Human nature changes slowly over time, however technology can change human behaviour relatively quickly. As an example, look at the impact the streaming content providers have had over the last two years. Lightbox and Netflix have been like a hot knife through butter, driving the masses to exhibit a totally different behaviour when consuming entertainment based content. In the wake of this, Internet Service Providers are being pushed into providing unlimited data plans, broadcast TV is struggling to maintain advertising revenue and Sky is becoming more dependent on its sporting content whiles it subscription pricing is under pressure. Interestingly this change is not based on a contracting market but an expanding market of higher consumption and binge watching, supported by many more ubiquitous access points. This has been a technology driven change.
For our industry, technology has proven to be a real winner. Once mobile access to the internet became affordable and smartphone usage reached a tipping point in market penetration, there was no barrier to searching for a motor vehicle 24 hours a day; waiting for the Trade and Exchange and Saturday morning paper are a thing of the past. Some do urge that it has also made it more competitive which might be true, but I am sure it has not broken the 80/20 rule which covers anything from business to fishing.
The boundaries continue to change, being pushed by both the prospective customers and the prospective purchaser. You will see in the attached Sales Funnel the change in boundaries between what is considered as marketing reach and sales effectiveness. Rather than just being academic it shows a true behaviour change within our customers, some of which has been driven by an industry readily adopting technology and a customer base ready to consume the content. It has been no secret for many years that prospective buyers spend up to six months researching and evaluating before crossing the kerb into a dealership. They come armed with total awareness around the product and market based pricing. From our perspective that’s why we push for all leads to be recorded within a dealership as they have not turned up there by accident.
An understanding of this shift is required to allow full control over the total buying process, not just the few steps through the in-dealership ‘Road to Sale’. The upside is that there is now so much more control over prospective customers during the marketing phase. We have quickly move from loosely coupled TVC’s and in showroom activities to tightly coupled ‘above the line’ activities supported by targeted digital campaigns. The prospective customer can now be tracked through the full conversion funnel and the approach can be customised depending on the path of the journey. Just like the prospective customers that cross the kerb, these marketing generated leads need to have a lot of weight applied to them around follow-up and effective sales discipline.
Making the sale is always the goal for today and remarketing always needs to be the goal for tomorrow. On average 60% of all dealership leads will not progress to a test drive, however these prospective customers are still generally in the market and already have a high brand awareness of your dealership and products. Many of your oppositions sales will come from this pool of leads. Remarketing comes in many shapes and forms and cannot be seen as just one activity. Looking at the attached diagram it is easy to see that in general terms there are two types of remarketing required. The first is managing your marketing leads that are not converting into sales leads, and the second is for those leads from within your dealership that you cannot convert into sales.
The customers who remain within the market selection ‘above the line’ have in most cases been driven to your website via direct advertising or the likes of Google AdWords. Once they are identified, the remarketing messages change as they move through the stages from awareness to intent. This is where technology has moved the boundaries providing techniques that are nothing short of a black art. The frontend of the technology however is very usable and needs to be leveraged because it is no longer in the hands of the sales representative like it has been in the past. As stated above, the leads generated from this activity need to be highly valued.
Sales leads, those mainly within the ‘purchase’ arena must have a separate and dedicated remarketing focus as they are tomorrows sales and already have direct engagement with your business. It you are an AutoPlay customer, this is where our Live Leads service fits in, keeping these prospect customers engaged until they are ready to purchase.
Technology has been a huge enabler for both our business and our customers access to products and services. The step change that we need to be aware of is the ever-changing movement of the boundaries around the customer’s sales journey and the technology which supports it.
AutoPlay Sales Pipeline is a pre-sales lead management tool designed for dealerships, dealer groups and automakers