Using Tech Investments to Evaluate Your Marketing Efforts
Your business has invested the money and time into obtaining state-of-art technology for your dealership. Use it to improve your marketing
When you are operating a dealership that has invested in a quality phone system, a top-of-the-line CRM, showroom/door traffic monitoring and a detailed accounting system then you must find a way to link all of these together to monitor your marketing spends. It goes beyond that, in terms of monitoring all aspects of your business, but for our purposes today lets talk about marketing and business health.
Corporate wide IP phone systems are extremely valuable tools because of the detailed reporting that is available. Inbound phone traffic closely mirrors door swings and showroom traffic. If you see a drop in your inbound phone traffic you can almost certainly bet you will see a mirrored drop in door swings. Monitoring this at the end of the month is a waste of time. You better be watching it weekly if not every other day.
Drop a few social media posts on specific units, monthly specials or dealer incentives? Look at your phone traffic. Looking at overall health of your store and how you compare to last year? Look at your phone traffic. Get ahead of problems before they happen – or respond quickly to bad online reviews. If there are consistent bad online reviews regarding lack of response, look at your phone records. People complaining about lack of return calls? Look at your phone records.
Make no mistake, marketing is directly tied to online reviews. Let your rating slide to below 4 (1-5) on the major search engines and social media sites and you will play hell getting any kind of organic traffic (i.e. free). Your CRM should be set to automatically ask for an online review for EVERY sale. When your sales staff argues against it, or you feel the need to try and filter for only good online reviews it means one thing. Your customer service sucks.
Yes, you will get unfounded bad reviews from people who are either flakes or can never be satisfied. It doesn’t matter. Why? Because your volume and satisfaction level with your normal client base should be enough to overwhelm this problem. And if its not, then you have other problems that need to be addressed far beyond asking for an online review from someone who gave you their money.
We continually seek to utilize our CRM (VIN Solutions) in new ways. Recently I have built custom reports that show me how many sales leads we get in any given period by quality and source. It doesn't do any good to receive 600 leads in a month if 50% of them are bad. Luckily we do much better than that with a current performance of 78% good leads across 3 locations. Quality varies by source, and performance varies by source but this is all readily available for evaluation if you know how to read your data. Social media has a higher percentage of bad leads (no contact info, fake names etc) and a lower performance with about a 6% close rate. However the numbers in terms of cost per lead and quantity make up for it. On the other side we see a much higher cost per lead for Cycletrader and Autotrader, but our performance and quality is much higher. These things are very important to understand as you should be trying to reach an overall closing goal for your dealerships. At iMotorsports we want to see that in the 10-12% range.
Reporting from all your tools, CRM, phone system, email system, door swings, website traffic and more is how you develop an overall picture that you can provide to your management so that they can make the best possible decisions. Marketing is more than glitzy pictures - you have to be quick on your feet in order to gain market share and survive.