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THE AUTOMOTIVE PARADIGM SHIFT: Is it Time for Science to Take the Wheel?

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by David Metter

In baseball, one slight alteration in the way a hitter approaches the ball can be the difference between strike one and a home run. If a batter’s swing is off by only a few millimeters, or even just a fraction of a millimeter, this makes all the difference in how powerfully they hit the ball, foul it off, or if they strike out entirely.

I believe it's time to take a step back and rethink, rewire, reverse, and reevaluate the way we sell cars today. In order to solve the problems dealerships face when it comes to their operations and overall sales performance, we have to change how we approach the ball. Once again, it's time to disrupt the game and attack from a new angle.

Vendors, dealers, agencies, digital advertisers, partners, and OEMs all have the same end goal - to sell more cars and gain more customers. The dealerships and the experiences customers have at those dealerships determine whether or not people buy cars - so dealer support is what it's all about.

The car business is in desperate need of a complete paradigm shift. Revolution starts with forgetting everything you think you know and making decisions based on facts and a scientific approach.

Thomas Kuhn is an American physicist and philosopher regarded by Stanford as one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, if not the single most influential. The University of California, Berkeley, credits Kuhn for the defining paradigm shifts and the idea of scientific revolution as one in the same.

“Kuhn famously distinguished between normal science, where scientists solve puzzles within a particular framework or paradigm, and revolutionary science, when the paradigm gets overturned.”

During times of scientific revolution, anomalies disproving old theories are broken down, and new ones form to take their place in what’s known as a “paradigm shift.” So how does this relate to selling cars? Science’s definition of a paradigm shift is really just a fancy way of saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know…until you know.” Or in other words, you’ll never be able to know what you’re winning until you know what you’re losing. 

The fact is, science is the only paradigm to live by in the information age. Undoing everything we think we know is not an easy task, especially for an industry overpopulated with often unjustified ego. There is this mindset that dealers only need to measure themselves against themselves. But when you think about it, that’s a myopic way of looking at your business.

So if you sell 200 cars this month and you only sold 170 last month, that means you're improving, right? Not necessarily. To be able to see what’s really happening in your market, we need to look at the entire landscape of the opportunities you’re working. Selling 200 cars is great, but 240 is better – and having the ability to see all these existing opportunities without spending an additional dollar on your marketing, that’s revolutionary.

Another common misconception is that if you don’t sell a car within the first week or two of the lead hitting your CRM, that customer is not going buy. Seems logical, right? Wrong – and here’s a perfect example…

One of our dealerships was seeing a jump in sales between day 8 and day 14 post-lead in their CRM. They did a great job picking it back up and getting more sales during this time frame. However, in actuality during this same time, more than TWICE as many customers purchased from one of their competitors. The data shows that during days 8-14 when this dealership thought they were killing it with 60 sales, there were 150 customers, marked opportunities in their CRM, that they touched, that went on to buy a car somewhere else. That’s a problem.

When we approach this same data set from a scientific perspective, we see something entirely different that our industry has never thought to focus on before – the loss. If we can see all the opportunities you let slide through the cracks, along with the people or sources tied to those defections, we can then see a new side of an often-skewed story. We can’t just look at the wins, as there is a lot we can learn from knowing the number of customers our dealership encountered that left to purchase somewhere else.

Because the dealership in the example mentioned above had never been able to compare closed sales versus defections in this capacity, they really had no idea what was going on both in their own store and in their market overall. During a time frame where they thought they were winning, they lost 100 sales to same make competitors and another 50 to competing brands in their market.

So we start to see these ailments, or weakness that start bubbling up to the surface. It’s also so important to keep in mind that each and every dealership is unique – and that’s fact, not opinion. If you attack the way you sell cars with a science-based approach, you start to see sales and defection data differently than you’ve ever seen it before and the facts become crystal clear.

Never underestimate the power of knowing what you’re losing. Think about it this way; it’s a lot like choosing to watch a movie in black and white when you have the option to watch it in 3D HD, multidimensional color. Which would you choose when it comes to the way you view your CRM data?

 

The 2018 Big Data Landscape: You Can't Run & You Can't Hide

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by David Metter

Every New Year is accompanied by a revitalized, fresh new wave of energy. It’s exciting to hit that reset with button with a renewed sense of faith as we reassess our goals and make changes to be better. I believe 2018 in particular will be a year of overflowing opportunity, unlike any other. I say this because when it comes to both digital marketing and dealership operations, we’re starting off the year with a very powerful weapon that will eliminate instances of both assumption and uncertainty.

A calm quiet will take over the imperious noise of opinion. It will shatter the fear of the unknown and replace it with the confidence of proven science. Instead of basing decisions on what you think, you will improve your business by what you know.

