Why the online marketeer in automotive hates it!

Just a little while longer and there won’t be any marketeers left…

I speak to a lot of online markeeters in the automotive industry. Most of them are tired of hearing the excuses and the panic in the sales department at the end of every month. Too many sales managers don’t understand their own role and those of the marketer. Why is that? There is still no campaign invented that makes sure that leads immediately ask where to sign the order. Leads are still ‘just’ opportunities, and not orders. The marketeer knows that. The sales manager, and everyone else in sales, always seems to forget that.

The marketeer has just one job and that is taking care of opportunities. If there are opportunities – and yes there is a difference in quality – then it is the task, the responsibility of the sales manager to achieve a decent conversion. At least 13% is the base. That percentage is certainly not the final goal. If sales do not make this percentage, it is by definition the fault, the responsibility, of sales and not marketing or the quality of the campaigns..

Turn the buttons
That requires explanation. As a marketeer, you outline a line on the basis of an annual plan. While doing so, you take stock, sales targets (new and used), introductions of new models and your ambition into account. You calculate how many online leads are needed, taking a conversion of at least 13% into account, as you also know how many telephone leads you need (22% conversion), how many referrals there are (recurring customers) and how many spontaneous customers come in. To get to the right numbers, you take the quarters (with the holidays) into account and you get to work, with everything that you have come up with. You consistently turn the buttons to get the best result in terms of visitors / leads and of course you do not forget the budget. Everything must also be affordable, now and in the future.

Sales versus marketing
At the end of the year, the sales manager receives the plan for the following year. Will he be able to achieve his goals with that plan? Have the stock and model introductions been taken into account? Is there a healthy ambition? If so, then it stops here for the sales manager. He is only responsible for the conversion of leads to sales. How does he achieve that conversion? What is his process with online leads? With call leads? With walk ins? Is it on the basis of coincidence, or is it based on a fixed pattern? How often will you call the leads? Twice? Four times? When do the sellers label the leads as ‘not reached’? When can they give up? What are the conversions on ‘achieved’, ‘appointment’, ‘quotation’ and ‘sale’? What is the purpose of the incoming call? Is the purpose to answer a question or to make an appointment? And how many appointments do you make?

Many questions that lead to the same conclusion: as a marketeer it is fatal to have a sales manager facing you, who is panicking at the end of the month because the numbers aren’t met and therefore a DM needs to be send right away or a promotion website must be launched. And all that while the markeeter sees every day what is being done with the existing leads. That sales manager – and he is not the only one – is too much looking for that penalty without a goalkeeper. We all need to learn to score from outside the sixteen, with a goalkeeper standing right there..

The marketeer sets the conversions
The marketeer knows exactly what his conversions are. How many visitors are needed for an application, how much do these leads cost? On the basis of this, the marketeer can also determine the sales conversions to be able to justify the marketing investment. On a first line lead (via importer or own website) that is 20%, on a second line lead (Marktplaats, Autotrack, etc.) that is 15%. On DM campaigns on passive leads, the conversion is 5%. At the moment campaign X starts running, the sales manager should only get his target for the conversion from lead to sale. Is his result ultimately lower than the target? Let the sales manager explain what he has done with all those opportunities. What was the process? The script? Will you get nothing but a comment about the poor quality of the leads and that it is therefore not possible to meet the numbers? Then you will never achieve a constant sales level with the same number of opportunities. Then you always have to look for that lead that asks where to sign.. and that lead doesn’t exist!

I am writing this after I have been called three times by different marketeers of different brands, who have experiences as described above. They are disappointed and are tired of being blamed for disappointing sales all the time. Let’s clarify how it works between sales and marketing, once and for all: sellers need to turn a customer’s interest into an opportunity, the marketeer needs to generate interest.

About Paul de Vries
Paul (1972) starts his career as service station attendant and developed himself from car salesman to co-owner of a dealer company. In this company, Paul learned early on that online automotive has the future, so he started selling cars online.
In the meantime, besides his work for Marktplaats, Paul is very busy. With #DCDW he offers different services to car companies, such as Call Track Manager, the virtual BDC and Calldrip, and he provides seminars, training courses, workshops and presentations to improve lead follow-up and online automotive in the Netherlands.

Paul de Vries weekly presents an interesting podcast with guests from home and abroad. Recently his second book, ‘Follow-up: meer succes als digitaal autobedrijf’, appeared as the sequel to the successful book ‘Lead the Way op de digitale snelweg’.

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Shareholder of Carmen Automotive BDC