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David Metter

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?

 

CURB THE CHURN: How to Identify & Retain Your Best Salespeople

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by David Metter, Co-Founder and President, AutoHook powered by Urban Science

Dealership employee turnover rates are notorious for being amongst the highest out of all retail sectors. Unfortunately, dealers have been forced to absorb the spiraling costs associated with a lack in salesperson retention, which only appears to be getting worse. NADA’s latest Workforce Study reported salesperson turnover rates are at a record high of 74% - up 7% from last year.

What we don’t often talk about is the broader implications high employee turnover can have both on dealers and on the industry as a whole. Consequences of losing good salespeople can transcend beyond an individual dealership level, as any significant reduction in customer retention or customer loyalty has the potential to damage the reputation of an entire brand.

Dealers aren’t shy about communicating the adverse effects high churn has on their business, both in their operational processes and when it comes down to their bottom line. Wards Auto says, “The impact is significant, causing decreased sales and profits, and diminished customer loyalty,” which we know can be detrimental to the health of any business.

MAXDigital recently surveyed nearly 400 dealers in the U.S. and found 78% struggle with issues related to high staff turnover. The root of the problem is two-fold in that good salespeople aren’t just hard to keep, they’re hard to find in the first place. Ninety percent of dealers surveyed said “Hiring good salespeople is hard,” and finding candidates with previous sales experience let alone automotive sales experience is even harder.

*Source: 2018 MAXDigital Dealership Process and Salesperson Turnover Survey    
  
  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 

*Source: 2018 MAXDigital Dealership Process and Salesperson Turnover Survey

Over time, chronic retention problems add up and can cost dealers hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars a year. A study by Driving Sales and Hireology determined the average cost of recruiting, training, and lost productivity for each salesperson is $45,000 (and that was back in 2016). In my last blog, we defined the value of a good salesperson over the course of one year to be more than $325,000 in pure gross profit. Add that to the cost of recruiting and training and dealers are losing out on over $365,000 per salesperson, per year.

The need for dealers to be able to identify their best salespeople in order to retain them is more critical now than ever before.

Why? Because people still heavily rely on face-to-face, personal interaction - especially when it comes to making big purchase decisions. The larger the purchase, the more inclined customers are to buy from someone they trust. Despite the abundance of online vehicle research tools at their disposal at any given micro-moment, relationships will always take precedence. And people naturally gravitate towards both consistency and what is familiar to them. They’re also much more likely to buy a second and a third car from the same person they already know and trust.

So how do we solve this industry-wide employee retention problem? There are three components that we know make up the formula for properly assessing your salespeople in order to help curb the churn:

1.     Know What You’re Losing

When it comes to evaluating the true performance of your salespeople, having the ability to view CRM data through a scientific lens is essential. CRM companies do what they do very well, but they only show one dimension of a highly multidimensional story – the wins. But what about the leads your salespeople touched that defected? Without that defection data, it becomes near impossible to properly identify the best performers on your team based on the opportunities they’re working.

In order to see who the real winners and losers are representing your dealership, you need a way to visually compare the number of leads each person sold each month in addition to the ones they lost and who they lost them to. Only then can you see who is really the most effective or ineffective because you have the complete story. You can make much better decisions on who or what needs to change based on a real visual of what you’re losing.

2.     Leverage the Right Technology – Rooted in Science

What we’ve never seen before at the dealership level, is science taking a leading role in how we evaluate our sales staff. If science-based technologies can tell you the people that consistently prove to be growing in a positive direction, or reducing their defection rates over time, then science can play a role in helping dealers implement compensation plans that serve and reward only their best people.

Keep in mind, it’s important to give newer technologies or data-driven solutions time to build, learn and improve. The more sales and defection data we can collect over time, the more accurate and actionable the tools that leverage this data will be at identifying your best (and worst) employees.

3.     Play to Your Strengths

I’ve been in this business for 27 years. If there is one thing I know without a shadow of a doubt, it’s that the chances of a salesperson closing a sale are greatest when the customer is physically in front of them. So, in addition to leveraging the right technology to evaluate your staff, leverage technology that will support what we know to be the greatest strength of any person that knows how to sell a car… get the customer in the showroom.

If the goal is to improve your lead follow-up process and eliminate inefficiencies in the way you operate (which by the way is always the goal) then it’s absolutely vital to have the tools in place that can pinpoint both the strengths and the weaknesses of your team. When it comes to retention, dealers are much more likely to foster an environment of happy employees if they play into their peoples’ strengths instead of wasting money, time and energy attempting to fix what they’ll never be good at. As stated in the national bestseller, StrengthsFinder 2.0, “People have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.”  

The takeaway here is to place a heavier focus on solutions that are proven to get people physically in the door, where you have a much higher chance of getting them behind the wheel for a test drive, building a personal relationship, selling them a car, and retaining their business. Test drive incentives are one tactic we know works. Pair that with a bulletproof lead follow-up process and what you’re left with is a prescription for lowering defections tied to your salespeople, higher close rates, and better-rewarded, happier employees.

