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What People Think of Internet Sales Managers

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Tags: funny, internet, ism, managers, sales

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Comment by Mike Warwick on February 22, 2012 at 6:13pm

I think we're starting to see the responsibilities of the ISM get split between BDC Managing and Digital Marketing.  If you can do both effectively, you will be well compensated and be working flat out all day long.  I agree with AJ, if you are handling both, you should be compensated like a GSM.  If you do one or the other, you should be compensated equal to a sales manager.

Comment by Ray McGowan on February 20, 2012 at 1:09pm

Tom...yes, I get it.  The answer is that many dealers and GM's still don't get it.  The hours and hours it takes to appropriately market the dealership and its Social Media platforms is staggering.  I know this first hand due to my early experiences with the computer in 1985.  That's a few years prior to the internet and may add a few years onto myself, but the ISM job is an "all-in" position.  Although ISM's don't desk deals like traditional GSM's or SM's, there is really no "down-time" during the day.  It's tedious, time consuming and the rewards are usually very few and far between.

The ISM is really like an outside vendor consulting the dealership "how-to" transition to e-commerce and online selling.  The wealth of knowledge usually goes unrewarded on an ISM's part which is really a sad state of affairs.  Many of these "good" ISM's are over-worked and underpaid.  The dealers that realize the complex nature of the position and what the future brings with the proper person, usually pay appropriately.  It's a tough job and I agree that the ISM should be at the level of the GM or GSM.  Thanks for the advice Tom!

Comment by Aj Maida on February 19, 2012 at 11:52am

There it is...In one simple phrase @Tom Gorman of course sums it up...."THE DEALER SHOULD BE YOUR BOSS" The other and harder part is everyone should know it....For this to work it needs to be considered, as I refereed to below as an executive position!!!! Minimally on the same level as the sales managers but more equal to the GSM or the GM if he is also a sales manager (different discussion, but he shouldn't be). If your not it's time to explain to your owner why his isn't making as much $$ as he should be!!!!

Comment by Tom Gorham on February 19, 2012 at 11:36am

Aj and Ray... you get it and I suspect you're doing it.  Aj, everyone could use someone like you to go to bat for them. ;-)

Matthew, I became an Internet Manager in 1998 after 4-5 years as a sales rep.  They called us "Managers" then so customers would be impressed.  I was really an Internet Sales Rep who also had to do the "web work" and other minor stuff.  The hours I put in at home and at work were unbelieveable to the average sales rep.  Most were unrecorded (most still are).

Anyone doing that today should be looking for a more progressive dealer.  Dare I say that?

Four or five years ago... maybe more, my boss (the dealer should be your boss) noticed that my job had become more marketing than those who were doing our traditional marketing. I was doing cheap SEM before our competitors knew what the acronym meant much less "Search Engine Marketing".  SEO was "meta-tags".

Then came Social Media in the form of Facebook and Twitter (I missed MySpace).  I started a blog and played with Social as an individual before I dragged my company on board (I understood it before I put them in the firing line).  I found that people were going online to praise and criticize and started a Reputation Management system in-house.  I'm now knee-deep in Reputation Marketing, as my friend Keith Shetterly calls it.

Along the way, I picked up an Assistant Manager (with me a decade now) and others who could do quotes and follow-up so that I could dedicate my time elsewhere.  There have been ups and downs and everything in-between, but I haven't negotiated a deal in maybe 6 years.  I used to love that part of it but I don't even think about it now.  That's for floor managers... something I have no desire to be.

Hope that helps.

Comment by Matthew Smolik on February 19, 2012 at 10:56am
I would like to know what is the role of ISM at your dealerships?
Comment by Ray McGowan on February 19, 2012 at 10:39am

@Tom Gorham: I couldn't agree with you more about how Internet Managers (formally know as online sales guys) are looked at by many in our business.  A well versed person in the field of IT in a dealership is the future of customer relationships.  It's really too bad many look at this as some geek that has been sitting in a corner of a room for hours studying code.  There's a great amount of work that structures a well run internet division and those asleep at the wheel are losing out.

Comment by Aj Maida on February 19, 2012 at 9:53am

I was just discussing with someone how little I actually know about the cars and trucks we sell. it is very strange considering I used to be a "product knowledge king"!! I guess I still am but today my product knowledge is keywords, analytic's and content. It actually is a little bit of a shame that I just don't have the time day to day to interact with the customer because when I do, I am still very good at it. It is amazing that if you ask 6 people what we do you will get 6 answers. Probably right in our own dealerships. Part of that may well be that we all approach our jobs from different angles. Most likely this is based on weather we are more sales, marketing, artsy or techy orientated? Also influenced by the type of support we get. Another factor is where we fall on the food chain. In some dealerships we are considered executive level, others management and others somewhere between management and the sales force. Then there are the dealerships that totally miss the boat and think of there internet guy as just a glorified BDC person. Guess which dealerships are turning the most profit. Some day well just maybe...a man can dream can't he. (If you don't feel like your at executive or management feel free to give your owner my cell: 860-878-1402, He'll either step up or fire you by the time I'm through, but I'll go to bat for you!!!).

Comment by Tom Gorham on February 17, 2012 at 1:23pm

The real problem seems to be that Internet Manager means different things at different dealerships.  I recently had a floor manager from a competitor tell me on LinkedIn that I should stop writing articles online during work hours and do my job calling customers to get them in (this is a competitor we continually beat in sales).  I knew he was on work-time by his all-caps and time of day.  He didn't realize that I do all my writing at home on my own time.

But the idea here is that he thought my job was to call customers when I haven't done that in years. He was giving indications of his belief that Internet Managers are (just) Internet Sales Representatives and HE is a manager.

Until all dealers understand the importance of the position, you will get various interpretations of what an Internet Manager is.  The top companies in this industry give this position an "executive" position.

Comment by Rick Watson on February 17, 2012 at 10:43am

Your right, even today, it's a mysterious position. (even at the Dealership) As we evolve back to a full-fledged, dedicated Internet Dept, it would be management wise to make sure everyone at the store knows who you are, what you do, and how you do it. An informed Floor Sales Team can be an ISM's best asset if everyone can coexist and play fair. 

Comment by Tom Gorham on February 17, 2012 at 5:09am

This a great visual explanation.  Love it!

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