Data is what is known. Data is rooted in science and in proof. Data is truth. And let me be clear, there is no escaping the truth that your dealership’s sales data will bring to the surface once it’s seen from all angles. Believe it or not, the value of the data that lives within your CRM and DMS has infinite potential to improve the way you operate. It’s all about looking at that data through the right lens in order to get a new, better, multidimensional view.

At Urban Science, we’re incredibly fortunate that we can take the data that resides in your dealership and break it down into 4 simple buckets that you can actually wrap your heads around, so that you and your vendor-partners can take real action.

  1. Lead Source
  2. Model
  3. Geography
  4. Salesperson

Because of the sales data we get every single day, we can infuse both sales and defection trends on top of every lead that hits your CRM in near real time. Not only do we look at the sales within any given dealership, but we also look at the sales that happened outside of that dealership. Then we use that data to evaluate trends, triumphs, and defeats within their processes, related to the four buckets listed above. That last one (salesperson performance) is especially exciting. Never in my career has there been a way to look at the true effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a dealership’s salespeople.

All of a sudden when you can see your data from this utopian, comprehensive perspective, you start to also see what you’re losing within the opportunities that you PAID for, driven by the traffic hitting your CRM. When you can see trends of effectiveness or ineffectiveness (success and failure), you then have the power to make changes that will make you better in all four of those buckets. Whether you’re working with a training organization, adapting to new advertising initiatives, or even changing pricing within your inventory, you can start making decisions based on factual truth, which will ultimately benefit all parties involved.

So instead of running your business hindered by fear of the unknown, the right data will give you the power to flourish in the light of certainty. Until now, dealers have been lost in the dark when it comes to the trends or holes in their processes simply because of a lack in the quality of sales and defection data at their disposal.

I’d also like to make it very clear that CRM and DMS companies are NOT at fault because they do what they do really well. It’s just a matter of infusing the right information into your system, much like what you see with data and analytics companies that integrate into Salesforce, the largest CRM company in the world.

As you set new goals and make changes for 2018, remember that data doesn’t lie and not even your #1 salesperson can hide from it. Data has proven time and time again that all those leads in your CRM who are marked as “did not buy” actually did purchase, and in addition, we know what they bought, when they bought, and where they bought. That information becomes super powerful – sometimes more powerful than we can even understand. I look forward to spending 2018 spreading that power across this industry so that we can all reap the benefits of the bigger, better picture.

 

 

 

 

 

What Dealers Don’t Know About Their “Best” Salespeople

by David Metter

As it turns out, what you don’t know about your salespeople can hurt you. I am not sure why, but we don’t often associate analytical tools as the best way to measure the performance of the people we hire to connect with our customers and build lasting relationships. I’m a common sense guy, so if my staff is hitting their numbers and selling cars, there’s really no reason for concern or to take a deeper dive into the opportunities they’re working…right? Not necessarily.

What I’ve come to accept over the last few years is that when good data is presented in a way we can easily understand, it has a tendency to challenge everything we “think” we know about selling cars. Too many of us think that we are the “Presidents of the I Think Club.” I learned that from one of the truly smart guys in the car business, Gary Marcotte, over 10 years ago and I've never forgotten it. 

Dealers have always been able to see their close rates, or how many opportunities each salesperson successfully converted into a vehicle sold. But there is an entire other half (or I could argue 2/3) of the story they haven’t been getting – and that’s how many opportunities they didn’t close and purchased a car from someone else – or in other words, their defection rate. When you layer in data that shows defection rates to competing dealers or brands in your market, it gives life to a story we’ve not only never been able to see before, but one we never even thought to look at before.

I sold cars for seven years, spent years as a sales manager, then the General Manager of a dealership and I eventually became the CMO of large dealer group with 1,100 salespeople to account for. It would have been impossible to analyze every opportunity every person in our organization touched – so the first time I saw this data in action I was blown away.

Take a look at the graph below. The blue line shows how many cars each individual sold during this 3-month time frame. The gray lines show you the number of opportunities that salesperson touched that went on to buy from someone else – whether it was a same make competitor in your market (light gray) or from a competing brand (dark gray).

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In this example, this dealership thought that John was one of their best salespeople. But when you look at your CRM data with a 3-dimensional lens and layer that lost sale (defection) data on top of it, you start to see the true story behind your “all-star” players. You see how many opportunities John touched that went on to purchase from your competitor down the street or from a different brand entirely.

In reality, Jordan is this dealer’s best salesperson. Based on the opportunities he was working, he sold substantially more than he lost. In fact, out of everyone, he lost the least amount of opportunities. So success doesn’t always translate to selling more cars than you did last month. It can also mean losing fewer opportunities to competitors.

