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Routing leads can be a difficult process due to the complexities and differences between dealerships.

If you have a traditional round robin system, where each sales person gets an equal number of leads, the best way would be to cycle leads to the people who are working that day. However, you may run into problems if the person is busy working a deal or if he takes an abnormally long lunch. Then that lead can sit in the queue waiting for a response.

You can also route specific leads to specific people.

If you have a sales person that despises autotrader, then it may be best to send those leads to a sales person who is excited about 3rd party leads. You can divide the leads by inventory type or make. Having one person only to handle used car leads, and another to only handle new car leads is a smart idea.

In the end, the best way to route leads is the one that gets the fastest, most thorough response.

Monitor lead contact ratios and response times. If you have a sales person automatically sending build sheets out on every car, he is wasting opportunities for you.


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Tags: Car Dealer, Internet Sales Manager, Lead Management, Lead Routing, Sales Leads


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Comment by Jeremy Rich on August 8, 2014 at 11:08am

I think you all have the right point... Which is, however you can get to the lead the fastest is whats going to work. It's a huge factor and has been proven everyday in the car business. If you don't make contact with the lead within the first 5 minutes the lead value decreases by the minute. My leads system has been customized. When a lead calls in it goes to 3 different phone lines. When a customer sends a text it goes to my computer and my cell phone. Then I can forward to my sales staffs phone. I have also set my CRM up to text the leads to the sales staff when I assign the leads. I can do this via my cell phone or computer. All of this has been put into place to insure that the lead is contacted within the first five minutes. Its a very critical time frame. Just think of all the time that is wasted if you try contacting the lead hours later and then days later. Much easier to to contact them within five minutes and try to get them in the dealership within the hour or that day. I always tell my staff that if you can get an customer in the door with 3 hours of the call its almost always a car deal. Hope that helps some of you. Jeremy

Comment by Larry Bruce on August 5, 2014 at 5:25am

Thanks Manny, the data shows that  the best way to improve your BDC's performance is to get to the lead quickly. There are many other factors that will play a role in the ultimate decision to visit your dealership but being responsive is the major one and the one you can do something about quickly. 

Comment by Michael Bilson on August 4, 2014 at 4:10pm

Ralph you are right on target with the ILR concept.  Getting the lead to the person that can provide the information best or one that has the most product knowledge is key.

Comment by Larry Bruce on August 4, 2014 at 3:53pm

Rebecca / Ralph, 

I have no doubt that there are certain leads you should route to certain people based on specialty models (assuming you have specific model information in the lead). In fact I would go further and say that as a Chevy dealer you should have to qualify to take Corvette leads and if the customer was on a Corvette and you weren't qualified you would have to turn the lead or even customer over.

That said, we are talking about a small portion of the leads.

The bottom line when it comes to a lead is SPEED.

In fact in a recent post on ADM, 10 Stats Your BDC Should Live By, 4 of the 10 stats had to do with speed to connection. 

1. 86% of all automotive bought from the 1 dealer to contact them.

2. You are 621% more likely to successfully contact a lead if called w...

3. Contact success drops 100 times from 5 to 35 minutes.

4. Appointment show rates rose 311% when the lead was contacted within...

The fact is that it is more important for a person to get on the phone with a lead within a very short period of time than it is to try to "Intelligently" route the lead. 

In the end "People buy from people" and you need to get the lead on the phone with a person within 5 minutes... WHY? 

Because LIFE happens when a customer submits a lead that is the 5 to 15 minutes they can spare at the time to look into the buying of a car. During that time they are in that mode and can focus on it, get outside of it and LIFE gets in the way. That's why when you get a lead and you try to call or email them an hour or two later you get such low contact rate. They are on to their life and MAY get back to you when they can... assuming they even remember who you are or where you contact info is. 

The blog post has more if you like to have a look. 

Hope that helps Rebecca. 

Would love your thoughts on that Ralph, you always make me think. 

Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 4, 2014 at 2:58pm

Use Intelligent Lead Routing to Maximize Sales Close Rates... OK, What Is It?

Have you ever been in a situation where you were able to review leads prior to assigning those leads to a salesperson?

