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How to Reimagine the Dealership BDC

Dealership business development centers, also known as BDCs, have long been the topic of debate at many auto dealerships. But, never has the topic been more relevant than now. 

As consumers rapidly adopt digital retailing options and choose to complete more of their transactions online, modern dealership BDCs have undergone a transformation from cold call centers to conduits to the showroom floor. From breaking down the barriers between service and sales to serving as the driver for ditching third-party leads, proactive dealerships are tasking their BDC to predict buying behaviors as opposed to just reacting to them.

With increasingly thin margins pressing dealers to “do more with less,” a dedicated BDC may seem unnecessary or out-of-reach for some. But by taking a data-driven approach to strategizing, structuring and staffing, dealerships are empowered to maximize the efficiency and efficacy of their BDC. 

In this blog post, we will answer two increasingly common questions about BDCs we hear from dealership leaders: 

  • Why do we need a BDC at my dealership?
  • How do I maximize the sales output through my BDC?

Does Your Dealership Need a BDC?

By now, many dealers have realized the critical importance of offering digital retailing options. Of consumers who bought a new vehicle at the peak of the pandemic, 61% purchased at least partially, if not fully, online, according to IHS Markit. Even more telling: Regardless of whether consumers purchased online or in the dealership, “ease or convenience” was the primary reason buyers cited as driving their choice. 

The dealership BDC offers a natural solution for auto dealers to bridge the gap between their online and in-store experiences. Instead of simply taking notes on a customer before handing them off to sales, when equipped with the right information, technology and training, a BDC can set the stage for a seamless and excellent customer experience, plus a simplified buyer’s journey.  

Simply put, dedicating members of your staff separate from the rest of the sales team allows the BDC to focus on your dealership’s digital connections while your in-person sales team does what they do best. As a result, a well-run BDC has the power to improve the overall engagement of your customers, leading to higher loyalty rates and ROIs. 

How To Maximize Sales with a BDC?

While BDC best practices certainly exist, ultimately, it’s critical dealers determine their unique needs, opportunities and challenges to dictate their strategy – as well as ensure they have the staffing, tools, training and technology to deliver. This starts with your dealership’s BDC team. 

Hire the Right People

To create an effective BDC, you must first assess whether your current employees fit your digital-first mentality or if they possess the necessary skills for success. Soft skills, such as sincere empathy, conversational attentiveness and emotional intelligence are just a few crucial traits your BDC team should express. 

Analyze your current team and their skillsets to determine if any new hires are needed for your BDC to reach its potential. Look for highly trainable recruits who are excited and capable of growing – not just people with BDC experience. With many industries still recovering from the pandemic, dealers are presented an opportunity to expand their recruiting efforts to outside industries and connect with new talent pools who potentially hadn’t considered working for a car dealership previously. 

Invest in Quality Tools & BDC Training

When armed with the right tools, technology and training, your dealership BDC can move past cold-calling and begin building high-quality customer relationships from that very first touchpoint. 

For instance, your BDC may already be tapped into your dealership’s CRM. But when these insights are analyzed using dealership marketing tools powered by behavior prediction technology and layered with additional factors and considerations, such as a person’s career or identifying growing families currently driving vehicles too small for their situation, new opportunities emerge. 

This empowers your BDC to personalize its approach by tapping into factors that motivate each prospect’s purchase decisions, generating higher quality leads and a better overall customer experience by meeting customers where they are in their buyer journey

Remain Proactive in Your BDC Strategy

Staying ahead of your customers has never been more important. According to research from Google, 74% of purchasers do not submit an online lead action – up from 68% in 2015. 

Your BDC needs to take a proactive approach to get ahead of customers and reach them before they begin shopping around. This means ensuring your BDC is equipped with the right information to proactively identify customers who are likely to be ready to buy, even if they don’t submit a form.

Instead of manually sifting through datasets to try and identify pre-purchasing behaviors, advanced marketing tools allow your BDC to automatically analyze data from their DMS, CRM, sales platform and other datasets to identify prospective buyers before they begin shopping around. Dealers who take this approach by leveraging Market EyeQ report gaining up to 15 incremental conquest sales per month. 

While it’s long been the topic of debate, as shoppers increasingly look to digital platforms at every step of their buyer journey (including vehicle research, virtual test drives or even scheduling service visits), the dealership’s BDC has only grown more important. By taking a data-driven approach, dealers can reimagine and maximize the impact of their BDC to offer the experiences today’s buyers want. 

If you’re interested in learning how Market EyeQ can help maximize your dealership’s BDC, contact us for a free demonstration.