Here’s another example. The screen shot below shows the actual effectiveness of a salesperson as they compare to the dealership overall. So in this case, Jim may only be selling 8 cars a month, but because he’s not getting all the opportunities, his effectiveness is 149% - meaning he’s outperforming based on the leads he’s getting. Bill on the other hand might be getting way too many opportunities and he might look like one of your best sales people, but he’s really only about 47% effective towards closing everything he touches.

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Your best salespeople are the ones who consistently deliver HIGH close rates and LOW defection rates. But you need that defection data to see who your real winners and losers are. Think about it like this, a pitcher that has a lot of saves, but has equally if not more blown saves, doesn’t really help the team. Or if a starting pitcher has 10 wins but has 14 losses, is he really a great pitcher? If you only looked at saves or wins, you might think so but when you can see everything at once, the story changes. This is the same sort of comparison.

Keep in mind that if a salesperson has a high defection rate, it may not always be their fault. Maybe they’re being assigned far too many leads than any one person is capable of handling. Or the types of leads they’re working come from providers with low overall close rates. There are all these other factors involved. But those are topics for a different day.

If dealers look at their business through this new lens, they will start seeing trends of opportunity and loss that they can’t see by just looking at their own data and what happens within the four walls of their dealership. In order to determine true success or failure you also need to look at the sales effectiveness outside of your dealership.

10 Key Takeaways from the DrivingSales Data Discussion of 2017

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by David Metter

I recently had the honor of co-moderating a dealer panel discussion at the DrivingSales Executive Summit. Together with fellow attribution frontrunner, Steve White, CEO & Founder of Clarivoy, and our dealer experts, Shaun Kniffin, Marketing & Technology Director of Germain Automotive Group and Ben Robertaccio, Marketing Director of the quickly-rising Morrie’s Automotive Group, we we’re fortunate to have a jam-packed room on the last day of the conference. I guess the panel title (or the speaker lineup) evoked some attention…

For anyone that missed it, I’ve compiled a list below of the top ten takeaways from THE DATA DOESN’T LIE: Shocking Discoveries in Automotive Attribution.

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1.    Sales Attribution > Traffic Attribution

As an industry, we need to entirely shift away from traffic attribution models and really zero-in on sales attribution – that’s where the good stuff is. Traffic attribution only gives you one slice of the pizza. It looks at the traffic that comes to your website and builds marketing strategies based on that alone. Roughly 75% of people that buy cars from you visit your website – so what are you doing to account for the other 25%? Traffic attribution doesn’t tie a sale to that site traffic, where sales attribution directly ties a car sold to the path that led to the sale. Furthermore, we have to factor in the reality that 71% of online users remain anonymous.

Ben Robertaccio, Marketing Director for Morrie’s Automotive Group says, “70% of people come into your dealership without first contacting you. Less than 10% contact you or convert through your website. If we don’t have data on the mass of our customer base, then we need to find better ways to understand them.”

2.    There are WAY too many KPIs to realistically keep track of.

Shaun Kniffin, Marketing & Technology Director for Germain Automotive Group shared their recent initiative to define the most important KPIs that exist within all the profit centers of a dealership. “Together we identified 127 KPIs as the key ones to follow. In digital marketing alone, we identified 27 critical KPIs. Our GMs all agree that between 4-16 of those 27 digital KPIs should be looked at on a daily basis.” But how many of them actually do it? Dealers are reported to death. They’re inundated with data and it’s often impossible to know where to start without enlisting the right help. 

3.    In a perfect world, EVERYONE’S data would reside in CRM.

It would be in the best interest of CRM companies to take into consideration what has made Salesforce so successful and apply that same business model to automotive. For just a minute, take yourself out of our industry. Put yourself in ANY other industry and ALL of the data resides within Salesforce. There are plugins within Salesforce that collectively make it better, more powerful, and virtually indispensable. Salesforce grew exponentially when they opened up those opportunities to make corporations that use Salesforce better. We don’t see that in automotive and that’s a very frustrating thing, and it should be more frustrating to you as a dealer because you are required to live and breathe within CRM every single day.

AutoHook’s data, Clarivoy’s data, everyone’s data should reside in CRM. If we know the behavioral traits specific to the customers in our CRM, our salespeople can simply look at their screen (just like you would in Salesforce) and immediately see every digital destination that customer has passed through. That’s what our salespeople need in order to have much more meaningful, efficient conversations with their customers. 

In a perfect world, there would be an independent 3rd party overseeing the validity of everyone’s data, as we know vendor reporting has the potential to be self-serving. But if we know we have clean, accurate data, then we as marketers can easily figure out how to help GMs make much better decisions with their budget. 

