The Holy Grail for any business is to be able to link sales to marketing spend. If this can be achieved, then a virtuous circle can be created whereby marketing wastage is minimised and processes can be tightened – delivering an ever-improving cost per sale. This Holy Grail is now being achieved by car dealers who are heavily engaging with sophisticated call tracking services.
The automotive sector was one of the first sectors to embrace call tracking to measure their marketing success. However, once adopted, many dealers have continued to use call tracking at its most basic and ended up with a call counting service. There is a definite correlation between the success of a dealership or group with those who engage with call tracking and work on the information provided.
Are you a call counter?
At its most basic, call tracking will provide a car dealer with a simple count of telephone calls and show whether they were answered or not. This often comes on a spreadsheet once a week and everyone is satisfied that they have covered off on their marketing. The reality is that whilst this might be useful data, it is not being acted upon. This is what successful dealers who engage with call tracking do.
What does a cutting-edge dealer do with their call tracking that makes them different from straight call counting?
Immediacy for tactical advantage
Cutting-edge dealers start by realising that the data has value in two areas; its immediacy and analysing historic trends. Immediacy means reviewing the data, as a minimum, daily (if necessary, instantaneously) to ensure that customers are receiving the service they expect. Many sales leads come in and are converted on the same day and, at most, within 5 days. If a dealer doesn’t act on this, then the customer will go elsewhere.
Acting on data instantaneously is not easy but, luckily, tools are provided that allow data to be pushed at dealers via automated missed and received call alerts.
This identifies when a call has come in from a particular source and whether it has been answered or not. If it has been answered it can be listened to immediately to ensure that sales staff are actually following the right processes.
With missed call alerts it’s also possible to identify if there is a problem with answering the phones. Many is the time that the missed call alerts is the first time that a dealership knows that their phone system has gone down.
Using historic data for strategic insight
Whilst it is important at a tactical level to be on top of data, over time, data ages and can be used to improve the strategic direction of a dealership. Clever dealers can instantly turn their call data on its head so that everyone from the CEO down can see how many calls they have received year on year, month on month, week on week. They can also understand their call handling ability and where the callers are coming from.
Experienced dealers use a greater than average amount of tracking numbers to really understand the touch points for the customer journey. They can then match this call data with their sales data. This will give them a close understanding and appreciation of how many leads were generated by a particular source and then converted to a sale.
If you currently do not know whether Autotrader is more successful than Motors, then you need to think about how you are analysing your data.
I have given you some examples of how call tracking is not just a counting tool and can create real insight and change for a business. One of the great pleasures I get from my job is working with dealers to open their eyes to the data they can get from their call tracking and help them improve their business accordingly.
Are you ready to be more sophisticated with your data – or are you happy to sit in the call counting slow lane?