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AutoHook

BEYOND BEST PRACTICES: 10 Outside the Box Ways to Use AutoHook’s Private Offers

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[The 2019 Edition]

AutoHook is best known for converting online traffic into showroom visits using private offers and test drive incentives on dealer websites and third-party sites. These private offers and incentives, combined with our untouchable attribution model, has proven to be one of the most (if not the most) cost-effective ways to get customers physically into your showroom and into the driver’s seat of a vehicle, where you have the best possible chance of closing a sale.

What many dealers don’t realize, is that AutoHook’s capabilities go far beyond rewarding customers for visiting your showroom for a test drive. Our most successful dealers use AutoHook to boost revenue across multiple departments – not just new car sales.

Customized incentive campaigns can be executed at any time to support any and all of your unique initiatives from securing more service customers to acquiring more quality trade-ins for your used inventory. The following are 10 ways to use AutoHook’s private offers to further boost your bottom line. All customization options below have proven successful at actual dealerships across the U.S. and are free of charge for current customers. In this case, more sales (and the data to prove they came from us) really are just a phone call away.

1. Boost Specific Model Performance

Depending on your brand, we know there are certain models you can’t stock enough of and others that overstay their welcome on your lot. Use higher value test drive offers on the vehicle details pages (VDPs) of the models in your inventory that may need a little help. If you know you have a high defection rate tied to a specific new car model, you can incentivize customers who land on those VDPs or submit a lead for that model with a greater value incentive, say a private offer for $50-100 when they come in for a test drive. Target and boost any model that may be underperforming or even a single VIN.

The same logic can be applied to your used and CPO inventory. Offer higher value incentives only on stubborn or aging inventory you can’t seem to move. A great example came from Jim Burke Automotive Group on a 2016 Subaru Impreza.

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“We needed to move the Impreza ASAP and we were able to accomplish this utilizing AutoHook’s Web2Show solution via our Dealer.com website. We did an increased, targeted offer for the Impreza’s stock number only of $100 for a test drive and sold the vehicle in just 4 days. We are thrilled with the quick turnaround of this specific vehicle targeting campaign and will definitely continue to use AutoHook’s solutions in the future.”

-          Gordon Gibbs, President, Jim Burke Automotive Group

2. Target Underperforming ZIP Codes

Increase the value of private offers in areas where you’re struggling. AutoHook can set up custom filters to target your website visitors located in specific ZIP Codes where you see high defection rates or where you know you’re getting crushed by competitors. For example, offer a $65 test drive incentive only to customers located in the ZIP Codes you define and a $35 reward to website visitors in your backyard. The further away the ZIP Code, the higher the reward should be. Planet Honda did this and saw outstanding results. They identified three ZIP Codes where they were losing the most sales to competitors. They increased their test drive offers from $35 to $50 for any customer viewing inventory on their website located in one of these areas. We tracked their sales attributed to AutoHook incentives over six months, and their results speak for themselves. Check them out below or read the complete case study here.

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3. Incentivize Your Service Drive

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With new car sales forecasted to decline in 2019, dealers need to shift focus to service and parts to make up for potential losses in new car sales revenue. We’ve had dealers get extremely creative with using private offers to persuade customers to choose their dealership for their service needs rather than the local body shop shown the street. Use AutoHook to get more service appointments by offering customers who book appointments online a special reward that can only be redeemed when they come in for their appointment. You can also use our Issue Instant Reward feature when setting up appointments over the phone to help ensure they show up.

Another idea is to target specific segments of service customers by pulling contact lists from your CRM that meet certain criteria. For example, pull a list of customers that are due (or overdue) for their first service appointment and email them an offer for a $25 reward when they complete their first scheduled vehicle maintenance at your location. The same can be applied to your parts department or special service events. For example, “Get an instant Amazon eGift Card when you schedule an appointment to come in for our Spring Tire Sale!” Or, “Receive a $100 Visa eGift Card when you purchase a complete set of tires!”

