What Your Dealership’s BDC Needs to Be Doing Differently

November 26, 2021

As new vehicle inventory shortages prompt more customers to shop online, modern dealership BDCs have undergone a transformation from cold call centers to conduits to the showroom floor.

Amid rapid digitalization and diminished loyalty, now is the time to revisit your BDC and consider whether you have the right tools, BDC training and compensation structure in place to maximize its effectiveness.

We’ve discussed how to increase dealership BDC effectiveness before, but there’s still a lot dealerships can do to improve this increasingly critical component of their sales process. Read on to learn some dealership best practices, including:

  • Giving your BDC the tools and insights it needs to play the critical role of connecting online car shoppers to your showroom floor.
  • Ensuring your BDC training is helping your agents effectively turn shoppers into appointments.
  • Structuring BDC and salesperson compensation to incentivize behavior that maximizes sales.

Picking the Right Tools for the BDC

Besides their name, email and vehicle of interest, how much does your BDC agent know about the shopper with whom they’re engaging? Do they have the insights they need to differentiate a quality sales lead from a weak one, or to be truly helpful by suggesting a more appropriate product or offer? Can your agents reach leads with personalized offers in hand, or are they spending hours asking following up questions to customers who aren’t interested or are out-of-market? 

Comprehensive sales platforms like Mastermind empower the BDC to go past cold-calling with a data-driven approach. With insights like household and vehicle ownership information for online shoppers in front of them, BDC agents can be more effective than ever in customizing touchpoints and BDC sales scripts to effectively engage prospects and move them toward scheduling an appointment.

However, it’s important to differentiate between “data” and “insights.” It’s not enough to only make sure your BDC agents have information about your prospects. You also need to support them with analytics-driven insights that help them make the most of the information that matters, allowing them to “get ahead” of today’s digitally savvy customers.

While they may already be tapped into the dealership’s CRM, equipping the BDC with data-driven marketing tools empowers them to personalize their approach by utilizing the factors that motivative each buyer’s purchasing decisions, improving lead quality and leading to a better overall customer experience.

Training Your BDC to Deliver

Automotive BDC training involves more than simply running them through a few BDC training scripts and roleplaying some common customer interactions. More than anything, your dealership’s BDC training should be focused on making the BDC as nimble and effective as possible in meeting customers’ needs and delivering scheduled appointments.

To increase BDC efficiency and efficacy, it’s critical your BDC agents understand how predictive analytics work and how personalized marketing engages prospects with the goal of connecting them to your dealership’s online resources – and eventually getting them into the store or connected with a remote sales team.

Mastermind offers dealership training that prepares BDC agents to play a seamless and effective role in the dealership customer experience, whether that’s online or in-person, including how to use all the tools at their disposal to deliver prospects to the showroom floor.

Your BDC is a critical touchpoint for your overall customer experience and offers dealers a natural solution to bridge the gap between their online and in-store experiences. Salespeople are the top driver of customer satisfaction in the dealership experience – more than length of the process and price paid combined.

The more the automotive sales process moves online, the more your BDC agents will be fulfilling that role in the eyes of your customers. When equipped with the right tools, technology and training, the BDC can set the stage for a seamless customer experience and a simplified customer journey to promote future loyalty.

BDC Pay Plan and Incentives

Does the compensation structure for your BDC create the right incentives for your team to get high-quality prospects through the showroom door, and how does that align with your sales team’s compensation structure to encourage them all to work together effectively?

A common approach at successful dealerships with effective and profitable BDCs is differentiating between BDC-scheduled appointments that have a specific time and date attached and every other appointment.

From here, dealers are challenged with determining how to allocate floor sales commissions on BDC sales on scheduled appointments. Amid inventory shortages, it’s also important for dealers to analyze if the compensation structure at the dealership creates the right incentives for the BDC to both book appointments and acquire inventory. If so, how does that process interact with the rest of your sales team’s compensation structure to encourage them all to work together effectively for the dealership?

Review your team’s pay plans and see how they intersect. Challenge managers to determine how to allocate sales commissions on BDC sales through scheduled appointments. To determine what an appropriate factor would be in your dealership, look at what your existing closure rate is for in-person sales appointments of all kinds. If your salespeople are already closing appointments at 50% or more, then half the work of the sales process is clearly connecting with the prospect. The BDC agent who did the heavy lifting should be compensated for playing an important role in the success of the team.

Incentivizing your sales team encourages them to pick up the phone and take a more proactive role in the sales and acquisition process. If your salespeople are getting paid more for closing their own deals than they are for closing BDC-scheduled appointments, they’ll likely put more effort into developing prospects, maintaining long-term relationships, maximizing sales and pre-owned acquisition efforts and promoting customer retention efforts, all at once.

When you combine this sort of incentivized approach with the powerful prospect identification capabilities of Mastermind, the results and benefits span much further than just the BDC. Taking a data-driven approach to tooling, training, staffing and incentivizing empowers dealers to maximize the efficacy and efficiency of their sales and marketing efforts dealership-wide.

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