4. Google Analytics is a great tool…IF it’s set up correctly.   

Google Analytics has the potential to be a phenomenal tool, but it can also be complicated, involved and difficult to derive any real actionable insights from. How many GMs go into their GA dashboard every day? Not many. So how can we expect our managers to actually obtain any real value or insights from of GA alone?

Ben Robertaccio advises dealers to have their key goals and conversions set up properly in order to measure what’s actually happening - and that includes SRPs, VDPs, leads, chats, calls, texts, map views, etc. The best reports out there take GA data and feed in multiple other data sources to deliver a clear path towards correcting the flaws in your business.

A great tool is one that’s able to synthesize all the data and turn it into something dealers can actually use. Ben recommends AutoHook’s Traffic Conversion Analysis (TCA) powered by Urban Science data. “TCA feeds in CRM data, new vehicle registration data, our sales data, and what our competitors are selling, and it’s able to show me data like I’ve never seen it before. If we didn’t have TCA, we would have continued to spend, spend, spend, when it reality it was our process that was broken, and TCA was able to make that clear.” 

5. There needs to be massive consolidation of analytics tools in the market space.

Because of the intertype competition amongst tiers and players within the automotive vertical, we need to get to the point where dealers can know (or at least have a solid benchmark) of how many cars each vendor will help them sell per month.

Shaun Kniffin reminds us of the ugly truth that, “This industry has more snake oil than any other industry,” and he’s right! Additionally, there aren’t any real standards or benchmarks to let dealers know how they are doing at any given point because of the fact that every dealer and every market is so different. We need to push for more open data sharing, partnerships, and standardization amongst vendors and at all industry levels.

Ben Robertaccio makes another great point when he says, “I see this operational divide across industries: operations vs. marketing. We see it in every industry. But what we need to do is foster an environment where I show you results, you show me results and we work together.”

6. 3rd party listing sites like Cars.com & Autotrader are NOT lead generators.

Leads aren’t everything. Clarivoy Founder & CEO, Steve White says, “Don’t ignore the cumulative effect of the journey that took place to produce that lead.” People don’t just go to Cars.com and submit their information – it’s not that simple. Autotrader, Cars.com, CarGurus all those sites are not lead sources. Their responsibility is to expose your inventory on a grand scale.

Shaun Kniffin happened to be the very first Cars.com customer in Columbus, OH back in 2001. He says, “I’ve never looked at Cars.com as a lead source. A lot of GMs don’t understand how many VDP views these sites generate for their stores each month - it’s more activity than your Search Engine Marketing could produce in an entire year. It’s our job as educators to bring them to the forefront and say let’s put this into perspective – how do you replace all these VDPs? And that’s all part of multitouch attribution. Exposing that inventory is the #1 job of Trader, Cars, Gurus, etc.”

7. Using Last Click Attribution is a lot like…

Clarivoy CEO & Founder, Steve White, made the incredible analogy of comparing attribution to a hangover. “It’s a lot like blaming a hangover on that last beer you had. But in reality, it wasn’t just that last beer, it was the cumulative effect of the 10 other drinks you had before that. So that’s what you have to think about from an attribution perspective. There is a cumulative effect to all of your different marketing touchpoints.” Making really big decisions based on last click is just not the smart thing to do.

8. Dealers suffer from A.D.D. 

Which of course stands for, “Another Damn Dashboard.” Every vendor has their own dashboard. The last possible thing today’s dealers want is another report or system to log into. These dashboards have become nothing more than complex conundrums of numbers and statistics that lack meaning and more than anything, lack the ability to execute.

Kniffin says when it comes to their vendors, “I just want to know if you’re involved in the sale. I just want to know are you part of my math, are you part of my chemistry? Are you going to help me attribute more sales? As marketers all we want to know is how can we make these numbers better? How are you who manages my paid search going to make your numbers better and help us optimize our spend?” 

9. Hold Your Vendors to a Higher Standard

Ben Robertaccio emphasizes, “We all need to hold our vendors and our partners to a higher standard to make sure they are feeding into our analytics appropriately and ensuring the data they provide us with is pure and valid. In a utopian world, all our vendors would work together openly and all agree on how to measure things.”

10.  Don’t rely on your customers (or your CRM) to help with attribution.

If dealers were to ask their customers what their click path consisted of before coming in for a test drive, most people wouldn’t have a clue. The digital journey that takes place leading up to a sale is just that – a journey. It’s something that happens organically, over time, across devices, both at home and on the go.

Kniffin adds, “Single source attribution in CRM – THAT’S frustrating! We’ve challenged every one of the CRM companies out there, and it’s a crowded space, but the truth is, single source attribution does not help us develop a strong marketing strategy, period. And how much of that is really subjective data?”