In summary, everyone wants to retain salespeople and everyone wants to retain the right salespeople for their respective business. So many dealership compensation plans are set up to benefit the underperformers – which is completely counterintuitive to reducing turnover. Until now, it’s been impossible for dealers to adequately compensate their all-stars and overperformers because they’ve had no way to identify them. Moving forward, dealers can take this information and adjust their compensation plans to retain the right salespeople and make the necessary changes to get rid of the rest. After all, it would only make sense to reward the people that are rewarding you.

 

AutoHook Announces Direct to Mobile Delivery of Test Drive Incentives to Drive More Buyers to Dealer Showrooms

DETROIT, March 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- AutoHook, the automotive industry's frontrunner in driving proven, incremental showroom traffic to dealerships, has taken their private test drive incentive offers to the next level by integrating direct SMS delivery into their incentive redemption process.

AutoHook's latest initiative will significantly improve deliverability rates of test drive offers to online vehicle shoppers. Their ability to successfully send redemption codes via text message will help dealers reach already-engaged customers on a much broader, faster and more reliable channel than email delivery alone.

"We know our original redemption system works very well, as it's been proven to significantly increase exclusive leads and showroom visits that we know convert to sales," says David Metter, president of AutoHook powered by Urban Science. "Having the ability to successfully deliver our incentives directly into consumers' hands via text message has always been the vision, as it will offer dealers and OEMs an even more accurate and sustainable distribution method of reward codes while eliminating all instances of email deliverability obstructions."

A text message containing a unique coupon code will be sent to a customer's mobile phone after they elect to receive a reward via AutoHook's incentive lead form, redeemable only by visiting a participating dealership's showroom. Incentive lead form overlays appear throughout several channels across the web including both mobile and desktop dealer websites, third party lead sites, manufacturer sites, social channels and more.

Direct to mobile delivery enables dealers to provide a faster, more convenient way for their customers to redeem test drive rewards in their showroom. Once the customer receives their reward code, they can then send it directly to their Apple Wallet or Google Pay for instant access upon arrival at the dealership.

About AutoHook powered by Urban Science
Based in Detroit and a subsidiary of Urban Science, AutoHook uses scientifically proven sales and defection insights to drive incremental dealer showroom traffic and attribute sales in near real-time. With a complete view of traffic opportunity, AutoHook's private incentive offers convert leads at a low cost-per-sale for dealers and automotive manufacturers. For more information, visit DriveAutoHook.com or call (855) 532-3274.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lindsay Waller, 313.262.3510, lawaller@urbanscience.com

SOURCE AutoHook powered by Urban Science

*Click here to read the press release originally published on PR Newswire.

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.

HOW TO SELL CARS IN 1939: Uncovered Documents Reveal Not Much has Changed…

by David Metter

Could it be possible that the secret to selling cars in today’s multi-touch, exponentially data-driven society is exactly the same as it was prior to World War II? I know what you’re thinking. This is either a huge stretch or some sort of joke. However, recently uncovered sales training documents dating back to 1939 tell a very unexpected story that directly parallels the fundamental methods dealers need to sell more cars today.

This handbook published by General Motors in 1939 on how to manage new car sales was recently passed along to me, and as I read through it, I was completely blown away. I think anyone who has been in the car business for a while will appreciate this…

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It states, “The sales manager must have a keen desire to check such things as the number of people buying competitive cars with whom his own organization has been in contact, the reasons why such deals were lost, the reasons why any particular competitor is making headway locally, and similar vital facts to which the average dealer pays little or no attention.”

In one sentence from a 219-page book from 78 years ago, we can derive three secrets to selling cars that remain true today. Not only are these tactics relevant to the way dealers currently operate, but they are also the difference between a dealership that’s running successfully and efficiently and a dealership on the verge of failure.

Below are the three operational insights that have endured in this industry throughout generations, wars, and the age of the Internet that changed everything as we know it…  or did it? These takeaways will continue to be the foundation of how to sell cars in 2017 and into the future.

Dealers need complete visibility into:

  1. The number of people buying competitive cars that your own dealership has been in contact with.
  2. The reasons or sources responsible for these lost opportunities. 
  3. The reasons why a local competitor may own more market share than you do.

This is so interesting to me because these are things GM recognized back in 1939 and STILL today we struggle with being able to put our finger on the number of opportunities we lose each month and the sources (or people) responsible for these losses. A sales manager that concerns themselves with not just their own dealership’s performance but also the performance of their top competitors and defection rates to other dealers or brands is a sales manager with A LOT of common sense!

If a customer is walking into your store, interacting with your staff, and leaving to purchase a vehicle from somewhere else, there’s always a story to uncover as to why. The problem in the digital world we live in is that dealers lack visibility into all the different sources, touchpoints, and online or in-person interactions that may have played a roll in a lost sale.

