Your business development center is the lifeblood of your dealership. Between channeling leads to your sales teams, setting appointments with customers, and staying ahead of customer needs, there isn’t a corner of your business it doesn’t impact. 

But it doesn’t generate profit all by itself, so it can be hard to understand how it’s performing. What metrics should you be tracking to ensure your BDC isn’t just doing “OK”, but amazingly well?

We’ll give you the lowdown on what KPIs to track to make sure your BDC is serving your dealership as intended. Here’s everything you need to know to build a winner that stands out in the automotive industry. 


A lot of dealerships have a BDC because they want to improve a particular aspect of their business’s performance like appointment setting. And while a well-trained BDC team can definitely deliver, this department can serve a number of critical revenue-generating functions—they should never be limited to boosting one or two basic KPIs. 

While you should be molding your BDC to perfectly match your dealership, here are the core mission goals they should all be working toward:

  • Increasing appointment set and show rates
  • Determining customers’ intent and channeling them appropriately
  • Making lead development calls
  • Addressing common customer questions and delivering consistent service

If they aren’t doing all of these things yet, talk to your consulting and coaching partner. They will be able to help get your BDC up to speed and make the most of their time and resources for your business. 

In the meantime, here are the numbers you should expect to see in your reports to identify if your BDC is barely getting over the finish line or crushing the competition.  


Whether the call is incoming or outgoing, your team should be setting appointments to bring customers through the doors. Inbound calls will naturally have a higher appointment set rate than outbound calls, as when a customer calls you they’re usually already looking for something. 

OK: Your BDC team is converting half your inbound calls to live appointments, versus 20% of the outbound calls. These are the bare minimums, though, and you should be aiming higher. 

Amazing: 80% of inbound and 25% of outbound calls resulting in appointments would be outstanding. It takes a lot of detailed work from your training partner and BDC representatives to get it right, but the rewards are huge. 

Boosting these numbers means refining your phone scripts and intensively training your people on them. Believe it or not, a big reason customers don’t set an appointment is…no one asked them! That line absolutely has to be in your scripts.


Setting the appointment is only the beginning. Getting them to turn up is the next step.

OK: A 50% show rate is the floor on this KPI. 

Amazing: 60% would be better, but with good systems in place you should be seeing around 75% of your customers keeping their appointments.

Training your people to ask for customer details and giving directions that ensure the customer knows where they’re going is critical. Having a manager follow up with a second call to confirm the appointment a day or so ahead of time is also a smart move. Do both.


Your BDC could be generating tons of leads, but still not serving your dealership well. Especially if you pay your BDC staff on commission (an excellent business model), if you don’t have qualifying metrics built in you could have a flood of low-intent customers clogging your sales team’s inbox, wasting valuable time.

OK: 20% of your customer appointments being high-intent leads is about what your sales team will need to hit those monthly sales goals.

Amazing: 40% and above makes the most of your opportunities, and you can build in language and strategies to your phone scripts that help nurture customers through your pipeline in the most efficient possible way.

Your BDC staff only has partial control over these numbers, but there are steps to take. Your training partner should be teaching your employees to sort incoming leads by intent: high-intent customers will have an appropriate budget and are ready to make a purchase in the immediate future. These customers should be a high priority for appointment set conversion. Lower tiers each have strategies to develop them.

To help your staff identify potential high-intent customers they can contact, equip them with customer data platform (CDP) software if you haven’t already. This innovation uses AI to sort collected and purchased data from across your dealership platforms (CRM, DMS, etc.) to find the “needle in the haystack” that would normally be missed.


This KPI should be judged by the ratio of inbound to outbound calls your agents are making every day.

OK: A 1:1 ratio of inbound to outbound calls indicates priorities need to be adjusted.

Amazing: Your BDC agents need to be making twice as many outbound calls as inbound. Leads calling in usually already know about you, and you can’t grow your business only catering to your current customers. Outbound BDC calls are critical to the long-term growth of your business.

Fixing this can take a few different forms:

  • Insufficient staffing/inefficient work schedules can leave a few employees taking too many inbound calls. Hire more people, or distribute your BDC agent hours to better match predictable call spikes (lunchtime) and dead times (weekday mornings). 
  • A lack of leads from your CRM/CDP can be an issue. You’ll need a highly capable platform, and your team will need to be properly trained to understand how to use it effectively. 
  • Check with your BDC manager or training partner to make sure the employees know they’re supposed to be making calls at a 2:1 ratio, and that their job duties are prioritized so as to allow them to hit these numbers.


No matter why you started your BDC, the fact is, they can often drive revenue for your business in ways you never even imagined. Like any investment, these talented representatives need to be empowered to deliver the biggest return possible, and that means finding every way to leverage the opportunities they’ll have. 

And as you probably noticed, most of the remedies we’ve discussed above emphasize the need to properly and continuously train your people. The automotive industry is constantly evolving, and that’s why it’s so important to equip your BDC with a dedicated industry specialist who can keep them sharp, deliver excellent scripts, and help them stay on top of new customer trends. 

The best of the best not only deliver one-on-one coaching for your team using their real-world calls, but they can do so efficiently so they don’t interfere with larger business goals. Plus, they’ll be able to give you insight into many different aspects of your business and develop a flexible relationship that meets your unique dealership needs. 

That’s how you make the most of every investment—and take your BDC from the sideline to primetime so they can deliver for your bottom line. 

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