Car Sales Lead Quality vs. Quantity for Dealerships

September 6, 2019 John Kehm

The debate over auto dealership sales leads has always been about the balance of lead quantity versus quality. Dealers are often trying to strike a balance between more leads and better leads to help sell more cars and increase bottom-line profits. 

The rise of digital sales tools has changed that balance forever. Big data automates the process of gathering a large quantity of leads, while artificial intelligence and machine learning have taken lead quality from guesswork to a reliable identification of shoppers who are most likely to purchase a vehicle, including their car buying motives.

In this article, automotiveMastermind looks at the changing nature of automotive dealership leads and shares best practices related to:

  • The importance of lead quality over quantity
  • The hidden dangers of having too many low-quality leads
  • How high-quality auto leads drive long-term customer retention

Changing the Quantity-Quality Equation

Modern digital tools such as Mastermind’s dealership solutions for lead management, analytics, marketing and sales aren’t looking at leads the way dealers traditionally have, analyzing each on a one-by-one basis. Modern predictive marketing technology automates this process. Market EyeQ, for example, analyzes all of the available customer data in a dealership’s entire marketplace, identifying the people who are most likely to buy new cars.

This is what a quality lead looks like in the modern dealership sales world – it’s an actual data-driven score on each prospect that allows your sales team to put your best opportunities first. This drives incremental sales and revenues, lowers the costs of spending time and resources on the wrong prospects and forms the basis of an ongoing customer experience (CX) initiative that will drive increased customer loyalty over time.

Avoid the High Cost of Low-Quality Leads 

Low-quality leads cost your dealership time and money long before they ever walk in the door. That might be time your dealership’s Business Development Center spends chasing down a weak online lead, or it might be wasted marketing spend reaching out to someone who seems like a good opportunity on the surface but has deeper factors that make them unlikely to purchase in the near future.

Even worse, you might be successful in getting a low-quality lead in the door through your marketing campaigns, meaning that not only have you invested marketing spend on them, but you’re also burning the limited time of your sales staff on someone who’s not a serious prospect.

That’s one of the ways where personalized dealership marketing pays off. When dealers implement Mastermind’s predictive automotive marketing solutions, they focus their marketing resources on the prospects who are most likely to buy, while minimizing their marketing spend on low-quality or otherwise problematic shoppers.

This doesn’t mean you’re only engaging with the most immediate sales prospects. There’s certainly a nurture cycle in marketing. Personalized marketing shines in the early phases of lead nurturing by maximizing your ability to deliver the right message, at the right time and in the right format to move the prospect through the process to the point where they’re ready to engage with your sales team.

A data-driven focus on true prospects, evolving from a traditional dealership lead model to an analytics-driven predictive model, pays efficiency dividends throughout the dealership, with returns seen far beyond the sales figures. From marketing to sales, to F&I, service and other fixed ops, focusing your resources on the customers who are most likely to turn into profitable relationships and limiting your investment in low-ROI prospects is a long-term boost to your dealership’s efficiency and ultimate profitability.

Build a High-Quality Relationship with High-Quality Leads

Dealers know a satisfied returning customer is the highest-quality lead there is. Before you can sell a car to a customer for the second (or third, or fourth) time, you have to sell one to them the first time. With Mastermind’s predictive analytics and personalized marketing solutions, your team has the sales tools to start delivering a tailored dealership customer experience from the first touch.

By taking a data-driven approach to understanding your customer and their wants and needs and leveraging tools that empower your team to meet these needs, dealerships can maximize the likelihood of an initial sale and form the basis for a long-term relationship. 

Boost Your Dealership Service Drive

The service drive is a fertile area for this kind of data-driven relationship building, and the source of returning customers and profitable conquest opportunities. Service revenues have increased industry-wide as vehicles have gotten older – and financing terms have gotten longer. Predictive marketing doesn’t just work with new vehicle sales, it can also be used to identify both existing customers who are immediate service prospects and potential service-only customer leads in the dealership’s vicinity.

Once customers are in the service drive, Mastermind leverages both public and proprietary data to rank their quality as a sales lead by predicting their likelihood to purchase. This data analysis includes a soft credit pull, which is a critical component of lead quality analysis. Along with vehicle information from CarFax, it can have a fundamental impact on the quality of that service customer’s value as a sales lead. Once a dealership is able to quickly and efficiently turn the best existing and service-only customers into high-quality sales leads, its service drive becomes a delivery mechanism for extremely profitable prospects, right onto the showroom floor.

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

Learn more about dealership marketing and how to capture high-quality leads here

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