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Ok, here it goes, this is where I try to get some value out of ADM for my employer... Lately I have been on the soap box within ADP trying to get development resources to build an automated software system that would respond to any lead with a VIN or Stock Number associated by sending an email back to the consumer with the price quote based on the rules and parameters set up in the tool, or maybe even the DMS. Anyways, here are my questions... Because i do believe that slogging through multiple leads, doing the same process to send back a proper price quote, and some alternative vehicles is mind numbing and should be streamlined with software! This would free us all up to spend more time on the phone with customers and would prevent late responses when we are tied up on the showroom with customers.

So here are the questions i need answered from people who have done the job of responding to internet Leads:

• Would you be interested in automating lead response emails with a detailed price quote?

• If yes, what level of detail should be included in the quote?
o Local taxes and fees?
o Down payment
o Estimated payments, based on credit score tiers
o Other?

• How accurate does the quote need to be?
o DMS calculated?
o Estimated using local taxes, fees and APR?
o Other?

• What level of interaction would you want to offer your consumer with the quote?
o Customize down payment
o Customize price with trade in
o Select APR \ Credit score
o Offer similar alternative vehicles that are in stock, say 2, 3 or 4 units?
o Other?

Tags: Automated Email, Lead response process, Request For Quote, Response System

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Well this should really be a function of an ILM or CRM system. So you would need to incorporate this in to Buzztrack or ADP's CRM. I guess that is what you are after?

Having a whole separate application that does this would not be very efficient.. thus the problem with Response Logix, Red Numbat and similar solutions. Otherwise the customer is getting emails from 2 different sources and could reply to either one. Just creates a mess if you ask me.
Hey Ralph
I have been in the business of answering and/or training the answer of Internet leads since 1996. I've looked at this question many times over the years, and from every angle possible. I'm going to have to say "it depends". It depends on the lead source. Is it a source that you typically have a high contact rate with? Or does this source just mystery shop you and you never actually have a completed cycle of communication with them? Do you make money on this source? What is your cost per customer vs. your ROI? Is it worth it to save the cost of having a human do the work or are you going to miss opportunities to make car deals because you eliminate the human element? I have to tell you that a big red flag goes up in my head when I think of anyone I've trained implementing such a system because I spend so much time teaching the psychology of the Internet buyer and how to get them into the store in the shortest amount of time. Aside from that "gut reaction", I'll move on with the other factors to consider. I think it depends on your particular organization's philosophy and commitment to the Internet as a revenue stream. Do you have full-service Internet Sales personnel who handle the prospect every step of the way, or is there an appointment setter involved? The answer to this question determines a lot because an appointment setter HAS the time to manually calculate a quote and give that personalized service, where a truly busy Internet "monster" might not. Is your management team involved in your pricing or does the department have autonomy? This is critical - are you going to set up something only to have it undermined by someone in a position of greater authority? How often does your pricing matrix change? How accurate is your DMS? (Sounds like a silly question, but again, I've been with a couple of large dealer groups that still have data problems). I understand where you're coming from - I guess I still come back to the "why" and the "what will I miss"? Truly, how many of your customers buy the car they inquired about first? Could you just send out a generic quote on a median equipped model to test the waters and begin the clarification process? I like automation, but I wouldn't trust a program to communicate with my customer when I feel like I should be doing it. At least as a first or second response. I will be interested to hear what others have to say...
Shannon Page
Hyperdrive Systems
You can already do this sorta thing with Contact Management. Takes a little time but once it's done voila! I still prefer the old fashioned call immediately. Then engage them with question/answer over question/answer to target an appointment funnel then they magically appear in our showroom. Now if you could get a bio scan of the potential customer and have them beamed directly to the sales desk when they submit a lead. I'll be bowing to you in the future.
I am extremely interested in what, how CM can already do this. I'm pretty proficient with CM and I have some extensive reply e-mails. I don't recall seeing coding to build this level of information.
Having been an internet manager (one man operation) this would be priceless.
I'd stay with a quote on the vehicle of interest and 2 alternatives.
I don't believe it needs to include tax and lic nor does payment. It really just buys you a little time to get them on the phone.
Keep 'em coming... By pointing out the problems with similar systems, we can make a better judgment as to whether the design resources would be adequate if those problems are to be built out.

Matt, to your point, the return email address could be the dealer's ILM tool, and of course all emails would be pushed into the dealer's choice of ILM tool as well. We envision something that makes use of inventory data and pricing rules, but supplements the dealer's CRM/ILM tool, whatever it is.
Good ILM/CRM tools know if the person inquired on a specific stock # in inventory or if it was a generic "new Ford Focus" vehicle lead. They allow different auto responses and follow up processes based on this and based on lead source.
@Ralph, so does the ILM or this additional tool decide who the salesperson is? How do you keep the two in sync so it comes from the proper salesperson? Lead assignment rules to the proper salesperson can be very complicated.

You could use a different REPLY TO email address, but the FROM address couldn't be the same as the normal ILM. It probably wouldn't pass SPAM checking.

How would you keep email UNSUBSCRIBEs in sync between the two?

Of course you also have to worry about OEM certifications and being able to get copies of those leads in this secondary tool. A lot of OEM leads are not sent via email and therefore can't simply be emailed to two places.
I think some additional tools to aid in providing our customers more relevant, targeted information would be welcome, but personally, some of the items you've outlined Ralph seem a bit like overkill. I'm all about efficiency. I like well orchestrated plans and streamlined systems, but there is an added factor that I find vital to the whole process and that is real human interaction. Really, the automated response should serve as an introduction and notify the customer that their request for information has been heard. It's the equivalent of putting a caller on hold and letting them know you are transferring them to the right department. Basic dealership information or even a personal note from the assigned sales person if your CRM permits is sufficient, and can have added complexity if it offers additional communication with the dealership,i.e. click to chat, etc. That autoresponse, however, should be immediately followed up by the assigned sales person with a call or personal email ideally within minutes of the initial lead. That's where the details of the quote come to bare.

All that being said, there is room for added automation in the process. A VIN decoder that could suggest similar vehicles in stock would be a great addition to any CRM tool, possibly in the autoresponse to the initial lead, or perhaps better placed in a 3-day or 5-day follow up email. Likewise, it could be used to show similar vehicles of relevance to past customers by utilizing this in a CRM email campaign. The more I look at it, we use our CRM's automated processes more for customer retention than initial communication. Maybe that's the ticket right there and focus additional tools in this area.
"Likewise, it could be used to show similar vehicles of relevance to past customers by utilizing this in a CRM email campaign. The more I look at it, we use our CRM's automated processes more for customer retention than initial communication. Maybe that's the ticket right there and focus additional tools in this area."

Ryan, sending similar vehicles is very powerful in long term follow up. If you are sending the customer an email every couple weeks your inventory will continue to change. So the similar vehicles to the one they originally inquired upon will continue to change.

Matt Watson
Good topic Ralph , however it make not work as auto responses since content or incoming leads can be vary.
Another word all inquiries must come in unified format. Is it possible?
Internet leads are all transmitted electronically in the ADF or STAR formats which are XML based. So there are unified formats.


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