As inventory shortages prompt more customers to shop for vehicles online, modern dealership BDCs of all sizes have undergone a transformation from cold call centers to conduits to the showroom floor. Amid rapid digitalization and greatly diminished loyalty rates, now is the time to revisit your BDC and consider whether you have the right BDC tools, automotive training, and pay plans in place to maximize effectiveness for your business.
We’ve discussed previously how to increase dealership BDC effectiveness; however, amid inventory shortages, there’s still a lot that dealerships can do to improve this increasingly critical component of their sales processes, including:
- Giving your BDC necessary tools and insights 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 pay plans 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 needed to differentiate a quality sales lead from a weak one and 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 follow-up questions to customers who aren’t interested yet — or worse, who are already out-of-market?
Comprehensive sales platforms like Mastermind empower the BDC to go past cold-calling with a data-driven approach. With insights, such as household and vehicle ownership information for online shoppers in front of them, BDC agents can be more effective than ever. Agents can customize touchpoints and BDC sales scripts to effectively engage prospects and move them toward scheduling an appointment.
That said, it’s important to differentiate between “data” and “insights” when it comes to information. It’s not enough to only make sure your BDC agents have bullet-point notes about your prospects. Instead of waiting for signals that a prospective customer is in-market, BDCs need to proactively engage customers.
To “get ahead” of today’s digitally savvy shoppers, teams need analytics-driven insights that help target buyers returning to market with personalized messaging that taps into what matters most to each customer. 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. They can utilize the factors that motivate each buyer’s purchasing decisions, improving lead quality and leading to a better overall customer experience, thanks to the BDC.
Training Your BDC to Deliver
Automotive BDC training involves more than simply running each member through a few BDC training scripts and role playing about common customer interactions. More than anything, your dealership’s BDC training should focus 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 for BDC agents to understand how predictive analytics and personalized marketing work. This engages prospects with the goal of connecting them to your dealership’s online resources — and eventually getting them into your store or connected with your sales team.
Mastermind offers automotive BDC dealership training that prepares BDC agents to play a seamless and effective role in the dealership’s customer experience. Whether the interaction is online, in-person or a combination, the agent will learn 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 drivers of customer satisfaction in the dealership experience. Ensuring the very first customer touchpoint is exceptional helps set the stage for a great buying experience at your dealership.
The better the automotive sales process moves online, the more your BDC agents will fulfill 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? Does this align with your sales team’s compensation structure to encourage them to all work together effectively? A common approach at successful dealerships with effective and profitable BDCs is the differentiation between a BDC-scheduled appointment (that has a specific time and date attached) and every other appointment.
From here, dealers are challenged with determining how to allocate floor sales commissions for 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, paying close attention to reporting and regulating. Challenge managers to determine how to allocate sales commissions on BDC sales through scheduled appointments, as well as any other generated customer movement specific to your dealership.
To determine what an appropriate factor would be in your dealership, look at what your existing closure rate is for all in-person sales appointments. If your salespeople are already closing appointments at 50% or more, then half of 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, even if that means the customer didn’t have a scheduled appointment to visit.
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, then they’ll likely:
- Strive to continuously developing prospects
- Maintain long-term customer relationships
- Maximize sales and pre-owned acquisition efforts
- Promote customer retention efforts
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.
Want to learn how Mastermind can help equip your BDC team for success? Contact us.