Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
Alex Andreus started a series of fascinating social media triggered events by creating an ADM Forum discussion titled "Need to Boost my internet and BDC departments" which he posted on March 20, 2010. The Question Alex posed was that he was seeking information on who would be the best Automotive Digital Marketing Consultant available to serve his Brickell Honda dealership in South Florida. Alex's Forum Discussion set off a flurry of over 165 responses, comments, debates and discussions in the first 48 hours...Eddie Coleman moderating with a timer on display for each consultant's allotted turn to answer...
Culminating on Thursday March 25th with one of the most unique and virtually spontaneous "Webinars" I have ever witnessed... A virtual "Battle of the Bands" among several of the ADM Community's leading Digital Marketing Consultants who each answered the same questions with
And big kudos goes out to all those who attended and were involved in coming together for an ADM "Meetup" webinar that was enlightening and a learning experience for all... Well done, I say... Well done!
One of the tools that was used to supply the participating DMC's to become familiar with Brickell Honda's current state of eBusiness Operations was a very detailed and thorough document that requires over 17 pages of data entry and written descriptions of every nuance of eBusiness strategy, process, tactics, tools and resources in operation, or not, in the dealership... Several people have asked for these documents, so I am attaching them to the bottom of this ADM Forum discussion since they are buried in the middle of over 165 comments and responses to Alex's original Forum post...
The reason I started creating this questionnaire tool was that several car companies I was working with about 8 years ago made it very, very clear to me about the nature of the difference between a "Trainer" and a "Consultant"... About $1,000 a day in pay!!! This Digital Marketing Dealer Assessment Questionnaire was created so that the team of consultants I was responsible for would NOT drift into the ways of a "Trainer". Besides compensation, here are a few consulting versus training principles:
1A. Training focuses on the repetition of a process so that process becomes habit
1B. Consulting focuses on conceiving, designing, implementing, testing and measuring a process so that it is optimized for the specific situation, and the specific conditions of the dealership being consulted so that it is efficient, easy to train people to do and will stick.
2A. Training can be achieved in a variety of ways making it very flexible and at times economical to acquire. Training can be packaged into books, manuals, CD's, DVD's, USB's, web based and countless other communication mediums. Training can be either leader led or self-paced and self-accessed from a library of resources. Once a sound training course is developed, it can be reused and re-purposed for a long period of time.
2B. Retail automotive digital marketing Consulting requires the interaction between the consultant(s) and the people in the client's workplace while they are executing the various duties, roles and responsibilities of their workplace. The consultant must identify and engage the key people in each dealership that are vitally important, and often times overlooked when it comes to identifying the limitations imposed by the dealership's current setup of people, process, technology, strategy, tactics and leadership. A consultant will engage many different people who work throughout various segments of the eBusiness operations, as well as ancillary yet related or supporting business processes, such as F&I, Inventory Management, IT, Sales Management, showroom reception processes, desk and traffic logs, accessory and aftermarket sales teams, etc.
3A. Training is regimented, detailed in its execution and process steps and duplicated with intentional redundancy on an infinite basis... It is not to be deviated, modified or skipped, the steps for completing a training course are linear and start at a defined beginning, leading a precisely dictated path to a conclusion and the testing required to ensure that the exact steps to the processes being trained have been memorized and can be regurgitated by the learners on command.
3B. Consulting involves several phases which have many facets within each of them, with not every facet being brought into service at every dealership. There is an assessment phase which is much like the initial exam that a physician would apply when first seeing a patient. Questions are asked, notes are taken, measurements are recorded and a chart is created to capture a snapshot of the patient's current status and well being or state of distress, whichever the case may be. Like a physician, a good consultant will not prescribe and therapy, medication or treatments until he/she has completed an adequate assessment of the dealership's current state of eBusiness Operational Competency and has a complete knowledge of the tools, resources and constraints for that specific dealership. When the assessment is complete, modifications to, or creation of a Digital Marketing and Sales Strategy that is complete, understood and adopted by the dealership's management team, and which will serve as the foundation for the creation of a tactical blueprint for implementation, monitoring, optimizing, planning continuous improvement as a process and defining the key principles which will support the dealership's business objectives.
4A. Training does not provide customized scenarios, create new processes, nor does it involve the "Gestalt" of the mastermind that happens when meetings of key people in the dealership are facilitated in a skilled manner designed to create something new and unique to that dealership... Training is prepackaged and one size for each size fits all dealerships!
4B. The consulting process requires the "Gestalt" of creative mind mapping and the forging of strength from healthy debates and the realizations that come from information being expunged from people's minds during passionate discussions of current processes and the futility of systems that are not being utilized, but are available, as one example... With the consulting process, the outcome is born from the parentage of the dealership's key thought and organization leaders... It is tailored to the specific conditions, location, resources, customs and practices for each dealership. The outcome is in the form of documents, or manuscripts that chart and identify the dealership's strategy and tactics, who does what and where responsibilities and accountability are now placed, and these documents bear the marks of each person whose opinions and passionate support matter in that dealership.
I am attaching an "Automotive Digital Marketing eBusiness Assessment" Questionnaire with process scoring system, along with a couple other docs that I helped develop with Gerard Harrington at AHM and which have been updated periodically. You should provide the eBusiness Assessment Questionnaire to whoever you go with as an Internet Consultant as his/her first assignment... To complete the document and give completed version back
to you along with their initial recommendations.
NOTE: It is important to remember that any Internet Consultant who gives you process or technology implementation recommendations to support the dealership's strategies should also be willing to provide you with a "Tactical Blueprint" document that details the step by step instructions for executing the recommended action items. This will usually require additional billable consulting time and reasonable fees reflecting the consultant's additional time invested in preparing a tactical blueprint that is specific to your store's current situation, people and resources.
@ Everyone - Some of you may complain that there is too much detail and minutia in the "Dealer eBusiness Assessment" Document I have attached for Alex's use... My response is that putting yourself in the place of a dealer paying an expert to come into his dealership for a fee of between $1,800 and $2,400 per day; What level of detail, or lack of detail, would YOU consider acceptable?