Dealers have also used AutoHook to incentivize service customers who have a desirable vehicle for their used inventory or vehicles that exceed a certain mileage range. In addition, you can always pull a list of appointments you already have on the books and use our Bulk Coupon Generator (just call us and we’ll do it for you) to reward your service customers with a $25 gift card to test-drive one of your new vehicles instead of sitting around waiting for their car to be serviced. Who wouldn’t want to get paid to take a spin in a vehicle that peaks their interest while they wait? Use our Issue Coupon Code or Issue Instant Reward features for customers sitting in your waiting area that may not have received a pre-generated offer to test drive a new vehicle.

4. Revive Dormant Leads

Use the Lead History report in the AutoHook portal to pull a list of anyone who completed an AutoHook test drive offer lead form but has not yet come in to redeem their gift card. You can also pull a list of all leads in your CRM that are 90 days or older (or a timeframe of your choice) and reengage them with a $50 offer to visit your showroom for a test drive. AutoHook can help you set up custom targeted offers based on the leads (or even lead sources) you want to influence.

5. Integrate Across Digital Marketing and Social Campaigns

Using AutoHook’s Triggered Links feature, custom incentive campaigns can be set up on your dealership’s social media pages and in paid social ads. We can also integrate private offers into paid search and display campaigns, or on any landing page or microsite. You can even use AutoHook in your social ad campaigns to reward customers for booking a service appointment online or to promote a discount on parts.

6. Get More Quality Trade-Ins for Your Used Inventory

Target customers with a private offer to get them to trade in their desirable car and purchase or lease a new one from you. Simply pull a list of customers in your CRM that have a lease expiring in the next 90 days or a time frame of your choice. Offer them a $50-100 Visa Gift Card to come in and test drive a newer model and trade in their lease early. If you have equity mining software, pull a list of lease pull ahead customers and email them with a unique offer to get out of their lease early and into a new vehicle.

7. Get More Positive Reviews

Who doesn’t need more positive reviews? Use AutoHook as an enticement for customers to leave reviews, testimonials, or feedback of their experience buying or servicing their vehicle at your dealership. Give happy customers a reason to take the time to write you a good review by emailing them a link to instantly redeem a Visa or Amazon virtual gift card. Our Issue Instant Reward feature is the perfect way to say thank you on behalf of your dealership for submitting a positive review. Testimonials can be used in a multitude of ways to show off the value of your unique dealership experience or a specific salesperson.

If you identify a list of customers you want to solicit for reviews, you can call our Client Success Team and they will help you utilize our Bulk Coupon Generator to create unique incentive codes for each contact on your list. We can create email campaigns on your behalf or you can include a unique triggered link in your own personal emails to customers.

8. Protect Your Reputation

On the flip side, you can use the Issue Instant Reward feature for any customer who complained or had a poor experience at your dealership. Not that that would ever happen at your store…but know it’s available for you to have in your back pocket, should that problem ever arise.

9. Get More Customer Referrals

Use the Issue Instant Reward feature as a great way to say “thank you” to any customer who refers your dealership to their friends and family. Issue Coupon Code can be leveraged to lock in referrals over the phone in those states that allow referral payments. Check with your state Dealer Association for more information.

A great example came from a Kia dealership that runs a strong referral program and uses AutoHook incentives as their fulfillment and measurement tool. AutoHook worked with their Internet Sales Director to build a set of special Issue Instant Reward placements ranging in value up to $200 and marked each as a Referral Gift. This dealership loves having the gift card fulfillment process completely handled for them. They can also track the specific placements to see who refers the most people to buy and how much they need to offer to incent the best referrals. Additionally, this will make your accounts payable department very happy, in that they only have to write one single check for all of the output in a given month.  

10. Magnify Existing Campaign Success

Piggyback on OEM launch campaigns including new model launches, holiday sales events, loyalty programs and more. Use higher dollar offers to drive those intenders into your showroom instead of defecting to a competitor. Holding a private or special sales event unique to your dealership? Use AutoHook as a way to get more customers to attend and test drive one of your vehicles. One of our largest dealer groups loves to use our Issue Instant Reward feature to create customized marketing campaigns around holidays including Black Friday, Valentine’s Day and Summer Sales Events.

