By Bill Wittenmyer, VP Sales, Layered Apps & Competitive Accounts, Elead
Uncertainty is a word that business owners dislike. When you know what you’re dealing with, you can plan for it. If you don’t know what you’re dealing with, it’s nearly impossible to plan.
So far, 2020 has been filled with uncertainty and dealers don’t know what to expect next. A natural response to uncertainty is to review and manage expenses more carefully.
For many dealers, this means reigning in unnecessary spending and operating with fewer employees. This raises an age-old conundrum. As the market tightens, dealers need to expend more effort to strengthen customer relationships to capture and convert new leads. But how do you expend more effort with fewer resources?
The answer: strategic outsourcing.
First, you’ll need to decide what you really need versus what you simply want. What are the most important activities for revenue generation? You probably don’t want to put lead generation or lead follow-up activities on hold. In service, keeping loyal customers happy is more important than ever, but so is conquesting new customers.
If you’re not sure which activities are a priority, use your CRM reports. These reports will tell you where you need to focus your efforts and what your strengths and weaknesses are.
On the sales side, where do your highest-grossing leads come from? What’s your average lead response time? Is your sales team making all the necessary phone calls and outreach to convert leads into appointments? Are you mining new leads from your CRM?
On the service side, are your reaching out to customers who are due for major repairs, or who have recalls on their vehicles? Are all incoming calls getting answered? Are you following up with service customers to ensure their satisfaction and encourage them to fill out CSI surveys?
Don’t assume or expect that your current staff should be able to do everything, especially if you have fewer employees now than you did several months ago. Sales and service employees’ main focus should be on taking care of the customers in front of them. During a busy day, they simply don’t have the time to sit down and focus on the long list of activities that generate new leads, never mind what it takes to convert them into appointments.
If you’re falling short in key revenue-generating activities, consider outsourcing to a BDC. Outsourcing to a BDC with experienced automotive professionals is probably less expensive, and certainly less of a hassle, than hiring and training new employees to do the job.
A primary benefit of outsourcing is that you can scale up, scale down or change the BDC’s activities on a monthly basis depending on what your CRM reports reveal. This month perhaps you need pre-owned inventory, so use BDC agents to mine equity leads. Next month, perhaps you’ll need more follow up on those leads. The following month, maybe you want to sell more service contracts to customers who recently purchased vehicles.
Here are just a handful of activities that trained and experienced BDC agents can provide help with.
Sourcing New Leads
Many of your best leads already exist in your CRM. Whether they’re customers coming off-lease, customers with equity in their vehicles or owners of vehicles with more than 80,000 miles, it takes dedicated and focused effort to find, contact and convert these leads, and this process should be executed by skilled, trained agents who follow proven call tracks.
Lead Follow Up & Nurturing
On average, salespeople give up trying to reach a lead after two phone calls, but data shows that it often takes four or more attempts to actually reach a customer. In addition to being persistent, BDC agents can be used to nurture leads and bring them down funnel.
It’s extremely important that you nurture customers efficiently without sacrificing the customer experience. Consider a lead nurturing program that gives your customers high-quality interactions and delivers productive follow-up strategies with a personal touch.
Outsourcing some of these activities to a BDC is a great way to speed up lead response time and increase lead conversion rates.
Fixed Ops Campaigns
Sometimes, sending out emails and postcards just isn’t enough. If you have customers who are due for big-ticket repair items or have a recall on their vehicle, it may be worth your while to call them. BDC agents can also follow up with customers after service to conduct CSI surveys.
Inbound phone calls are still the best low funnel leads, but unanswered calls or routing errors can result in numerous lost leads. When your staff is busy, route inbound calls to a BDC so customer inquiries are answered immediately with a personal response. If you don’t pick up the phone, you can bet your competitors will.
The more customers that show for appointments, the more cars you sell and the more service you provide. Every single appointment in both service and sales should be confirmed.
However, you don’t necessarily want to have your staff tied up on the phone for long periods of time just to confirm appointments. Outsourcing these basic calls to a BDC can keep your staff free to spend time with the customers in front of them on the showroom floor.
If your dealership, like countless others, is trying to do more with less these days, strategic outsourcing to a BDC might be your best bet. When properly trained and armed with scripts, BDC agents can offer the right help at the right time, providing necessary back up for busy sales and service staff when needed. And that means you can stay productive while managing your expenses.
About the Author
Bill Wittenmyer serves as VP Sales, Layered Apps & Competitive Accounts at Elead. With over 25 years of experience in automotive retail, he relies on the industry’s most comprehensive technology platform and data-driven strategies to help dealerships enhance customer experiences and grow profits.