I am looking for any advice from anyone who has experience with succesful internet departments.

Our dealership operation currently does not have one person who is responsible for all leads or internet activity as a whole. We currently have three of our 10 salespeople who handle all of the leads that come in. As you can imagine between lot traffic and other daily activities our “internet team” is busy with a lot of other things than responding immediately and consistently to our leads.

Our closing ratio is not good at this point and we know we need to make changes.

 Thus brings the question of what to do?

 Do we hire one individual that can handle all of the leads and also monitor the websites (GM and Chrysler) to update incentives?

 Does this person handle all internet activity and make it their own?

 Do we pay a salary with bonus levels based on performance?

What have you found to work or not work?

Thank you for the help!

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 You may want to contact Monica Shannon at www.Auto-BDC.com. This company has helped many dealers that I have worked with. Might be worth a shot, at the least, get your questions answered. Good Luck! 

Every solution is so unique to the dynamics of the sales force, but that is part of the fun.

 

Maybe you could start with letting us know how many iLeads you receive monthly, and giving us some idea of your dealership's history with internet business. That's to say, if we know the steps that led you to where you are now, we'll be better able to make suggestions that jive with the sales philosophy on your lot.

Hi Aaron,

   I would suggest having an Internet Manager handle all incoming leads. When the leads come in The Internet Manager responds immediatley (Advising that a Manager will be in touch with them shortly), then hands it off to the Sales Manager on Duty whom gives it to a assisgned salesman right away to contact. After every Contact, wether it be good or bad the Salesman returns the Lead info to the Internet Manager to log in and keep track of.

And if the salesman assisgned does not contact the lead asap, advise the Sales Manager and have it assisgned to another salesman.

Your Closing Ratio wil get alot better.

There are usually atleast two good Salesman that handle these well!! Let's face it! it is $$$ in there pocket if they get the sale!! And a little incentive for the Internet Manager if the Vehicle Sells as well!!

 

Please feel free to contact me anytime,

I will also be at the Internet 20 Sales group Workshop in LA this November!!

 

Tracy Johnson

Internet Department Manager

Carson Automotive Group

Mainland Operations

þ Email: tracy.johnson@carsonauto.com

( Phone: 604-294-6525 (Extension 3513)

 

Having been very successful with internet leads=appointments=sale, I can say it needs to be tailored to your dealership. In a franchise store such as yours, I recommend one person responsible to handle all leads, create an appointment and greet the customer when they arrive, turn them over to salesperson who may be up or available on an open floor. The same person, we will call them the internet sales manager should re-enforce the internet pricing and eliminate price objectives, of course the road to the sale is the same, strong value needs to be built in the product they are buying and the dealership. Don't drop the ball, if you are not strong on the first impression, a certain second or third dealer will steal the thunder.

Yes there is a system that works! First off you have to decide if you want the internet dept to be appointment makers or do it the right way and have SALESpeople  taking care of these VALUABLE leads?

Yes Thomas I agree, the internet person should be a SALESperson, however one that is accountable to the dealership, not their ego... welcome to the technology of 2014, 35% of buyers are using smartphones, are most SALESpeople technology savvy? We spend plenty of money on EBAY, Cars.com and Autotrader, the response should be professional and better than 90% of today's dealerships that are dinosaurs

in internet marketing. 

Aaron, your asking the right questions.

1. Assign this department to one individual (w/ strong follow up skills that is a self starter)
2. Have him create an ROI spread sheet how many leads you're getting and from where, what they Cost you and how many of them were sold and last what's the profit per vendor(cars.com, Dealix, carsdirct etc.) find out what's the closing ratio is cost per lead and PRU
3. Before you assign people to that department find out your lead count(step 2 will get that) you should have 1 person to handle 50-60 leads per month, 120-150 leads per month then assign 3 Internet sales ppl to that dept.
4. Have the Internet sales director (step 1) measure those 3 assigned internet sales people's A. Response time the closer to 15 mins the better. B. their appts set and sold. C. Their follow ups
5. He is paid a base salary and commission based on overall performance of the dept.
we went from ranked 131 to top 20 the year we implanted this to top 5 the following year.

Hope this helps.

This info is yours the only thing I ask is give me some feed back once you have applied it.

As far as updating sites the manufacture normally updates it. What he should do is put on special the top 10 most expensive and top 10 oldest as specials on both sites new and used.

-Gus the bus.

Take a look at the www.internetsales20group.com :) 

I don't want to be controversial, but my experience has taught me that very few dealerships are able to find the right mix at an affordable expense. Our team at Auto iLead is the easy choice for dealers grappling with hiring, training, consistency, coverage and/or office space. Out of curiosity, what brand(s) and how many email leads per month are you generating?

I have a three part answer. First, you hire the best talent you can and then place them in the right position. At one of our dealerships, Imagic is set to distribute leads to 4 top performing, skilled, and talented salespeople. With our clearly defined process, we close 20% of Internet leads. Our sister dealership has a BDC that handles all the Internet leads because they cannot compete against other industries for the same talent. 

Second, we have seen that, as our online marketing strategy improved, so did the structure of our Internet team. We constantly assess, analyze, and adjust. 

Third, don't forget the customer. In our market, we find that Internet enthusiasts shop 6-7 dealerships. So do we want to add to the clutter with a BDC, sales manager, sales person all emailing and calling from one dealership. Customers want one point of contact and that person has to know product. So, if you choose to go the one BDC route, then you better pay them well. Otherwise, you have trained them to leave.

Best wishes.

Aaron, your store's Internet department structure should depend on two elements:
1) Total number of leads
2) Management's capability of monitoring employee performance.

If you're looking to dedicate all Internet leads to one individual, they will need roughly 85-125 leads to make a living, but this must remove them from lot traffic.  (Inbound Internet calls would count as leads - or opportunities - in this scenario.)  If you have more leads, you can go with one appt-setter who can still direct prospects to the sales floor, but their primary goal is what is hitting the CRM and phones.  

The A-Z Internet Manager should have some semblance of a salary (depending on area and goal income, think between $400-$600 weekly) plus basic commissions.  
The Appt-Setter should be paid an hourly wage (depending on area and goal income, think between $10-$12) plus flat rates for Appointments Shown and total sales, with escalator bonuses retro to 1 at certain tiers.

In the end, it is easier to manage and hold accountable one person (or two) than it is to distribute leads to the floor.  Ideally, to increase closing ratio, you need to increase response time, quality of response, web presence, and consumer experience.  Transparency is key, but timing plays a major role as well. Whichever direction you choose, two things must happen...
1) They must be dedicated to a computer or mobile device to monitor and handle all opportunities immediately - no lot wandering.  The CRM is their life.
2) A manager (or yourself) must understand how to monitor their performance, not by sales volume, but by consistent effort inside the CRM.  You must measure the amount of work they're dedicating to driving in every lead and not letting anyone undervalue those Internet opportunities. 

And train them to succeed.  Give them templates, scripts, follow-up processes, good technology, and enough rope to make executive decisions with the leads.  When someone feels they have ownership of a position, they see more value in it.

Thumbs up.

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