Courtesy Chevrolet sold over 11,000 new and used vehicles in 2006, of which over 4,000 originated from Internet generated leads (electronic and phone).
Courtesy Chevrolet is a unique family owned dealership that continuously maximizes the business potential of a single-point Chevrolet franchise…
When assessing a dealership’s variable operations potential, it is important to understand that virtually all business opportunity originates from within 8 categories, 4 that occur on an inbound basis and 4 that require the dealer to execute outbound customer contacts.
Every dealer that says they want to “get serious” about selling cars using the Internet, but how many have a documented strategy that focuses their entire staff on the key components of what it takes to actually sell some cars? Traffic – how will the dealer attract visitors, Interactive Web Site – How will the dealer’s web site convert those visitors into showroom traffic, phone calls and electronic leads? Process – Who will be held responsible for answer the phone calls and responding to the electronic leads? What are the minimum standards, the steps to the sale for Internet Leads? Sales – What will happen with the customer gets to the dealership? Who will prepare for pre-set appointments? What will be done in advance? Who will initially greet the customer? What about other salepeople poaching, or skating the Internet sales Specialists?
As Courtesy’s online marketing efforts have become more effective there has been a dramatic increase in unique visitors to multiple Courtesy operated web properties. As greater efficiencies have been incorporated into online marketing, budgets have remained fairly stable, while site visitors has steadily grown, yielding an ever decreasing cost per visitor and subsequent drops in costs per lead generated.
The real gusher has been the explosion in lead volume over the past 20 months. In 2006 lead volume steadily grw compared to same month the year prior, resulting in lead volume increases over 400%... This overwhelming volume of leads and phone calls has been a prime motivator for many of the organizational changes and eBusiness department growth at Courtesy.
Sales results in 2006 from online marketing and lead generation activities helped propel Courtesy Chevrolet to an all time record total sales volume of over 11,000 vehicles with 4,008 directly attributable to Internet leads, phone calls and BDC data mining of the database created by the massive volume of inquiries.
When looking at dealership closing ratios on Internet Leads and incoming phone calls, it is important to break the leads into categories that corespond to their origination sources. Leads from 3 rd party providers are simultaneously sent to multiple dealerships whereas leads generated by a dealer’s online marketing efforts are exclusive and not shared with other dealers. GM generated CID leads should normally close at the highest rate because of the hoops that GM makes customers jump through in order to submit an inquiry… Only thew most serious of buyers make it through the arduous process!
Despite the fussiness of online shoppers, Courtesy has been able to maintain a high level of sales and service staisfaction relative to other dealers in the Western Region.
Process Mapping a dealership’s lead management process is essential, but do not let it become intimidating… Discussing and flowcharting what steps should be completed based on the various possible customer responses is what we call results-based process flow, and is a lot more realistic than a linear process flow that does not factor in the multiple outcomes of each contact made with a customer.
Moved both the new vehicle and used vehicle BDC’s into newly constructed hi-tech call center after 6 months of contruction and development, Added a full-time F&I Manager to the eFinance Sales Team, installed 2 additional office cube’s for eFinance so they can contract deals in the eBusiness area of facility… The Courtesy Chevrolet CRM/eBusiness Teams combined sales generation capacity goes to over 445 CRM/eBusiness Facilitated Vehicle Sales per Month…
In order to prevent head count shock when looking at Courtesy Chevrolet’s eBusiness org structure it us important to understand the nature of how the organization and its sales keep growing… The growth mechanism is organic by nature and reflects the typical practices used by the Gruwells to grow the entire dealership’s operations over time. Each team is cultivated and grown to a point where it becomes necessary to slit off another team that specializes in a particular operation, or shares the workload with the origina; team. This is similar to what many service departments do when they organize service advisors and techs inyo various “colored” teams……
Clearly defined job descriptions serve strategic objectives before and after hiring people for each eBusiness position… Providing itemized lists of tasks in detail, along with clearly and objective performance evaluation criteria ensure that all members of the team are focused on the same goals and day to day task completion efforts. For recruiting, a clear job description makes it easier for good people to leave their current situation and know what they are getting into, how they will be both evaluated and paid… Demystify the Internet Sales Specialist job!
