How to Improve Dealership Lead Quality

April 20, 2022 John Kehm

In sales, it’s all about the leads. The number and the quality.

Most car dealerships (and their sales teams) clamor for “more leads.” But what they really want are more quality leads.

Smart marketers know if they are generating weak leads, they won’t be seeing eye to eye with sales. Time is wasted, tensions rise and numbers aren’t met. In today’s digital age, the focus on sales lead quality is more important than ever with Millennials entering the market in large numbers.

Gone are the days of hours on the phone, and upon us are the days of search engine ads, social posts and email campaigns attributing to inbound leads. Filtering through all these channels is crucial for giving salespeople the assistance they need to convert leads into sales.

How do you get leads for car sales?

Here are 5 tips to help your dealership improve lead quality:

●  Work with sales to define a “sales-qualified-lead”

●  Implement a lead scoring strategy

●  Make sure the team is lead nurturing

●  Put the marketing and sales teams in communication

●  Use a predictive marketing software

1.  Work with Sales to Define an “SQL”

What is it?

A “sales-qualified lead”, or SQL, is a prospect who meets your sales department’s definition of sales-ready in order to move to the next step of the sales funnel.

Why is this important? 

Only 45% of businesses have established a company-wide definition of a sales-ready lead, according to a study by MarketingSherpa. That creates a huge disconnect between the two departments rather than a seamless hand-off. Whether it be a test drive request or an internet chatbot inquiry, establish with your sales team what deems a lead “hot.”

How can it change your dealership? 

Lead scoring keeps a dealership organized and prioritizes prospects to set sales teams up for success. In an Eloqua study of 10 companies using lead scoring systems, on average, deal close rates increased by 30%, company revenue increased by 18% and revenue per deal increased by 17%.


Get the Guide:
11-Point Marketing Checklist for Dealerships of Any Size


2. Implement Lead Scoring

What is it? 

Lead scoring is a process of ranking a lead’s interest level and sales readiness based on a methodology agreed upon by marketing and sales.

Dealerships can score leads in a variety of ways by assigning points or also implementing rankings like “hot,” “warm,” or “cold.” Or A, B, C. However you want to rank them, assigning a score to a lead creates a hierarchy for sales, ensuring they are focusing their efforts on the low hanging fruit first and setting themselves up for success.

The actual lead scoring should incorporate a combination of explicit data and implicit data.

Explicit data is information the prospect provides, such as name, occupation, phone number, etc.

Implicit data is what is revealed by the prospect’s online behavior, such as web pages visited and recency or frequency of visits.

Why is this important? 

By combining implicit and explicit data from first and high-quality third-party data sources, dealers are empowered to transform their data into an efficient lead scoring model that enables their team to easily identify and engage the highest quality sales and service leads. 

How can it change your dealership? 

By taking a data-driven approach to sifting, scoring and engaging sales and service leads, dealers can engage their best prospects with intelligent marketing campaigns that maximize the potential to close.

Implementing a lead scoring process also enables dealership sales teams to nurture “lukewarm” prospects not quite ready to purchase, keeping them engaged until they’re ready to re-enter the buying journey.


Download the Whitepaper:
3 Step Guide to Dealership Conquest Marketing in 2022


3. Commit To Lead Nurturing

What is it? 

Lead nurturing is the act of guiding prospects down the sales funnel by building relationships through content and communication, whether they are ready to buy or not.

The thought here is to build customer loyalty and trust in your company and your product through personalized and timely marketing messages that keep your dealership top-of-mind when a customer returns to market.

Why is this important? 

Various studies show that buying prospects really only engage with sales during the last third of the car buying journey, which leaves a large gap of time for research. This is a crucial time for your dealership to get your message in front of the buyer – especially amid diminished dealer and brand loyalty rates.

How can this change your dealership? 

By analyzing the insights stored inside a dealership’s CRM, DMS and sales platform, as well as high-quality, third-party data to personalize and target marketing messages, dealers can maximize customer engagement. 

A 2010 Forrester Research study found companies that excel at lead nurturing can generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost per lead than other companies.

4. Create a Marketing – Sales Sync-Up

What is it? 

A quick meeting or call once a week or once a month is crucial for any organization.

Management should review a few offer sheets, emails and phone calls each week, ensuring deals are up-to-date and well-communicated to every department. At least monthly, lead grades should be reviewed, updated and reported to marketing.

How can this change your dealership and why is it important?

Having the marketing and sales departments on the same page ensures the wheels keep spinning in unison. If marketing has no idea what happens to leads, the wheel has lost its axle.

By keeping marketing and sales in-sync, both departments are empowered to provide helpful feedback, which benefits both parties and keeps both teams in the same lane.

5. Use Automation and Predictive Marketing Software

Last but certainly not least, if you are working leads without marketing automation or predictive software you may be working harder and not smarter. Additionally you may be losing out on a large portion of potential quality sales leads.

What is it? 

Technology like the Mastermind sales platform from automotiveMastermind (aM) utilizes behavior prediction technology to first identify and then communicate to all loyalty, service-not-sold and conquest customers in your market.

aM’s predictive sales platform provides market-leading data, sophisticated marketing and an in-depth dashboard, plus access to an expert consultative service team.

Why is this important?

Using marketing automation software is essential for your ever-changing database in an attempt to nurture car buyers and get them in your dealership’s door.

Through a combination of turnkey predictive analytics, proactive marketing and dedicated consultative services, bundled tools give you the details you need to close more deals every single month. This technology lets you utilize all aspects of your dealership for leads rather than fishing in the dark by cold calling.


Download the Guide:
Predictive Marketing for Dealerships 101


How can this change your dealership? 

The symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing is the engine that makes a dealership go.

Ensuring your lead qualifying process is finely tuned ensures you can get where you want to go, breaking down goal after goal and crushing your conversion rate. Of course, the quantity of leads will always be important, but ensuring the leads are of high quality is what truly sets your dealership up for success in the long run.

What could revolutionizing the way your dealership looks at both the quantity and quality of sales prospects do to help you sell more cars? Contact us today for a free consultation.

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