What do you do with your unsold online leads?

Just closing leads is a deadly sin!

I see them every day and you know it too: leads that are closed with reasons like ‘dot’ (you have to fill in something), ‘not applicable’, ‘no interest’, ‘postpone the purchase’ or ‘buy at another dealer’. The big question is what you can do as sales manager or marketer with this kind of reasons to write off leads. The answer is simple: nothing at all. However, if you want to become better as a company in the follow-up of online leads, we have to get rid of the reluctance to close leads.

You do not close a lead until there is a fixed reason. That non-commitment must be removed, especially if you hold your sellers responsible for the potential rather than the objective. If a seller has received 100 online leads (first, second and third line leads), then I expect at least thirteen sales as a sales manager. And even if the seller has achieved his target, if there is more, I want and expect more.

The marketer
Now suppose you are an automotive marketer and you invest money in marketing campaigns that generate leads. Those leads all have a cost price of € 15, – on average. You know that this amount is a market-based investment, but you are held responsible for the sales, or lack of sales. To see why leads do not convert from campaign X, you make an analysis of the data. Then you see checkout reasons as described above. What can you do with it? Nothing. You need more data to draw conclusions about whether or not to use your marketing campaign. Were you too early? Did you focus on the wrong brand? A ‘no interest’ simply does not cover it. In practice, the sales manager will ask his marketing colleague to provide better leads, while the data you need to work with to determine the success of the campaign says nothing about the quality of the leads. Let alone that it becomes clear which way you should go to achieve a higher conversion.

The sales manager
The sales manager will therefore have to act differently. He is ‘the last line of defense’. He ultimately determines whether the lead is closed and the investment in money and time does not result in a sale. If the sales manager accepts that leads are closed after one or two calls, that ‘no interest’ is included in the CRM without follow-up steps and there are any leads that should have already been followed up, then you are not a real sales manager. Then it is only for the decoration on your business card.
A real sales manager is ultimately responsible for at least thirteen percent conversion on 100 leads to a sale. Your salespeople are not successful? Then the cause lies with the sales manager and not with marketing. If the write-off is that they are not able to reach the lead and you only see one (indeed, 1, yes) contact attempt in the CRM and you think that’s fine, you will not be successful in following up online leads, unless you want to become the cheapest. Then the market comes to you and you can stick to the reason that the customer will contact you after you have called once. Besides that, there is no other reason to think why one call would be enough to write off a lead.

Reasons to write them off
There are, of course, legitimate reasons to write them off. Thirteen percent conversion on 100 leads means that 87 leads do not buy. How do you deal with that? How do you make it clear that the investment was not always worthless? You need data. Data with which the marketer can make decisions for the future.

Make sure that when the seller chooses to write off a lead, that he does this for a clear reason, so no open fields where just everything could be filled in. For example: a customer from your zip code area who buys your brand, but closes the deal with a dealer a hundred miles away because his company is located there. What are you filling in? ‘Own brand, other dealer’ and that’s it, or ‘own brand, own zip code, other dealer’? That write-off should be the trigger for marketing to develop an aftersales campaign directly on this account so that the customer enters the DMS and makes his first maintenance appointment with you, instead of the other dealer.

Proactively working with the customers, instead of waiting for that customer to come by itself. We know that customers often stay where they are, because they feel embarrassed to leave. They need a little push and you have to give that little push.
The list below contains a number of reasons to write off that work well in practice. Use them, adjust them and provide follow-up actions to sales and marketing. Make clear what the next step should be if the conversion does not come right away. Only then will you become better, only then will you get good scores on your marketing efforts.

  • Drop Pollution Missed (BDC) – Missed – Test / Bug
  • Drop Pollution Missed (BDC) – Missed – Double lead
  • Drop Pollution Rejected (BDC) – Rejected – Phone number is missing
  • Drop Pollution Rejected (BDC) – Rejected – Not intended for BDC
  • Drop Not Achieved Rejected (BDC) – Rejected – Personal data incorrect
  • Drop Not reached Declined (BDC) – Rejected – Not reached after maximum number of call attempts
  • Drop Not reached Missed (BDC) – Missed – Refusal call
  • No Interests (BDC) – Missed – Has already bought another car
  • No Interests (BDC) – Missed – Only looking for trade-in value
  • No Interests (BDC) – Missed – Preference for another car
  • No Interests (BDC) – Missed – Has already contacted the dealer
  • No Interests (BDC) – Missed – Customer only wants to visit the dealer on his own initiative
  • No Interests (BDC) – Missed – Does not want to be called anymore
  • No Interests (BDC) – Successful – No conversion / Follow-up required
  • Sale Conversion Successful (BDC) – Appointment showroom
  • Sale Conversion Successful (BDC) – Appointment test drive
  • Sale Conversion Successful (BDC) – Quotation request

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