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The importance of big data has been discussed for quite a while now. There are many companies that use it very successfully to predict consumer behavior and proactively deliver relevant messages to their customers. Automotive dealerships need to apply that same power for sales. For example, Amazon analyzes what you’ve purchased in the past, what you’ve been searching for today, and even drills it down to the specific genre of items such as music and books to serve up “recommendations” to you. Netflix uses viewing and searching behavior to show you movies that you may want to watch. They even track how you browse their library. Google also uses big data to help deliver more relevant search results. All of this leveraging of big data revolves around efforts to improve the customer experience and increase sales by delivering products and services at the most opportune times.
Automotive CRMs are the backbone of all truly successful car dealerships. However, most are focused only on customer data from showroom visits, calls, and leads, not the Big Data that can get more sales TODAY. In the past, dealerships could only run lease-end reports, target people close to paying off their vehicle and see what type of services they are getting done to their vehicle. While this is still extremely valuable information and can allow you some insight into how to better target your customers, the integration of big data can take the internal data that you already have and make it even more valuable. It allows you to fine-tune that message based not only on past behavior, but also on present.
An automotive CRM that’s properly leveraging big data focuses on the psychology of the consumer. Its focus isn’t solely on the data you already have. Its focus is on the data you don’t have and that’s where big data comes into play. In our digital world, consumers leave cookie crumbs everywhere. Search behavior, website visits along with the pertinent data from those visits; what did they look at? How long did they look at these items? Big data also includes social data such as what the consumer is sharing and talking about. These are all examples of the type of cookie crumbs that can be very valuable in effective targeting of the customer.
According to a recent study from J.D. Power and Associates, 78 percent of in-market shoppers never submit a lead to a dealer. They are lurkers that view info on the Internet, look at numerous websites, do their price and product comparisons, decide what they want, then go into a dealership and buy it. The correct use of big data enables a dealer to get to those potential buyers before they buy somewhere else.
A recent article in Forbes states that at the end of 2012, only 16% of companies were leveraging big data for sales. The article goes on to say; “Just as Netflix figures out what movie to suggest next, state of the art CRM systems should make recommendations to sales reps about which prospect to call next.” This would not only make your sales force more efficient; but also help increase closing ratios.
There’s nothing more frustrating to dealerships than discovering after the fact that their customer purchased at a competitor. If your current automotive CRM isn’t leveraging big data to help you better target your customers, you’re losing revenue. A CRM can better help you manage your customer experience AND retain those customers.
With big data, you may even know that a customer is in market before they are… and that’s the biggest advantage you have over all of your competitors.
Vice President of Software Development
CAR Research XRM