Pay plans should be progressive in a manner that creates extra rewards for deals sold at the beginning of the month, based on selling incremental units during the second half of the month. Performance bonuses based on process evaluation metrics should have minimum lead volume qualifiers to ensure that those who take on more leads than others are not penalized for handling extra work load.
Internet lead management is the closest process in variable operations that can be treated like the way we optimize fixed operations processes… Everything that a dealer does with every Internet lead is measurable and the sales results can be easily matched with original lead data, then cross referenced to the attributes of the dealer’s response to the leads that sold versus the leads that did not result in a sale.
There are numerous studies that have been done over the past few years by car companies, Internet product vendors and pure research firms such as JD Power, MorPace research, Forrester Research and others… What all the studies show is that how a dealer responds to an Internet lead, and the timing around that response is what determines sales closing rates. If a dealer is not selling enough of their Internet leads, it is almost always a result of what they are, or are not doing, and the timing around the dealer’s response activities.
Amongst all the attributes of a dealer’s response to an Internet Lead, the time from when a customer submits a lead to when they have received a personalized email message that directly addresses their inquiry consistently shows up as correlating with sales closing ratios… All response content equal, faster dealers will outsell slower dealers. However, Content is still King in that a poor response sent quickly will reduce sales closing rates. It is important to realize that lead response time is a qualifier, an index that determines maximum closing rate upper limits. Once again, it is what the customer experiences, not how or who does it that determines the results.
Lead Management Process is no longer as much an art as it has become a science… Numerous studies that utilize an OEM database matching process which tracks leads and the eventual Retail Delivery Report, then correlates sales for the brand, sales by the original lead receiving dealer, with significantly large volumes of customer submitted survey responses provide a clear and objective analysis of what the customer experiences, the differences in those experiences and their correlation with likelihood of purchasing from the dealer that received the lead. This ability to actually measure what each dealer does with their leads, through the eyes of the customer, and how these activities correspond with a sale, or a lost sale, allow a scientific management approach to Lead Management Process in a manner that absolutely WILL impact sales results from a given volume of leads.
Different studies show similar results in multiple formats, in this one, the difference between doing all 5 of these steps within the time frame shown, compared to not doing them resulted in a 400% increase in overall sales closing ratios.
Here is a simplified illustration of what happens at Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix when a new lead is received from a customer requesting a price quote on either a vehicle in stock or one that the customer has configured. Although Courtesy is fairly unique in that a BDC supports each Internet Sales Specialist with telephone follow-up, it is important to understand that this is actually a compromise in the store’s original LMP so as to enable the scalability to handling monthly lead volumes that frequently exceed 6,000 leads in a month, and over 60,000 leads a year… It is important to understand that achieving the customer experiences that impact sales closing ratios in a positive manner is a more important objective than who actually completes the tasks associated with those experiences… The customers are less concerned with who provides them with good service, than they are in actually receiving it!
Email content can raise or lower each dealership’s sales closing ratios by several points in either direction. Individually written customer emails are a luxury that simply does not scale well when lead volumes increase and they are prone to numerous errors that cost a dealership many sales. A robust email template library that is loaded into a dealership’s CRM tool and is indexed with numeric file names to process flow maps can create lead response process execution that is less likely to deteriorate from turnover and the inevitable process entropy that occurs in retail environments.
When flowcharting a dealer’s lead management process maps, be sure to start with what the customer does online and base each process map on a specific type of lead request. Request a quote is the most common lead type, but different process maps should be considered for trade-in evaluations and test drive requests.
Splitting a dealer’s process maps into multiple channels for phone activities, email activities and direct mail processes makes it easir to split the task execution work load into various resource’s daily activity schedules.
Using template numbers makes a dealer’s process maps and the day to day execution of these customer contact activities a lot more sustainable when employee turnover issues and hiring new people come into play.