Ben Robertaccio shares Kniffin’s frustration and follows it up with a good point, "Pretty regularly I don’t remember what I had for dinner the night before so how am I going to remember what traffic source influenced my purchase?”

 

Thanks to our friends at DealerRefresh, you can check out this panel discussion live from #DSES2017. Click here to watch The Data Doesn’t Lie: Shocking Discoveries in Automotive Attribution on Facebook Live.

AutoHook & Clarivoy Join Forces for the Most Action-Packed Dealer Panel of 2017

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THE DATA DOESN’T LIE: 

SHOCKING DISCOVERIES IN AUTOMOTIVE ATTRIBUTION

Co-Authored by David Metter of AutoHook powered by Urban Science, & Steve White of Clarivoy

An unprecedented occurrence has taken place as the automotive industry prepares for the upcoming DrivingSales Executive Summit, October 22nd - 24th, at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Two vendors, two of the industry’s most recognized names in proving sales attribution, have combined forces with marketing leaders from the nation’s top dealer groups to deliver the most unbiased, action-packed panel discussion in auto conference history.  

Before we reveal why this atypical panel lineup is worth attending, we first want to inform you of what this session is NOT going to be. This is NOT a reiteration of the importance of attribution when it comes to eliminating marketing waste. This is NOT a theoretical account of big data’s potential impact on improving your daily sales operations. This is a collaborative, all boots on the ground ATTACK on the two topics that have been plaguing dealerships for far too long: big data and attribution.

AutoHook Co-Founder & President, David Metter, and Clarivoy CEO & Founder, Steve White, will be co-moderating a dealer panel that will leave attendees with a multi-dimensional, crystal clear picture of how successful dealers are already using big data and advanced attribution models to do the only thing that matters to them: sell more cars.

Attendees will get a first-hand account from Marketing Directors at the nation’s leading dealer groups about how they are taking action and selling cars using data they already have available combined with technology that they’ve already implemented.

Both AutoHook and Clarivoy have differentiated themselves in the industry for their unrivaled ability to define the path that resulted in a vehicle sale. However, these two companies go about solving attribution problems from two different angles and perspectives. But, what they both always agree on is that the dealer’s perspective is the one that matters most. Dealers are not, nor should they ever be expected to be data analysts or mathematicians. It should never be a dealership’s responsibility to scrutinize the 20 different vendor reports they receive in a typical month and find trends that point to success or failure in their marketing and sales operations. It should never be the dealer’s job to assign fractionalized credit to the multiple touchpoints that led to a sale.

Too often, dealerships are debilitated by the excessive amount of one-sided vendor reports that flood their inbox every month. What good is all this data if it doesn’t include an instruction manual that pinpoints exactly what’s working and what’s not?

If you use outdated attribution models, you’re essentially making marketing decisions based on 10% of what is actually happening. That is a HUGE marketing blind spot that can lead to tens of thousands of dollars wasted on sources that don’t convert.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if you could get a clear view of your sales and defection trends all in one place? Or quickly identify deficiencies in both your internal and external processes so that you can more efficiently assign responsibilities to your staff and get more ROI out of your third-party lead or traffic drivers?

What dealers have been lacking is a complete, 360° view of their sales operations, as well as the sales they lost to their biggest competitors. How can you improve the way you sell cars if you’re unaware of the leads in your CRM that have already purchased somewhere else? There is a reason for every lost sale, and that reason is exactly what you should use to take action and reclaim lost opportunities.

Attend this session and you will take away a lot more than the inspiration and motivation you need to take action. You will walk away with a game plan that you know has already proven to help individual dealers and dealer groups sell more cars and increase their market share. The topics of big data and attribution will transform from headaches, confusion, and irrelevant, obscure numbers into actionable steps to improve the way you operate today.

WHAT YOU’LL TAKE AWAY:

  1. Learn the fastest methods of uncovering actionable sales and defection trends hidden within your data.
  2. Define the sources responsible for your greatest opportunities and losses down to an individual salesperson, lead or traffic source, competing brand or dealer, and more.
  3. Eliminate “Marketing Blind Spots” and grow your market share using the automotive industry’s latest and most accurate attribution models.

Do yourself a favor. DO NOT leave Las Vegas deprived of this vital and enlightening knowledge. DO NOT return to your dealership in the dark. Join AutoHook, Clarivoy, and their panel of top dealers, to finally get a clear and complete view of your market and how to outshine the competition. 

THE ACTION STARTS TUESDAY, OCTOBER 24TH AT 9:50 AM SHARP AT THE BELLAGIO IN MONET ROOMS 3 & 4!

