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Franchised dealerships 'regularly lose 37% of active sales leads'

Jeremy Evans, Marketing Delivery

Leads that are logged by franchised dealerships as lost or dead are actually active sales leads, according to new research.

The analysis by Marketing Delivery focused on data from its eCRM tools as well as UK-wide consumer research on recent new car owners.

A third (34%) of car buyers received a follow up on their sales enquiry from every dealer they contacted. Nearly one in five (19%) reported that at least half of the dealers failed to contact them following a sales enquiry.

Marketing Delivery found some discrepancies in the reasons given by sales staff for leads to be recorded as ‘lost’, compared with the reasons cited by customers for contact with the dealer to cease.

Aggregating data captured by its automated email lead response tools, Marketing Delivery identified that 44% of customers say a lack of vehicle availability was their main reason for abandoning contact with the dealer.

However, on average, sales staff reference ‘vehicle availability’ as the cause of a lead becoming ‘lost’ in only 3% of cases.

Similarly, customers say that price was the main issue for abandoning contact in a substantial 28% of cases, whereas it accounts for only 6% of the leads recorded by sales staff as ‘lost’.

Dealership records suggest the part-exchange valuation was the critical factor behind a lead becoming ‘lost’ in only 1% of cases, whereas 12% customers say they discontinued contact with the dealer because of disagreement over the part-exchange value.

Low opinion of the salesperson  accounted for 17% of cases – but this response isn’t tracked in any way in dealerships’ own records.

Marketing Deliveries managing director Jeremy Evans (pictured) said: “Although new car demand is faltering, securing volumes of sales enquiries is not a major issue for most franchised dealers.

“However, our research highlights how conversion rates could be improved if dealers ensure follow-ups happen systematically, and if the qualification of sales prospects is more timely and accurate.

“Automation has a key role to play here, and we have seen our own dealer clients use eCRM tools to achieve radical improvements in customer engagement and better exploit the true sales opportunities that exist.”

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