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I have a question for ADM Members.  A dealer group is considering creating a centralized BDC from scratch.  

The stores in the group currently get 5,000 lead form submissions a month combined from their websites.

The phone calls that are on digital advertising (SEM and Display) will come to the BDC but regular phone calls will go to the stores. 

They want the BDC to set appointments for the stores.  The stores will then take over the leads, once an appointment is set.  The BDC will inspect any leads that were handed off that did not get the proper follow-up calls or emails.

How many BDC agents would you recommend this centralized project hires per shift?

I've asked a number of people and the answers I have been getting has varied greatly, so this is one of the great reasons why ADM works for collaboration, so what say you?

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A good BDC agent can handle 200-250 leads per month effectively and maintain a 15% closing ratio so you would need between 20-25 reps.  Any less than that and you risk having your closing percentage drop to below 15%.  I always use the following metrics as a guide:

Lead to Set - 33%

Set to Show - 67%

Show to Sale - 67%

Overall Closing - 15%

I don't understand why they would have the regular calls go to the store.  BDC agents develop specialized training for setting appointments that salespeople simply don't have on the floor.  In addition, you run into the issue of the floor salespeople not getting all of the customers information and trying to sell the car rather than the appointment.  The best results come when there is a sales manager liason in each store whose job is to get the BDC the information they need in a timely manner. 

I strongly agree with Mike Warwick on the number of Agents that he believes would properly handle the expected volume of leads.  More than that; Mike is totally correct that setting a percentage of inquiries to go direct to the Dealership is not a good decision.  If you are smart enough to set-up and manage an efficient BDC, why on earth would you circumvent the BDC by sending perfectly good Leads to the Dealership?  "The Dealership sells cars....................The BDC sets appointments and provides the opportunities for the Dealership SALES STAFF!!!!"


Yes, the BDC should handle all calls eventually but in the beginning the dealership does not want to turn all calls on to the BDC.  Thank you for your recommendations, since I know you run a tight ship!

I understand, they need to crawl first.  They may want to start with a few stores, get their processes down and build from there.  I can't imagine trying to hire and train 20-25 agents at once, I'm getting an upset stomach just thinking about it.  This is a huge project that is going to take a lot of patience, planning and total buy-in from the stores to pull off successfully. 

Brian, I have to agree with Mike you will run into some confusion if you don't have all leads and calls going to the same place. When we did this in Galveston in the early 90's and here in Houston in now the same issues occurred. 


Lead in > email out > Follow up phone call > customer ends up calling the store directly talking with a salesperson & working the 2 against one another. It won’t be the majority of leads that follow this process but it will be enough to make the process seem unorganized and frustrating for all involved. 


There needs to be one point of contact for all stores might as well jump in with both feet start that right off the bat.


The second big bottle neck will be the process of updating the record in the CRM app. If the BDC is going to take over visit follow up then detail information is imperative, however details are not what us cars sales guys are known for so this will be an on going battle one that the management of each store needs to understand will never be over just live with it and continue to monitor and manage that process. 


Finally be prepared to manage the process of swapping cars among stores and GM's fighting over where the profit should go. If you're not your BDC will be undermined by the GM's that are working in the stores and vehicles will be told to the BDC they are sold when  they are not Etc. This works best when the profit stays at the store that had the car regardless of what salesperson sell the car.


This will not be a 1 to 1 to 1 thing, in other words 1 lead to 1 car at 1 dealership. It's never that clean. 


If a customer starts working a deal with one salesperson and the BDC takes over and brings that customer back on a car not at that store you will have to keep the customer with that sales person or the sales staff we revolt against  the process. 


Hope that helps, 

Thank you Larry and Mike for your specific advice for this dealer group.  This is what makes ADM great, an instant feedback loop from people with experience!


I have some ideas on this as well... but first: How many dealerships are in the group?



I saw everyones posts so I think you have a pretty good idea on how many people you will need.  I used to be a BDC manager.  I would tell you that the most important part of BDC is being the first person to reach out to the customer.  If you get an e-mail lead, send the welcome e-mail at the same time you are dialing their number. 


The other part I would stress is you can use a script to help your people with phone ups, however don't make it to short and to the point because you want the customer to feel like you care about them, otherwise you are just another dealership they have called.  When you talk to the customer a little longer it makes them feel comfortable coming in and asking for the person they had spoke with.  I have a few things I could share with you if you would like. 


Good Luck!

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