For years we have talked trash about following up with leads forever, but the reality is that follow-up resources at every dealership are a finite resource so a clearly defined process for closing out unsold leads must be decided upon. Do not leave this issue up to sales staff to decide, the point at which we no longer assign resources to working a lead should be agreed upon by the dealer and senior management.
Let’s take a look at some actual real world examples of what actually works in regards to emails and the use of templates.
Keep in mind that the various web sites used to generate most quote request leads make very explicit claims as to what a customer will get in exchange for their personal and private direct contact information… Unless we deliver on the first promises made within the virtual sales environment, we may not get the chance to ever get them to visit the dealership. If your lead source promises price quotes, then you’ve got to deliver those price quotes or you lose the customer.
At Courtesy Chevrolet between 10 and 14% of our customers click on links sent in our email templates.
Autoresponse emails are not an option… Other online businesses such as Amazon.com, eBay and others have conditioned the public to expect some sort of automated confirmation that their inquiry or order has been received by a merchant. Because Courtesy Chevrolet uses so many lead sources and marketing campaigns, we have developed an automated response email template that makes extensive use of merge codes within our CRM application that allows the system to confirm the accuracy and completeness of all information received from the lead source with the customer. Approximately 20% of our prospects respond with additional information or corrections to what was received by our CRM system. Our ISS’s believe this strategy to be one of the most significant built in methodologies we use.
When dealers ask me about email and phone communications while chasing customers for their business I generally advise against sending anything or making a call unless we have the ability to deliver something of perceived value to the customer. We make extensive use of deep links in our autoresponse that guide the customer into specific web site functionality and inventory presorts along with a brief text description so that customers have short cuts to what they want to get to without having to wade through multiple sections and possibly get lost within one of our web sites.
This is an example of an email received from a customer that responded to our autoresponse with an email containing additional contact information… Her cell phone number!
Example of actual email with price quotes sent to a customer that then bought a truck from us…
Example of actual email with price quotes sent to a customer that then bought a truck from us…
Example of actual email with price quotes sent to a customer that then bought a truck from us…
For GM SFE facilitators, we recommend a standardized scoring model that allows each dealer’s response to an online mystery shop to be scored in an objective manner and then compared with other dealers who have been scored using the same index for a relative comparison of each dealer’s lead response effectiveness… Simple, effective and used by many other car companies to achieve much higher closing ratios than GM currently achieves.
Ralph Paglia ILM Implementation For General Motors Dealers
Internet Sales & Marketing for GM Dealers <ul><li>Ralph Paglia - CRM / eBusiness Director </li></ul>During the past 19 months, Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix, AZ has emerged as the leading Internet retailer of new and certified used Chevrolet vehicles in America. Courtesy was recently ranked first in total revenue from amongst all Chevrolet dealerships by Wards Dealer Business, Courtesy uses Interactive Marketing that is integrated with conventional Media campaigns. Using a combination of Business Development Centers (BDC) and dedicated Internet Sales Teams in conjunction with a fully integrated Interactive Marketing Strategy, Courtesy Chevrolet now dominates the online car buying experience targeted at anyone shopping for a new or used Chevy in Phoenix.