The customization opportunities AutoHook offers are endless. So much so, that we truly struggled to cut this list down to 10. If you ever think of your own creative way you’d like to integrate our private offers, give us a call and we will help make it happen.

Contact AutoHook’s Dealer Support Team anytime at 855.532.3274 or email us at DealerSupport@UrbanScience.com.

The Top 5 Benefits of Using Test Drive Incentives

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Contrary to popular belief, vehicle purchase decisions are still being made at physical dealerships, most likely following a test drive – NOT exclusively online. By using targeted test drive offers on your website, third-party sites and across channels, Dealers can positively disrupt a customer shopping online just long enough to influence them by giving them a reason to visit your showroom instead of your competitors’. Test drive incentives are one of the most cost-effective marketing tactics, consistently delivering buyers into Dealer showrooms and in the drivers’ seat of a vehicle. Below are the top five benefits of using test drive incentives at your dealership.

1.      Drive High Intent to Buy Showroom Traffic

Convert your highest intent-to-buy website traffic and third-party site traffic into showroom visits with highly targeted, private test drive incentive offers, redeemable only by test driving a vehicle at your dealership. By presenting customers browsing your inventory online with a $25-$75 incentive to test drive one of your vehicles, you’re giving them a reason to visit your store over the competition. We know shoppers viewing specific inventory pages online are lower down in the purchase funnel, therefore using incentives only further increases your likelihood of converting online traffic into showroom traffic.

2.      Execute Custom Incentive Campaigns Based on Your Greatest Areas of Opportunity

With science on your side, you can see whether the leads in your CRM ended up purchasing from you or someone else. Being able to see where, how and why you’re losing sales makes it easy for Dealers to make smarter decisions about how to spend finite, often unvalidated marketing dollars. Test drive incentive campaigns can be executed across all digital channels and customized in-flight to support each Dealer’s unique initiatives. Target underperforming models, ZIP codes or lead sources with higher value incentive offers to reduce your defection rates. In addition to your website visitors, send email incentive campaigns to re-engage all your third party leads and further combat defections and drive customers into your showroom.

3.      Increase Incremental Sales

New vehicle sales may start online, but they end at the dealership. The best digital marketing tools attribute all sales and showroom visits back to a single offer or campaign, so your ROI is never in question. Use trackable test drive incentives across channels as one of the most effective, cost-efficient ways to get customers in your showroom and behind the wheel, while properly attributing incremental sales directly back to an offer. Leads generated from these private offers consistently close at both a high rate and a low cost-per-sale.

4.      Increase New-to-Brand, Repeat Buyers

Car buyers today might be less brand loyal than ever before. CarMax says only 19.4% of their customers in 2017 purchased the same brand as their trade-in, while the remaining 80.6% bought a different brand. Our own studies show that across all OEMs, an average of 78% of buyers that submit an AutoHook test drive lead are new to the brand, meaning these are not repeat customers that would have come in anyways. If you’re able to provide your customers with a great initial buying experience when they come in to redeem their free gift card, the chance of them returning for a second or third purchase increases, thus improving your likelihood of gaining repeat, loyal buyers.

5.      Increase Lead Conversion

This one might be a given, but it had to go on the list. We know Dealers have the best chance of converting a lead to a closed sale when they can get the customer physically in front of them. Getting customers offline and into the showroom is the entire purpose of using test drive incentive offers.

Lies The Digital Age Told You About Selling Cars [Chapter 2]: Are We Using Technology as a Crutch?

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| by David Metter, President of AutoHook powered by Urban Science

There is this perpetual echo of the word “disruption” in the car industry. What will be the next big disruption? What do we need to prepare for that will change everything we know about selling cars? The reality is disruption is largely incumbent upon technological advancements and the rate of societal adoption to these new, uncharted territories dominated by things like artificial intelligence and machine learning. These future “disruptors,” such as the rise of alternative online retail formats, subscription services or the transition from gas-powered vehicles to autonomous, connected cars are impossible for any one dealer or OEM to predict, let alone control.