If so, and if you are a sales manager who cares about increasing sales, you most likely looked at the characteristics of each lead before deciding which salesperson to assign that lead to... For example, when I would see a Corvette lead come into BuzzTrack at Courtesy Chevrolet, I would reassign that new lead to one of maybe 2 or 3 people who I felt qualified to handle the typically challenging questions posed by Corvette buyers.  Our closing ratio on Corvette leads was a lot higher, almost double that of other leads...

Why? Because we applied an intelligent decision making process to the assignment of the salesperson to that lead... An intelligent decision that is based upon historical performance and the qualifications of the salesperson being assigned will always out-perform a random process like "Round Robin". 

The Round Robin system of lead routing is the worst system ever devised by the auto industry for handling the decisions around how to assign each lead to a salesperson... Period.  Random has no place in dealership management, it is the opposite of reason and intelligence... Random Sucks... It is like slapping the Magic Button and imagining that something good will happen... Random is the destroyer of positive business results, Period!

When a project I was assigned to involved the rebuilding of a web based lead management tool in the not so distant past, both myself and the lead developer on the project pushed hard for a feature that we included in the fresh new build of this lead management tool which we called "Intelligent Lead Routing" or "ILR".  Whether this feature makes it into the system that dealers will be offered is a political football getting punted around to this day, which I will soon explain.

The basis for Intelligent Lead Routing was fairly simple... To mimic the decision making process that the best sales managers use when they look at a new sales lead and decide which salesperson to assign it to.  Except, we decided to do it more "Scientifically" than a sales manager can do based on anecdotal knowledge (like the way I did it at Courtesy Chevrolet)... During the initial installation of ILR we pull all DMS transactional data available and use historical sales data for previously received and sold Internet leads.  We then apply a complex algorithm based on key lead characteristics, similar to the way top performing Internet Directors will assign Internet Leads when they have a chance, or need to do so. 

What Intelligent Lead Routing does is assign leads within a set of parameters that define eligible sales people (such as used car sales team vs new car sales team) so that leads are assigned based on customer demographics, vehicle of interest, zip code, area code, make, model, price range, vehicle type and other characteristics that are used to match the lead with the salesperson most likely to result in a sale based on historical performance.

We built all kinds of safety mechanisms and ILR can be applied at any point in the lead routing schematics (decision tree) using the "Hypothetical" Lead Management Tool's admin console.  The ILR system could also be used to show how, why and who leads WOULD have been assigned to, had the algorithm been applied.

In our pilot testing, ILR was far more effective than the much simpler and more primitive model of lead scoring based on lead characteristics, although it uses many of the same criteria as lead scoring, the scoring is variable based on WHICH SALESPERSON WOULD RECEIVE THE LEAD!

The fact is that in any lead scoring system, introducing the sales person into the predictive analysis creates variable scoring results. For example, it is not uncommon for a lead which is a "9" on a 10 point scale for one salesperson, to become a "4" on the same lead scoring scale when it is assigned to a different salesperson.  This variance in predicted outcome, or "Lead Score" is based on the differential in historical closing rates for leads exhibiting the same characteristics, but when assigned to a different sales person.

This is a similar outcome and based on the same characteristics as when the same lead is sent to different dealerships using the same lead scoring system, which almost always results in a different lead score based on the historical results for each dealership based on leads containing similar or same data points... The only difference is that the effect is often times much more dramatic when applied to individual sales people.

For example, we all know certain sales people who do VERY WELL with truck leads... They know EVERYTHING about the Ford, Chevy or Dodge trucks they sell and how their buyers use those trucks... But give them a lead on a Focus or a Malibu and that same salesperson does no better than the rest of the sales team. 

Unfortunately for what would seem to be a brilliant system to offer dealers, it may be perceived as interfering with the sale of more conventional "Lead Scoring" systems and as such may be considered too risky to offer for sale to dealers... God forbid they get an advantage that actually sells more cars!

We came up with the idea back when I was working at Courtesy and found that we could increase sales by overriding any type of "round robin" (random) lead routing system.

The whole concept seems to trigger a lot of emotional and hysterical responses from people in the car business... What are your thoughts on an Intelligent Lead Routing system that would assign leads based on the highest probability of making a sale?

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