Dealership Transactional CRM Processes Variable % of Data Pushed/Pulled Automatically and/or Manually Every Dealership has 8 general areas for generating sales opportunities
Internet Strategy Current National Close Rate 9% Realistic Planning Potential is 18% Lead volume by ISS with response time, appointment & closing ratios Metrics <ul><li>Internet leads from ALL sources routed into Lead Management Tool that integrates with DMS, reducing keystroke entry of customer information </li></ul><ul><li>Wireless devices for ISS’s that integrate with Lead Management Tool </li></ul>Technology <ul><li>Autoreply acknowledges inquiry and sets customer expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Email with price quotes on several vehicles and sets stage for phone contact is sent within 30 minutes of lead arrival (business hours) </li></ul><ul><li>Call customer on phone within 45 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Schedule showroom visit & test drive appointment </li></ul><ul><li>Confirm Appointment via email AND 3 rd party phone call </li></ul>Process Use a predefined and consistently executed inquiry response process, customized email templates and phone scripts that result in appointments that generate increased customer visits to the dealership Tactical Objectives Drive TRAFFIC to an INTERACTIVE web site that generates leads that flow into dealer’s PROCESS engine which converts them into SALES . Convert Internet leads into showroom visitors that buy cars Strategic Goal 50% of a dealer’s Phone, Lead and Showroom traffic originates from the net… What is your dealer’s current marketing strategy? Lead providers? What is submission ratio from dealer’s site? Who updates it? Dedicated people? Process? Pricing strategy? Does dealer monitor and measure visitors, leads, response rate, appt%, show%, close%, profit, CSI, etc… eBusiness training? Pains
Courtesy Chevrolet’s Internet Lead Management Process has Allowed the Dealership to Become More Aggressive with Lower Cost Online Marketing Online Advertising is more effective but relies on LMP for results
61,642 Leads Generated & Tracked within CRM System Lead Mix by Source Category is determined by Marketing Strategy
4,008 eBusiness Department Sales of New & Used Vehicles in 2006 Segmented by Marketing Category Internet Sales will vary by the Dealership’s Lead mix by Category
Sales/Lead Closing Ratios ranged from 5.15% to 16.64% when segmented into categories based on Marketing Type Closing Ratios vary by Lead Source and the Dealership’s mix by Category
Inbound Internet Lead Management Dealer Lead Management Process Map
Courtesy Chevrolet CRM/eBusiness Teams - February, 2007 Ralph Paglia CRM/eBusiness Director Joel Matteson BDC Manager New & Used Dept.’s George Salman Internet Sales Manager New Vehicle Department Vernon Intara BDC Team Leader NEW Vehicle Sales Bryan Long Internet Sales Manager Used Vehicle Sales Toni Hunter & Jackie Bombardo CRM Administrators Adrian Fajardo Internet Sales Manager Courtesy On Bell CSR 1 CSR 2 CSR 3 CSR 4 CSR 5 CSR 6 CSR 7 CSR 8 CSR 9… CSR 12 ISS 1 ISS 2 ISS 3 ISS 4 ISS 5 ISS 6 ISS 7 ISS 8 ISS 9 ISS 10 ISS 13 ISS 14 ISS 15 ISS 16 ISS 17 ISS 18 ISS 19 ISS 20 ISS 21 CSR 13 CSR 14 CSR 15 CSR 16 CSR 17 CSR 18 Certified Sales Consultants Assigned to Handle Internet Leads Mike Gordon IT Director Eric Steffes, Kevin Youtsy, Omara Spriggs eFinance Sales Team ISS 22 CSR 19 CSR 20 125 sales 125 sales 125 sales 75 sales 60 sales 25 sales Steven Clemens BDC Team Leader USED Vehicle Sales CSR 21… CSR 24 ISS 12 ISS 11 ISS 23 ISS 24
Courtesy Chevrolet CRM/eBusiness Teams – Current Expansion , March 2007 Ralph Paglia CRM/eBusiness Director Joel Matteson BDC Manager New & Used Dept.’s George Salman ISM #1 New Chevrolet Vernon Intara BDC Team Leader NEW Vehicle Sales Bryan Long Internet Sales Manager Used Vehicle Sales Toni Hunter & Jackie Bombardo CRM Administrators Adrian Fajardo Internet Sales Manager Courtesy On Bell CSR 1 CSR 2 CSR 3 CSR 4 CSR 5 CSR 6 CSR 7 CSR 8 CSR 9… CSR 12 ISS 1 ISS 2 ISS 3 ISS 4 ISS 5 ISS 6 ISS 7 ISS 8 ISS 9 ISS 10 ISS 13 ISS 14 ISS 15 ISS 16 ISS 17 ISS 18 ISS 19 ISS 20 ISS 21 CSR 13 CSR 14 CSR 15 CSR 16 CSR 17 CSR 18 Certified Sales Consultants Assigned to Handle Internet Leads Mike Gordon IT Director Eric Steffes, Kevin Youtsy, Omara Spriggs eFinance Sales Team ISS 22 CSR 19 CSR 20 120 sales 70 sales 120 sales 80 sales 60 sales 25 sales Steven Clemens BDC Team Leader USED Vehicle Sales CSR 21… CSR 24 ISS 12 ISS 11 ISS 23 ISS 24 Mike Funk ISM #2 New Chevrolet ISS 15 ISS 16 70 sales SLIDE NOT SHOWN IN HANDOUT
Document Roles & Responsibilities for All Internet Sales Positions * July 2006 Interactive Marketing Budget
Dealer close rates vary from one dealer to the next… Some as low as 2%, while others are as high as 23% What Dealer actions generate more sales, more often?