A lot of these operational inefficiencies are due to the fact that we can only see data from a one-dimensional perspective. What I mean by that is dealers don’t have a comprehensive, multifaceted view of all their different deposits of data – specifically, your CRM & DMS for the following reasons:

  • You can only see the leads that come into your dealership.
  • You only see the opportunities you’re working.
  • Ultimately when leads get to your DMS you can see sales, but what you don’t see is the customers that defected and who they bought from.
  • You don’t see the dealership next door and what is in their CRM and you CERTAINLY can’t see what’s in their DMS, and that’s a HUGE blind spot.

Because of the fact that no two dealers are the same and no two markets are the same, there will always be a different sickness, prescription, and remedy for each and every dealership. If you have a clear view into the ailments in your processes associated with each lost sale, you can then derive the information you need to make beneficial changes to reduce your rate of defection both to other brands or other same make dealers in your market.

Identifying the number of lost sales opportunities in your CRM is just the first step. The second is integrating technology that exposes where the problems are in your sales processes. Maybe it’s a third party lead provider with a high close rate and a high defection rate - meaning you need to go after leads from that particular source more aggressively or put more marketing dollars towards those leads to reduce the defection rate.

Or maybe you have a salesperson with a high close rate and a low defection rate that should be handling more opportunities. Maybe you have high defection rates tied to a particular model in your inventory, so you then know it would be a good idea to increase incentive offers around that vehicle.

Most vendors and digital advertisers only provide a one-sided perspective of your data, which is why big data has been so limiting at the dealership level. Dealers know they’re losing sales, but they don’t know where, to who, or why. If you can see the full picture, you can then start to put together the pieces of the puzzle around whether or not you had the right inventory, or did you have the right selling strategy against your competitors, and who are you truly competing with? The obscure, blurry picture of your market’s sales trends starts coming into focus. So in summary, what we need to do is start incorporating that 1939 mentality back into the way we operate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

5 Reasons to Visit AutoHook at Digital Dealer 23

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1. Get the Power to Cut Your Lost Sales in HALF!

Gain the power to know what you're losing. AutoHook is excited for the official launch our newest solution, Traffic Conversion Analysis (TCA) taking place exclusively at Digital Dealer 23. TCA is the first-ever report that allows you to view and compare your own sales data versus the sales you lost, and defection trends to competing dealers or brands in your market. TCA instantly delivers a 360° analysis of your CRM data - exposing your greatest areas of lost sales opportunities tied to a specific competitor, salesperson, zip code, model, lead source, traffic source, or even time frame.

Using insights derived from TCA, dealers will have full control over their sales and marketing operations. The report is revolutionary in that it allows dealers to identify detailed lost opportunities tied to an individual salesperson, using data only hours old.

Read more about TCA >>

DON'T LOSE ANOTHER SALE! See how this Morrie's Automotive Dealership recouped over 50% of their lost sales opportunities using TCA. Read the Case Study >>


2. Channel Your Inner Celebrity & Take a Free AutoHook Limo

AutoHook is honored to once again be your #DD23 Transportation Sponsor! Whether it's your first time in Vegas or your 100th, cruise around the strip the way it was meant to be seen... from an AutoHook Limo - fully equipped with beverage service and free giveaways!

AutoHook's Limo Schedule:

  • Monday - 9:00am - 1:00am
  • Tuesday - 9:00am - 1:00am
  • Wednesday - 9:00am - 5:00pm

TO GET A FREE RIDE: Text the word "AutoHook" to the phone number 55678. Your personal driver will then contact you and take you to the next glamorous destination of your choice.

Want even more fun? Who can take the best picture in an AutoHook limo? Tag #AutoHook & #DD23 in your Limo Pics!


3. Join David Metter on Tuesday 9/19 to View Your Market's Sales Trends From an Entirely NEW Perspective...

On Day 2 of Digital Dealer, David Metter will present, The Uncut Story Your CRM Can't Tell You. Witness this eye-opening session Tuesday, September 19th at 2:35 PM in Versailles Room 1. David will give dealers first-time visibility into their market's sales trends and demonstrate 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.

Read more about David's Session Here >>


4. Get an In-Depth Review of Your Dealership's Performance

Meet AutoHook's Client Services Team face-to-face and review the results of your test-drive incentive campaigns. We’re not just there to throw numbers at you. We also provide our dealers with full circle execution on how to reduce lost sales and grow your market share using AutoHook's custom incentive solutions. We'll even set up customized, targeted campaigns for you. Learn about our latest technology (TCA) and make sure you're getting the most out of your current solutions! 

If you're already an AutoHook client, let your Client Services Specialist know you’re heading to DD23 and we’ll have a report on your dealership’s latest results ready to review with you.

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Interested in learning how AutoHook delivers scientifically proven sales and showroom visits? We know your time is both limited and valuable. Get a $25 Reward if you complete a quick Demo at BOOTH 1035!

Or just stop by to say hello and pick up some free swag...


5. We Know How to Celebrate at Midnight

Last but not least, AutoHook is very much looking forward to sponsoring the Midnight in Paris Attendee Party - Tuesday, September 19th from 8-11 PM at the Chateau Nightclub & Gardens at the Paris Hotel & Casino. Join the team at one of sin city's most exclusive outdoor venues.

See you in Vegas auto people!