Todd Smith is a serial entrepreneur who is now building the leading sales text messaging platform for automotive dealerships. Todd is an industry author, speaker, and industry expert with over 30 years of automotive retailing experience. View all posts
Less than 2% of dealerships are using data to unlock the full potential of their store’s sales and service results.
Today the stakes and competition couldn’t be higher in automotive retailing, and a knowledgeable and personalized approach is the key to moving opportunities faster down the sales funnel and into the dealership. Data is your fuel that can power automotive shopper and existing customer journeys to higher engagement while creating a more satisfying experience. Still, first-party lead data alone isn’t enough to provide the insights you’ll need to stand out from your local dealership competition.
Having access to the same volunteered first-party data your competitor dealerships have doesn’t provide you any marketplace advantage over them. To get better and more in-depth data, you can use data enrichment as your competitive edge. Data enrichment is a process that can turn the information you already have into a complete shopper profile that accurately maps the needs of your dealership sales and service opportunities and shapes how to interact with your customers to build trust and create lasting relationships.
Today I want to break down three key areas to leverage data in your dealership to transform your organization into a powerhouse of sales and service success before your competitors do.
“Data is the new oil, and it will be powering the most successful and profitable dealerships.”
The Golden Hour of Automotive Sales
Your first response sets the tone for your shopper’s entire purchase experience with you and the dealership. Starting on the right foot is critical to capture the shopper’s attention and open up a meaningful dialogue. Engagement is everything in automotive retail, and now is the time for your dealership to leverage information to deliver better conversations that produce more sales and service business at a higher gross margin. That starts with data that helps you understand your shopper beyond their name and email address.
Would you be interested in capturing 10X more data about your shoppers and existing customers automatically without lifting a finger? Data enrichment should be at the core of your dealership sales process for all your incoming sales and service opportunities. Here are just a few ways you can leverage data on every inbound consumer lead.
First, you can create a comprehensive contact record, including phone numbers, email addresses, social media handles, home address. This type of information opens up your communication channels and extends your marketing reach with every shopper. By combining this data with lifestyle indicators like job history, hobbies/Interests, you can personalize your communication to your prospective client’s needs building trust and value during each interaction. Plus, having what is already in the shopper’s vehicle garage shapes your conversation, enabling you to personalize the experience by anticipating questions before the shopper even asks. Now you have a good understanding of the individual shopper you can layer on activity tracking using website visits, open email rates, social posting, and other data points to help you determine who is genuinely in-market. This ability to prioritize opportunities helps you to focus on and deliver more sales and service business.
Developing Customers for life using “Evergreen” data
The next area of data enrichment impact is with your existing customer records. Often overlooked and left to decay in your DMS and existing CRM, your current dealership customer list is the most valuable asset of your dealership if maintained and used correctly. The problem is that your customer information is partly in the DMS, CRM, website analytics, and even often held outside the store by the companies that handle your marketing efforts. This lack of a unified customer view costs dealerships millions in misspent advertising. This was in part our goal with developing 360Insight was to enrich the data in dealerships CRM and DMS platforms.
“To retain your customers, you need to know them.”
We believe a single “Evergreen” data warehouse system that feeds all your other applications is the answer to your dealership’s short term and long term success. A centralized database puts you in control of which customers see what marketing messages and when while giving you a granular view of what works and doesn’t, instead of vendors extracting data from your CRM or DMS and never returning it. Now, you will be in the driver’s seat, which will enable you to share a customer list with your equity mining tool and push back information of who saw the promotion and who responded to your offer. It will also enable a level of personalized target marketing that big retailers have been doing for years. I believe one of the most significant aspects of a dealership having their data warehouse is the ability to uncover in market shoppers within their system and deliver powerfully targeted messages to eliminate defection to another dealership or brand. When you think about having this type of marketing engine at your dealership, the possibilities are endless. Think about campaigns driven by lifestyle changes, new job, new home, unfortunate automotive accident, and a host of other moments in time that your dealership could become top of mind.
Growing your Dealerships Sales & Service
We have all heard of the term “lookalike” audience in our travels. If you have a data warehouse and have a robust database of information about your existing customers, you can then look outside the walls of your dealership to find like-minded people that are similar to the people that have done business with your dealership. You can then use personalized location-based targeting to deliver pinpointed marketing campaigns that produce 10X results. You can even take it an additional level and determine the best channel to reach these potential customers in whether it is text, email, direct mail, or traditional marketing methods.
In conclusion, the automotive industry is experiencing a dramatic change in how data is consumed and leveraged to improve conversations and shopper experiences in your dealership. Don’t get left behind in the race to manage your customers effectively because I believe your dealership’s customer database is gold that needs to managed before someone else does it without you even knowing it.
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