<ul><li>How much impact does “ What ” an Internet Sales Specialist does have on whether or not the lead is sold? </li></ul><ul><li>How much are results effected by “ When ” you do it? </li></ul><ul><li>Two critical sales closing factors: </li></ul><ul><li>Timing Effects Sales Results </li></ul><ul><li>ISS Lead Response Attributes </li></ul>Response Time & Content
A: Increasing Closing Ratios is not “Just About” Response Times… Q: Why the variations?
*Survey Participants who Purchased a Vehicle were identified via RDR data cross reference and matching with Internet Lead Data Recent Marketing research (Q3, 2006) confirms the Lead Management Practices collected during “Best In Class” Dealer Benchmark studies. How to sell more vehicles to customers that submit Internet leads… Without relying on opinions or seat of the pants management! #4 #3 #2 #1 Top 4 Ways to Close More Sales to Leads Received 11 27% 17% Make Direct Phone Contact with Customer (after sending Email w/availability & prices) 9 27% 20% Send Price Quotes by Email to Customer 5 25% 21% Contact Customer more than once by Email and Telephone (within First 24 Hours) 3 24% 21% Make sure Customers are either Completely or Very Satisfied with the Lead Response Statistical Correlation Factor of Response attribute with Vehicle Purchase % of Purchase* among the Leads who DID Experience the attribute Purchase Respondents* who DID NOT experience the attribute Dealer Response Attributes Experienced by Customers within 24 hours of Submitting an Inquiry
5 Lead Management Activities that Drive Lead-to-Sales conversion at 400% higher rate* <ul><li>Consumer received price quote(s) by email within first 24 hours </li></ul><ul><li>Direct customer phone contact made by Salesperson within first 24 hours </li></ul><ul><li>Salesperson confirmed availability of multiple vehicles within first 24 hours </li></ul><ul><li>Salesperson showed genuine interest </li></ul><ul><li>Customer contacted more than once within first 24 hours </li></ul>*Source: Morpace 24 hour survey and RDR sales Data (2006 study reconfirms close ratio impact factors) There is No Mystery to What it takes to convert Leads to Sales
Customer goes online and submits Lead Internet Sales Specialist (ISS) reviews lead, selects 4 vehicles for Price Quotes BDC Staff makes initial phone call, collects customer info, sets up an appointment for the ISS If no appointment, ISS Contacts customer and seeks appointment and/or agreement What happens at Courtesy Chevrolet when a new lead arrives?
