
Imagine you pay $50 per lead from an online portal. For each listing you put on line you are generating an average of 5 leads over the listings lifetime (and this is a very conservative figure in the Aus market). This will cost the dealership an average of $250 per listing that comes directly off their bottom line.
Instead what Australian dealerships have been focussing on is using all of the contacts in their pre-sale database (from captured leads) and retargeting these customers BEFORE they actually list the vehicle online. If we look at the chart below we can see a lot of money spent on marketing from various sources which then ultimately converts down to about 40% of leads into Test Drives and 20% into Sales. This leaves 80% which have made themselves known to the dealership as being "In Market". A new Mazda 6 arrives in stock or is traded in? Great, just identify all the customers that came in on a Mazda 6 or similar and call them. If you make a sale you don't have to ever list the vehicle online and you've saved yourself days of waiting and at least $250. If you don't make a sale then list the car online and all you've lost is a day or two and you still have a potential customer who will appreciate that you thought of them. Easy right?
Where the breakdown sometimes occurs is that often it is difficult for the salesperson or manager to identify which potential customers might be interested in the new Mazda 6. Australian dealerships have the same challenges as NZ dealers - in the vast majority of cases the sales team is only loading to the DMS the 20% that actually make it to a sale.
Although early days in the Aus market for us, with AutoPlay Sales Pipeline we are finding that because of this differing approach we are finding some positive reception to what AutoPlay are doing. Some of the Sales Pipelines main strengths are that it is incredibly easy to use, mobile friendly and digitises things like TD and Appraisal Forms - all of which contributes to more customers being captured more accurately - we have seen in kiwi dealerships where as much as 9x more emails and customer info has been captured when using AutoPlay as opposed to using the DMS alone.
There are primarily 2 ways that dealerships can tap into their "in market" leads. The first is on an individual basis. The Sales Pipeline allows you to search on the Dashboard for whoever has enquired on certain models. When you have access to a similar model it's super easy to find those that enquired previously - particularly so when they are often captured automatically for 3rd party sites. Users can also canvas their "In Market" leads by accessing the Listing Summary screen from the Dashboard.
Before deleting the sold listing simply find it via the Listing Summary and you will be able to see a full list of who enquired on the listing, as well as what stage they got to in the road-to-a-sale and the salesperson looking after them - making recycling these leads into another similar vehicle a doddle!
Depending on the time available a similar (if less personal) result can be achieved by utilising the built in Live Leads function available to all Sales Pipeline users. We have gone on at length about Live Leads in this PlayBook, but if you are not familiar with it you can read more here. Live Leads enables dealerships to target based on their previously captured leads any customers that enquired on a particular Make/Model (among other criteria). They can then send unique video emails to these recipients with a range of vehicle videos on them - designed to test whether the customer is still "in market". If a recipient watches a video the Sales Pipeline can be set up to trigger an automatic calendar reminder to contact this customer - thus taking out a lot of the hard work required to gauge the temperature of customers who enquired but didn't purchase.
With the Dashboard, Listing Summary and Live Leads AutoPlay makes it very easy to retarget and recycle previous leads onto similar listings. Although the main sources for electronic leads in NZ do not charge per lead there is still much that can be learnt from this process. Whilst kiwi dealers should still aim to get their new listings online as soon as possible, they should also follow the discipline of checking their potential "in market" leads simultaneously to give themselves as much opportunity as possible.