Imagine that you attend a classical music concert. This concert has a 90 piece (90 musicians) orchestra and a conductor (the leader or guide) that communicates to the orchestra on how to play the next note(s). Now take a look at the sales department of an automobile dealership. The department has managers that usually consist of a general sales manager, one or more sales managers and a team of sales consultants. Much like the orchestra conductor it is the duty of sales managers to guide and lead their team of sales consultants to success. Let's talk about how to "Orchestrate Sales Departments".

In some cases a conductor is also the musical director in which case they take on a bigger role than just to guide the orchestra. The musical director is responsible for choosing the program for the orchestra, manage the orchestra and even be involved in auditioning musicians. This is much like a general sales manager that is involved in recruiting for the sales team as well as manages all advertising for the sales department.

So how do we orchestrate sales departments?

The sales managers properly manage a well-orchestrated sales department. The sales management team in this case is very hands on. They are dedicated to constantly making sure that their sales people are always working when at the dealership. This includes making sure that they are following up with their customers and utilizing the CRM. Sales managers are also responsible to be around the showroom to monitor sales people. This is because sometimes they may have to jump in on a TO depending on what is happening in the deal.

Another aspect of a well-orchestrated sales team is how the team setup. For example, some dealers are staffing the sales department according to skill set. The automotive retail industry has increased focused on customer retention through data mining. One of our clients at Dealer eTraining built a five person sales team to just work a system called “Auto Alert”. This team specifically works all data mining opportunities that include lease retention, refinancing, vehicle upgrades, selling to customers that visit the service department and more. This is a five person team does the whole process from start to finish.

The sales department still has a five person BDC to handle the 1000+ leads and incoming calls. They still have fourteen sales consultants on the showroom floor that takes UPS. The idea of having different people in different roles of the department is to have everyone bring something important to the table. The BDC will focus on having 10-20 appointments daily and 40-50 appointments on Saturdays. The sales consultants will focus on working with the incoming traffic and selling cars. The “Auto Alert” team will focus on following up with the dealership’s database and selling cars to those customers. An orchestra in the same way has people in place to play certain instruments, harmonies and sections in the music that the conductor communicates to them.

How do we make it “well orchestrated”?

It starts by evaluating what we are working with. What are the skill sets of the people that are working at the dealership? What kind of tools is the dealership using? From there we setup small teams within the general sales department to handle what they can handle best. This is where the BDC or Internet department is created. This is also where the retention or data mining department is setup. Now we take our core sales consultants and train them to properly handle customers by understanding how customers are coming in and how to properly sell them. In some cases depending on the size and budget of the dealership there may even be an in-house digital marketing or social media team too. 

The GSM (conductor or musical director) must be fully hands on by guiding; coaching, leading and helping the sales team to be successful. What managers forget is that their individual success and incomes comes from how well their sales consultants perform and deliver. This is why proper leadership is important to the success of the dealership. The goal should be to effectively orchestrate sales departments in dealerships.

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