EXECUTION: Uncovering Big Data's Missing Piece

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by David Metter

The greatest marketing trends of all time began as insignificant ideas that eventually gained enough momentum to reach a critical tipping point – the point in which uncharted tools and technologies once overlooked by the masses are adopted by the mainstream. When ideas reach their tipping point, an infectious, unstoppable domino effect goes into play. The undiscovered becomes discovered, the unfamiliar becomes familiar, and the unknown becomes universal truth.

Just as the adoption of CRMs exploded in the early 2000’s and mobile marketing reached its tipping point circa 2014-2015, I believe big data has reached its culmination in 2017. I know this because I’ve seen the distinct black and white clarity today’s automotive data has finally been able to give to car dealers. 

For the past several years, dealers have lacked significant visibility into their market regarding:

  • Where and how they’re losing sales
  • Who they’re losing sales to (whether the customer is purchasing the same make or another brand entirely)
  • If sales are lost due to internal or external factors
  • True successes, failures, and trends tied to each salesperson, lead or traffic source, inventory, day of the month, zip code, etc.
  • Close and defection rates for all your leads and lead providers
  • Validation that you are stocking the right inventory and marketing it in the most efficient manner

… the list goes on.

What we know now is that all of the items listed above are finally within reach. It’s also important to note that the problem has never been the data. It’s that dealers have only been able to view sales trends within their own CRM and DMS. How can you possibly improve your sales effectiveness if you’re only comparing it to yourself? The inability to see the sales and defection trends of top competing dealers and brands in your market has been a HUGE roadblock for dealers... until now that is.

Today’s big data landscape has evolved to become 100% executable. We can quickly gain insights from data using a scientific approach that exposes lost sales by source at an aggregate level. By knowing your lost sales opportunities, who you lost them to, and where you lost them, a strategic path towards increasing sales and reducing defection rates naturally comes into view – despite what your market conditions may look like.

We can even take it a step further and look at success and defection trends tied to an individual person within your sales staff. For example, if someone has a high close rate AND a high defection rate, you can break down where these lost opportunities are coming from. You can see that person is being assigned way too many leads and then you can make smarter decisions in terms of how you divide up your employees’ responsibilities. 

When you can see where you’re losing sales across the board, you can then align your conversion goals, the operational training of your staff, and the way you drive traffic and leads into your dealership – so you can have the highest quality lineup of opportunities to close.

The advent of integrating automotive data to make more profitable operational decisions is similar in many ways to when CRM and DMS technologies were first implemented. Using these tools gave you a way to organize and streamline your process to help you sell more cars. The ability to execute smarter sales strategies using data analysis is no longer alchemy. It’s the current reality of this instant gratification world we live in, and it’s the weapon dealers need to be unstoppable.

Do You Have the Power to Know What You’re Losing?

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by David Metter

The number of automotive reports dealership managers receive in a typical month drastically differs from the number of reports that empower them to take immediate action based on sales data only hours old. It’s as if dealers in today’s world have to excavate through mountains of analytical ruins in hopes of uncovering a single data-driven insight that may or may not impact their sales goals. Not to mention the hurricanes and natural disasters that have further obstructed an industry in its ninth month of national decline.

Auto marketing leader, Brian Pasch recently compiled a list of all the individual reports General Managers running a franchise dealership could typically get each month. “For auto dealers, the count is over 20 reports! All separate. All with different metrics. Lots of data, not many actionable insights,” says Pasch.

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The overarching problem with most reports is that they only show one perspective of a much more dimensional, much more compelling story. A lot of vendors and their unique reporting methods tend to be biased in how they present results. In other words, they focus on what they’re helping your dealership win - whether it’s more clicks, more website traffic, or more leads.

But what about all the other pieces needed to complete the story? What about all the sales opportunities you didn’t win? What about the customers in your CRM your salespeople didn’t close? What about the active leads in your system you’re wasting time, money and effort chasing when in reality, they’ve already purchased from somewhere else? Wouldn’t having that knowledge save a lot of wasted energy and marketing dollars? Wouldn’t it be helpful to know as of yesterday how many sales you lost, which competitors you lost them to, and the reason why you lost them?

Furthermore, dealers need systematic visibility into the true outcomes of in-store customer interactions. We can’t solely rely on CRM data as it can be subject to human error. So the question is, does a report exist that accurately depicts the end result of every living, breathing, human-to-human exchange that physically takes place in your showroom? Did those personal interactions result in a vehicle sold or was the opportunity lost?

AdWeek published the following statement addressing this same issue:

“Over the past 20 years, analytics for digital ad measurement have focused on digital results (including web traffic, ecommerce conversion and data collection). But even though we live in an Amazon world, 92% of commerce still happens in physical brick-and-mortar locations, so measuring digital impact is nowhere near sufficient.”

