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I took over the Internet Department of a small Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership in January.  When I came aboard, the store was selling 60-65 units a month with no BDC.  We created a BDC and I hired two experienced reps.  May was the third month in a row that we finished with over 100 units.  Our business is growing and the lead volume is becoming a bit overwhelming for my two reps.  They are currently working about 250 leads and 200 inbound phone calls a piece each month.  I've tried to keep their lead volume within reason but it's starting to get out of hand.  My question is this - what metrics should we use as benchmarks to determine when it is time to expand and bring on more staff? 

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Mike - You KNOW you need another CSR!!! 200+ leads per CSR per month means that at a 20% sales rate, they would have to contact 480 customers a month with a 90 day followup schedule, plus the new 200 leads means they would have to try and contact 680 customers a month... Yeesh... Strong like Bull can't handle that workload... Which means you aren't running a BDC at that point, your simply operating a new lead response team.

Add up all your new leads for the store each month, including inbound phone calls, then add in the followup that carries forward, then add in the number of existing customers in your database that reach a point in the ownership cycle you want to contact them in an average month... Once you have a total number of outbound phone calls, personalized emails, handling of inbound calls, followup and contacts of every kind you want to execute in your BDC... Then...

Track how many calls your BDC peeps make, emails they send, inbound calls they handle between the two of them each day of the week. When you get enough days tracked you feel comfortable with the numbers, divide by the total days tracked, cut in half and that is how many customer contacts each rep can handle on a work day.

Go back to your total customer contacts that you WANT to handle, divide by the average number each CSR can handle in a day... Voila, that's how many people you need on an average day... Of course, you gotta factor in days off, vacations, people quitting cayuse you make 'em work so damn hard, etc.

Is the number too big? Go back to the total customer contacts you mapped out that you WANTED to handle, and figure out which ones you are willing to give up... Who do we not want to sell? Once you cut those out, then divide by the number of daily contacts each CSR can handle to get your new capacity planning requirements.

There are some spreadsheets in ADM that make all those calculations easier than by freehand... I'm just old school and prefer to use a pen and paper.... Not really! Just fooling with you!

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Thank you Uncle Ralph! As usual your information and accompanying documentation are exactly what I need to put together my proposal for additional staffing. You the man!
Wow Ralph, I was going to weigh in on this but honestly nothing more can be said after that! Mike, you most definitely came to the right place to ask that question!
Hi David,

Please chime in because I am looking for all perspectives. I know the industry "recommendation" is to have reps working no more than 150-175 leads a month but with the new philosophy of the car business of doing more with less and running lean and mean, I'm wondering if there are people doing an effective job of pushing the envelope. Obviously, there is a point of diminishing returns but I want to be sure that we expand at the correct pace. We're always trying to walk that fine line between being productive while making sure that we don't have excess capacity as well as excess overhead.
Ralph gave you some really good metrics that I totally agree with, not sure if I could add to that but I will say that some BDR's can handle more than others, it just depends on what kind of training they are receiving and the determination they have.

I'm a huge proponent of consistent training. So, before you hire anybody make sure that the two you have are at the top of their game and consistently producing. The reason for this is because when you DO hire somebody they will be coming in to a BDC that's doing everything right. You want the new hire to be able to jump right in there, get the training they need and see first hand what is that they should be doing. Of course the first two will serve as a benchmark, if they are performing that is.

Something I learned from running and training BDC's is that when you hire make sure that everybody in the BDC is behind the new hire. You will find out quickly when you have a BDR that is cherry picking that they will try and sabotage a new hire because they will have to share new leads and start working older leads, which of course they don't want to do because that's the reason why they are cherry picking in the first place.

I've seen many good prospects be run off because the team dynamic just wasn't there. The best way to build your team is by focusing on the individual. As the old saying goes a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link... so make sure you don't have a weak link.
I absolutely agree with the path Ralph is taking here on the number of leads one person can handle - however when I hear the term "BDC" I shutter a little bit and go back to looking for the calendar on the wall that says 1987! I even think the term "internet dept." is outdated - I mean internet = advertising - so do you have a TV dept.? A Newspaper dept.? No, it is a sales department. There's nothing worse, from a customer perspective, to meet someone, walk thru the whole qualification process over the phone or online and then when you show up to the store you're pushed over to some seller who is almost always going to start back over at step 1 - the last thing they want to hear is "So, what brought you in today?"

This said, there are ways to maximize efficiency when your whole sales floor can't be trusted to follow up with email. The CRM process should be able to help that, but unfortunately that technology is too rigid to really take over the process. Either way, you need your sales people to be selling, and every salary in your store should be a sales person. One thing you might look into is a technology called ResponseLogix. It is a technology that takes over the quoting process and follow up process of every email, phone and walk in customer, leaving your team to focus on what will bring the most sales to your dealership. Look it up before you hire, you may be able to save some money on salaries and STILL increase your closing ratio and gross.
With those metrics, I would need 5 - 7 reps. The overhead would crush the BDC budget. Is there anyone out there having reps handle this level of leads and finding that the ROI works?
Thanks Nick, my reps only handle inbound calls, emails and follow-up. No direct selling.

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