Every day, dealers are tasked with managing hundreds of active customers who all have unique needs and circumstances. As a result, sales teams are left juggling these relationships, guessing how to prioritize customers and, ultimately, not converting as many potential customers to deals. After all, if each customer is equally important, where do you start?
According to Salesforce.com, a sales lead requires six to eight quality touches to generate and convert into a viable opportunity. Additionally, shoppers are armed with savvy digital skills and the willingness to conduct hours of independent online research. On average, auto shoppers turn to 24 different research touch points prior to buying a car. The heavy assortment of communication options and research tools consumers have at their fingertips has put them in control of the sales cycle. This kind of disruption makes human-to-human relationships critical to success in the sales process.
Why Do Sales Teams Fail to Convert?
Ask yourself, “What are some of the reasons causing my reps to fail to convert their leads?” Some of these reasons may include a lack of time, an inability to prioritize, a lack of engagement, turnover or organizational challenges. Research shows that the car-buying cycle hovers around 180 days. The effort and organization required to build a relationship for six or more months is complicated.
The challenge is clear. Sales teams are struggling to create quality, personalized and timely touches for each customer. Each individual customer requires hours and hours of attention, education and nurturing to pull them deep into the funnel and close the deal. But how should a sales team prioritize their growing list of customers while at the same time trying to avoid letting customers fall through the cracks? Unfortunately, the popular “best guess” philosophy is not driven by data or factual information. The bottom line is, who or what will keep customer relationships alive when humans fail to do it?
“When it comes to customer relationship management, the question isn’t ‘Who is going to buy a car next?’ The real question is, ‘Who needs to be contacted next,’” said Casey Copeland, VP of operations at Jay Wolfe Automotive Group.
Can More Valuable Touches Build Relationships and Create Loyalty?
If customers are controlling the sales cycle, then we should arm our sales teams with the right tools to prioritize and deepen the customer relationship in the most efficient and effective way possible.
The better the experience and the more valuable each of these touch points are to the consumer, the more prepared they’ll be to make a buying decision and the more likely they are to convert to a paying customer.
Top dealers are leveraging a “one-size-fits-all” approach due to the follow-up challenges they face with human error. By developing a personalized workflow for each customer, customer satisfaction drives a deeper customer relationship and improves customer loyalty. Customers are more likely to respond to a sales follow-up message if it is received at the most convenient time of the day and through the most ideal communication channel for them (i.e. email, call or text).
“How we contact our customers is changing,” Copeland said. “With the right CRM, this gives us the ability to communicate with our customers in ways they actually like.”
Make it easy for your sales teams to prioritize the customers, spend less time sending messages and more time closing deals by following these five tips to prioritize and build customer relationships:
1. Prioritize Your Customers — Establish a specific set of requirements for prioritizing customers on a daily basis. This could mean contacting everyone who hasn’t been contacted in 30 days or communicating an oil change special to specific customers who haven’t been in service for more than nine months.
2. Reduce Manual Labor by Adding Automation — Reduce the workload for your sales team by automatically communicating with customers via email and text at the same time. Maintain quality records and feedback for each customer touch point.
3. Personalize the Consumer Journey — Personalize your communication outreach by focusing on each individual customer relationship. Call, text or email at the right time, every time. Establish ways for dealers to get their message to the customer in the most responsive channel possible and be able to connect directly with the customer once they respond.
4. Enable Predictive Marketing Tools — Minimize guesswork and avoid losing sales due to lack of prioritization. Establish automatic procedures to recall abandoned customers and/or reconnect with past customers to pull customers back into the sales funnel.
5. Drive Results — Build, customize and define a priority list that achieves high-converting results for your team. After all, you cannot manage what you cannot measure.
Stay tuned for future articles that focus on prioritizing, connecting, personalizing and building loyalty to create a new relationship with your customers.