For every digital action, there should be an equal and opposite reaction. What I mean by that is that all aspects of your digital marketing should strictly be evaluated based on their effectiveness or ineffectiveness of increasing vehicle sales that occur in the showroom. What we need now more than ever is a way to accurately discern if the money we’re spending on our digital marketing AND our in-store processes results in a closed sale or an opportunity down the drain. Those are the numbers dealers need to zero-in on to know the absolute best way to spend their marketing budget moving forward.

But wait! The good news is that a report currently exists that is capable of all of these things and more. This particular report defines attribution in a way this industry has never seen before. I will openly admit, there are few aspects of this tool that others out there have the potential to imitate. However, their numbers are based on 90-day old data, not near real-time sales match data. They also don’t provide a 360-degree view of your lost sales tied to a specific salesperson, lead or traffic source, model, or top competing dealer or brand in your market (all in one single report). How do you put a price on THAT?

CASE STUDY: Morrie's Brooklyn Park Subaru Tells Lost Sales to "GET LOST" with AutoHook's Traffic Conversion Analysis (TCA)

In a down market, Morrie’s Brooklyn Park Subaru experienced a considerable decline in lead volume from April to June of 2017. In addition to a large drop off in leads, their lost sales and defection rates were significantly higher than the national sales trends. They needed a solution to identify the source of all lost sales and a strategy to reduce the rate of defection to other dealers, while growing their market share in surrounding zip codes.

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SEE HOW WE DID IT! Read the full case study below.

The Uncut Story Your CRM Can’t Tell You

You Can’t Win Without Knowing What You’re Losing

by David Metter

It’s hard to solve a problem you don’t know exists. Solutions become unreachable if you don’t know the root of the issue or the source it stemmed from in the first place. The same concept applies to the sales and BDC operations inside every existing dealership. Too often, we get caught up in the day-to-day routine and can only see what’s directly in front of our eyes. We lose sight of the big picture. We look to our CRM and DMS data to identify areas of success and failure. We then use that data to attempt to make decisions and changes to the way we operate. The problem, is that this data is one-sided, one-dimensional, and only one piece of a much larger picture.

It’s a lot like attempting to run a race with your eyes closed. Without the power of sight, you won’t know if your opponents are in front of you or gaining speed behind you. You won’t be able to see the finish line. What’s the point of running towards a goal you can’t see? In order to solve the problems within your sales operations, you need the power of sight, metaphorically. You need to be able to look at your entire market from a 360-degree vantage point so that you can identify sales trends along with the sources of your greatest opportunities and losses.

Sales and service data, believe it or not is the key to being able to see your market from an omnipotent perspective. It’s just a matter of where you get the data and how you use it. Ninety-day old sales metrics can be helpful, but in order to truly see what’s going on within your PMA, dealers need to know what sold and didn’t sell as of yesterday – not 90-days ago given the infinite variables that affect this industry on a daily basis. To most of us, data is just a collection of numbers, charts, and graphs that lack meaning. But what if you had the ability to detonate and mobilize data to make it work for you? That’s when data becomes valuable – when you can turn it into actions that result in more sold cars and less lost opportunities.

If you only draw conclusions based on your CRM’s sales and lead data, you can only quantify the effectiveness of your own sales. But it’s equally important to have the ability to identify defection trends to competing dealerships or brands in your market. How many of your customers purchased from somewhere else? Which dealers are you losing the most sales to? How many customers did you lose over a certain date range? Which competitors did you lose them to? How many units per day are you losing to a specific store? Can you pinpoint areas of lost sales tied to a specific salesperson or lead source?

When you have the ability to answer these types of questions, then and only then do you have what you need to take control of your marketing and sales processes. If you want to successfully grow your market share and cut your losses, you have to know exactly what you’re losing, where you’re losing, and who you’re losing to. The right data, will show you a clear snapshot of which models on your lot present the highest level of opportunity. It will show you which leads in your CRM have already purchased so you don’t waste time and money trying to reach people no longer in market for a car. The right data will determine if you are losing sales based on internal or external factors. It will show you the top 10 zip codes where you’re losing the most sales. It will show you by name which members of your sales and BDC staff have the highest closing rates, as well as who is allowing the most opportunities to fall through the cracks. It will empower you to make better decisions with staffing, training and employee responsibilities based on a more thorough analysis of your business.

From my years of experience as the General Manager of a dealership and as the CMO of a large dealer group, I am very aware of the fact that dealers are not data scientists, nor should they ever be expected to be. Your only job is to sell cars and to reduce the rate of lost sales to the competition. But you can’t stop losing sales if you don’t have the near-real time data to expose why you lost them in the first place. And it’s not only about having access to the fastest data or the best data – that’s only half the battle. It’s also about working with the people that know how to extract the most impactful, actionable pieces of that data and that possess the technology needed to execute a strategy that results in fewer losses and more incremental gains.