Successful Email Templates Providing Reasons/Logic to Act Quickly… Create urgency Dealer Differentiation - Why buy here… Homogenous Commodity Multiple Points of Contact and Links to Value-Added Content Confirming Vehicles in Inventory for Test Drive and Delivery Offering Next Steps, Setting Expectations - Demystify Quoting Prices on Multiple Vehicles – Exceed Expectations
Lead Process Maps should be indexed (#) to email templates, phone scripts and word tracks so that dealership employees have a “paint by numbers” guide to what is expected when a lead is received. This initial section of a lead management process map focuses on the first 12 hours after a new lead is received. SLIDE NOT SHOWN IN HANDOUT
Lead Process Maps should contain brief explanations for the logic and execution tips for employees to review before actually using the email templates, phone scripts and word tracks. Actual template illustrations make it easy for dealership employees to recognize the right template or document when they see it in their CRM tool. SLIDE NOT SHOWN IN HANDOUT
When Lead Process Maps are indexed (use letters and numbers) to correspondingly numbered email templates, phone scripts and word tracks, the dealership is far more likely to execute the repetitious tasks that create customer experiences which correlate with higher sales closing ratios. The best process maps break down email and phone contact processes into separate flows so that they can be executed by multiple internal or outsourced resources when scaling up lead volumes and organization structures. SLIDE NOT SHOWN IN HANDOUT
Although many car guys will say they believe in the concept of following up until prospects either buy or die… Large scale lead generation through highly effective marketing practices requires that scarce resources be allocated to where they will generate the most sales. Outsourcing followup on leads that have reached a designated status (dormant) or assigning them to alternate resources such as a BDC will allow ISS’s to stay focused on the 50% of the leads that buy, and do so within the first 10 days Have a defined process for “closing out” unsold leads SLIDE NOT SHOWN IN HANDOUT
LMP Scoring Index Objective Review of Dealership Employee Lead responses encourages consistency and creates a numeric accountability – an LMP Report Card for Dealer or GM review…
<ul><li>Automated Email Reply acknowledging receipt – Verify Customer Contact Info & ask for more </li></ul><ul><li>Personalized Email within 30 minutes of business day that provides price quotes on 4 vehicles and sets stage for a follow-up telephone call within 45 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>First Phone Call to customer: verify receipt of email and schedule a demo/test drive appointment </li></ul><ul><li>Appointment Confirmation by Email and Telephone </li></ul><ul><li>Instruct customer to check in at reception desk, ASM reviews agenda upon customer arrival, introduces ISS who sells & delivers the vehicle </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up Email that sets the stage for referrals and additional business, to be routed to ISS who sold car </li></ul>Lead Management PROCESS 101
Nothing has more impact on results than phone contact with the customer! Profound Knowledge
First Call After Sending Personalized Email <ul><li>Verify customer has received the email with price quotes on 4 vehicles. If relevant, obtain customer’s “REAL” email address and schedule a follow-up call after re-sending quotes to new email address (work) </li></ul><ul><li>Establish what is most important to your customer by following the phone script titled “Internet Price-Quote Follow-up” </li></ul><ul><li>Set the stage for your Customer’s expectations… Create a buying “Plan” during the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Schedule appointment for a vehicle presentation and test drive at dealership or customer’s location </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up with email confirmation of appointment </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare for appointment by locating vehicle(s) and ensuring their availability for demo drive </li></ul>Purpose: New Lead Phone Follow-up
Telephone Process <ul><li>85% of Web visitors who contact the dealership before coming into the showroom, use the phone </li></ul><ul><li>Direct Phone contact (after responding to an Internet lead by email), has the greatest impact on increasing sales closing ratios </li></ul><ul><li>Phone Follow-Up Sales Strategy: </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on having a set of objectives in front of us, each time we make an email follow-up call </li></ul><ul><li>Word Track Forms (scripts) are used for training and collecting customer information during each call that is made immediately after sending personalized email response </li></ul>
Sales Closing Ratios Key Improvement Action Items <ul><li>Dealer LMP Audits </li></ul><ul><li>Survey customers who didn’t purchase </li></ul><ul><li>Survey customers who did purchase </li></ul><ul><li>Review Lead Management Tool for a sampling of previous responses </li></ul><ul><li>Score first personal response using LMP Optimization Scoring Model </li></ul><ul><li>Mystery shop each dealership enrolled in SFE </li></ul>Text Edited - Please Make Notes in Handout
… The Bottom Line <ul><li>Customer has spent up to 6 hours in researching a vehicle online before sending us a lead </li></ul><ul><li>Selected your dealership as their 1 st choice dealer </li></ul><ul><li>Requested a price quote on a vehicle </li></ul><ul><li>They are much likely to buy from your store if you… </li></ul><ul><li>Respond quickly (now) – without “fluff and puff” </li></ul><ul><li>Confirm vehicle availability – with alternatives </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a fair price quote – multiple vehicles </li></ul><ul><li>Contact them by phone – verify receipt of email* </li></ul><ul><li>*40% of dealer emails are blocked by various spam filters </li></ul>Summary and Questions Text Edited - Please Make Notes in Handout