Therefore, I’d like to propose a new approach. What if instead of the next big disruption we focused a little more on what we can control – the constants – the parts of the equation that aren’t powered by data or machines. What I mean by the constants is the people, or more specifically, the relationships that form when a customer goes to look at a car and has a positive interaction with a salesperson while doing so. The value of relationships when it comes to selling cars has been vastly undermined by the shiny new innovations of the digital age.

I think we’ve become so infatuated by the latest technology and the newest cutting-edge solutions to selling cars that we forgot about the fact that technology becomes useless without the people behind it who make it work. Relationships in the digital age still take precedence over technology and despite the advancements we have yet to see, technology in all its glory can’t replace social skills. All this talk about connectivity and connected devices yet I think we’re failing to connect the dots when it comes to knowing what will ultimately yield the highest ROI for dealerships, both in today’s world and in the future – knowing who your best salespeople are and how to keep them.

We as an industry need to stop using technology as a crutch. We’ve become so focused on the next big disruption in digital marketing that we’ve started to rely on the help of digital tools entirely, forgetting that cars are still bought and sold by actual people at actual dealerships. Deloitte’s 2018 Global Automotive Consumer Study reported car shoppers still rate physical interactions with a vehicle as critical to their buying decision – with over 8 out of 10 needing to see the vehicle in person before making a purchase decision. So, if this is the case, why are we spending the majority of our time and money on the minority of the buying public?

It’s all about striking a perfect balance between technology, the right data and the right people. It takes all three to get the job done. Technology is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to enhance or continue existing relationships, but it can’t create them in the first place. When it comes to the right data, we are extremely fortunate because our solutions are powered by the Urban Science® DataHub™, which allows us to be the first to know when a customer buys a car, what car they bought, where they bought and if they didn’t buy from you. And we get that sales data and the equally important defection data within days – not months.

In the same way that technology lacks value without good people, the right data can uncover things about your salespeople you otherwise never would have known. For example, you consistently see all these closed sales opportunities by let’s say, “John,” so naturally you think John is one of your best salespeople. But how many opportunities is John losing every month to one of your competitors? You’d never know without the right data. So it all goes hand-in-hand. The person selling the most cars may be losing more opportunities than he or she is closing, so your “best” salesperson can quickly become your worst salesperson when you can compare what they’re winning to what they’re losing at the same time.

Having that ability to layer sales and defection data on top of your CRM data is critical if you want to operate more efficiently. Without it would be like making decisions for your dealership based on a cost-benefit analysis but forgetting to include the cost part of the equation. It’s the only way to add enough dimension to your CRM data to make it truly actionable – instead of looking like Flat Stanley.

Having the right data combined with great technology can help your operations in a multitude of ways. It can suppress the leads in your CRM that have already purchased so your people can stop wasting time following up with them. It can pinpoint the ideal time and channel to re-engage your lapsed or dormant leads. Technology can help dealerships interrupt a customer while they’re shopping online and grab their attention just long enough to influence their decision-making process. It can also help ensure a customer chooses to visit your showroom instead of your competitors with things like test drive incentives.

The reality is technology will never be able to stop a customer from walking out of your dealership after a negative experience with one of your salespeople. Furthermore, when it comes to closing lead opportunities, your salespeople may already be at a disadvantage. A recent Automotive News dealer training webinar reported that as many as 98% of qualified leads fail to result in closed business. So instead of pouring all your focus into staying ahead of the next big disruption promising more and better leads, maybe we need to shift our focus back to the one thing capable of converting those leads into sales once they hit your showroom – your people.

Great employees are what gives meaning to the capabilities that stem from great technology. Your salespeople are the foundation needed to ensure data-powered solutions work in favor of your dealership. In a word, the future state of our industry’s digital landscape is unpredictable. But there are two things we do know. Change is constant and retaining great salespeople is still paramount. There’s not a lot we can do to control the rate of change, but fortunately for dealers, there’s a lot we can do to help our salespeople and to make sure we're holding on to the good ones.

 

Stay tuned for Lies the Digital Age Told You About Selling Cars, Chapter 3: Power to the [Sales] People to learn more about the importance of retaining your best salespeople and how to provide a better in-store experience.

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!