My session, “The Uncut Story Your CRM Can’t Tell You” at Digital Dealer 23, will provide dealers with never before seen visibility into their market conditions so that missed opportunities can be turned into closed sales.

Attend this session and learn how to:

  • Define your greatest opportunities and losses tied to a specific lead or traffic source, salesperson, model, day, or zip code.
  • Identify defection trends of competing stores or brands in your market to reduce lost sales.
  • Continuously grow your market share by understanding what you’re losing.
  • Identify defection trends even down to your individual salespeople that are in your showroom. Know more about what’s going on in your dealership and the dealerships around you.

The Digital Dealer 23 Conference & Expo will be held this Sept. 18-20th in Las Vegas, NV. Register now to start building your agenda by choosing from more than 100+ sessions!

***Article originally posted on DigitalDealer.com.

INTRODUCING: AutoHook® + ServiceSmarts® Integration for KIA

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THE WAIT IS FINALLY OVER...

AUTOHOOK® + SERVICE SMARTS®

LAUNCHES AUGUST 1, 2017

What is AutoHook?

AutoHook specializes in proving sales attribution combined with their untouched ability to increase showroom and service drive traffic. Through their 100% DAS-Eligible incentive solutions, AutoHook supplies true, incremental sales, new to brand buyers, and service appointments to KIA Dealers. Powered by Urban Science, AutoHook proves ROI with the fastest, most accurate sales and service data in existence. 

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What is ServiceSmarts®?

ServiceSmarts® is an online tool that allows all KIA Dealers to identify and target their best Service opportunities. 

What Happens When Two Superpowers Combine?

After establishing a proven track record for driving sales and new to brand buyers to KIA stores, it was only a matter of time before AutoHook brought our high-converting incentive solutions to the service drive! With the all-new AutoHook + ServiceSmarts integration, KIA dealers can improve the effectiveness of every service campaign and TAKE BACK service revenue by isolating, targeting, and incentivizing the customers with the highest level of opportunity. ServiceSmarts data identifies any potential missed opportunities and AutoHook incentives allow you to create campaigns to convert those opportunities into service appointments.

Program Overview

  • Target inactive or at-risk customers using your ServiceSmarts data.

  • Identify and incentivize your greatest areas of service revenue opportunity.

  • Deploy AutoHook's custom email incentive campaigns to secure more service appointments without compromising your price integrity.

How Does it Work?

  STEP 1: Service Manager selects a target audience within the ServiceSmarts tool (active customers, inactive customers, first service appointment, or at risk service customers).

STEP 1: Service Manager selects a target audience within the ServiceSmarts tool (active customers, inactive customers, first service appointment, or at risk service customers).

  STEP 2: After selecting a list of customers to target, select AutoHook as your Fulfillment Vendor. This will enable you to create targeted service campaigns using strategic email incentives offers. The email creative has already been done for you.

STEP 2: After selecting a list of customers to target, select AutoHook as your Fulfillment Vendor. This will enable you to create targeted service campaigns using strategic email incentives offers. The email creative has already been done for you.

  STEP 3:   Select your campaign details including the name of your campaign, duration, email template, the dollar amount of incentives you'd like to offer, etc. Don’t forget to click to preview your service URL to make sure your customers can schedule an appointment online.

STEP 3: Select your campaign details including the name of your campaign, duration, email template, the dollar amount of incentives you'd like to offer, etc. Don’t forget to click to preview your service URL to make sure your customers can schedule an appointment online.

  STEP 4: Preview and confirm your campaign and hit submit. 

STEP 4: Preview and confirm your campaign and hit submit. 

  STEP 5: Customers visit your service department to redeem their incentive. A Service Advisor activates the customer's incentive using a unique 9 digit coupon code and AutoHook's easy 30-second redemption process. The customer instantly receives their Visa e-gift card while their vehicle is being serviced.

STEP 5: Customers visit your service department to redeem their incentive. A Service Advisor activates the customer's incentive using a unique 9 digit coupon code and AutoHook's easy 30-second redemption process. The customer instantly receives their Visa e-gift card while their vehicle is being serviced.

SIGNING UP IS 100% FREE.

YOU ONLY PAY IF A CUSTOMER SHOWS UP IN YOUR SERVICE DRIVE TO REDEEM THEIR EMAIL INCENTIVE.

SIGN UP NOW TO START TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THIS PROGRAM!

*CAUTION: Dealers using AutoHook Incentives have been known to experience outrageously high levels of ROI.