Something we’ve been been talking about here on DealerRefresh is more data and posts around process. If you’re familuar with Joe and Bill of DealerKnows, these guys are process driven freaks – but in a good way of course.
Joe and Bill have been working underground on a project over the last several months or more…
Jeff: What prompted you to create TaskTeacher?
Joe: Our own laziness! At the heart of DealerKnows, it is our goal to make sure our dealer clients and their Internet teams are maximizing all of their opportunities.
The easiest way to sell more cars is to better communicate with the clients. In other words, if you email customers the right message, say the right things on the phone, and consistently follow-up in an intuitive manner, you’ll sell more cars…plain and simple.
For this reason, we were constantly monitoring what their Internet teams were doing in their CRM and that is a time-consuming task. We couldn’t be as comprehensive as we wanted to be in our monitoring by doing it manually. We needed to make lead management monitoring more efficient.
Bill: In order to create that efficiency, we realized that we were going to have to create some automation to deliver the higher volume of reports our clients were asking for. Moreover, we wanted to make sure that there wouldn’t be shortcuts taken under tighter time constraints.
The quality of information that we deliver to our clients is critical to what we do, and we wanted to make sure that we continue to exceed their expectations. It didn’t take long for us to realize that most our clients don’t have time to for quality control.
If your Internet department is to run like a well-oiled machine, we need to make sure every piece of that machine is running smoothly.
Since we’ve implemented the TaskTeacher technology, we’ve been able to analyze 4-5x as many process logs (historical account on how the lead was handled inside the CRM/ILM) compared to doing it manually.
In a way, we created an “all seeing eye” that Internet teams can’t circumvent. Since the teams have given up on taking shortcuts, we can see the results of a process that’s consistently executed.
Jeff: You mentioned that much of this was created as a way to speed things up on DealerKnows’ end and help you monitor even more than before. What have been a few of the key things TaskTeacher has done for your dealer clients?
Joe: Most simply stated, know what they don’t know. It serves executive management, sales managers, and the Internet lead handlers in the store.
We’ve been consulting dealers nationwide for several years now and one consistent discrepancy we find is that upper management often doesn’t know exactly what their Internet and BDC teams are doing with the leads and calls.
They know they “handle” them, but that is the extent of their understanding. Moreover, Sales Managers don’t have the time to monitor how well leads are handled inside the CRM, or know what they should be sending and saying either.
Monitoring how well leads are followed up with has traditionally been a responsibility placed on an Internet Director, but we know even they no longer have the time to do this.
This is where TaskTeacher comes into play.
Our team is monitoring their Internet lead handlers and we are automatically alerting their managers as to when their people are “off process” and gives them a new way to measure their people’s performance and hold them accountable. It is an entirely new means to actually “manage” their people.
Bill: One of the paramount issues that plagues our industry is that Internet managers are usually hired without ever having received a foundational training as to the proper way to handle emai/Internet/phonel leads
There are very few trainers/consultants/gurus, including us, out there that want to give out their secret sauce in this regard (or even have one at all).
TaskTeacher gives Internet Managers a baseline understanding as to what they should be sending, what they should be saying, and when it’s best to say it. In fact, we offer all new TaskTeacher clients a one-hour intensive live training on lead management and email templates to ensure they understand what they are being graded on.
We want to ensure we create the building blocks for quality customer contact, and then monitor them afterwards to ensure they are actually doing the little things that it takes to sell more cars online. In our opinion, it’s the responsible thing to do. In the end, we get to see how TaskTeacher saves deals that may have been lost to poor practices. It’s pretty rewarding to see.
Jeff: So lay it on us Joe, what exactly is TaskTeacher?
Joe: At its beginning, it is the industry’s first lead management coaching software. We have a patent-pending business process where we assign Grades to how well Internet lead handlers are managing and following up with their leads.
As our team randomly selects Internet leads inside our clients’ CRM systems, they are reviewing the history of contact (looking at every email sent and every call documented) and using a software we develop that has a set of weighted questions that assign a grade as to how well they managed that lead (ie did their job).
We carry over a screenshot of the lead with all of the customer’s info inside an automated alert. This automated alert is actually a report that is sent out immediately to the Internet manager/BDC Agent that handled the lead, along with any sales manager/General Manager/Owner that wants to see how that individual performed.
The sweet science behind it is a perfect combination of automated technology working in stride with a human eye to identify opportunities for improvement with Internet leads.
These alerts include customized, multiple paragraphs explaining what the ISM did and didn’t do correctly during lead handling and carries with it a grade.
We then give them their necessary “Next Steps” which tell them the exact course of action they must take to have a higher likelihood of still closing the customer. We are monitoring leads from roughly one week prior so it is important to note that we look for consistent follow-up and not just a “what happened when the lead arrived” recap.
No war is won in the first volley of fire. It often takes waves of communication to win the customers’ business. We look at the total approach over the first week, tell them what they forgot, missed, failed to do, as well as congratulated them on what they did well.
We do all this because it allows dealers to finally know what is going on with their Internet leads, how to improve their processes, and how to coach their people to get better, all for a fraction of the cost of training or hiring an in-store person to watch the same elements of leads.
Bill: There is another level to this, actually multiple levels. We have a basic list of benchmark tasks we look for Internet teams to adhere to, and as Joe said, those are weighted. However, when an ISM begins consistently achieving good grades after a series of months, they “graduate” and are placed on a new course of curriculum where the grading guidelines are more stringent.
Essentially, Internet Sales Managers and BD Agents can get their “diploma” after succeeding at the primary level, and can then go on and achieve their “Bachelors” and “Masters” by dominating more strict guidelines of lead management and Internet sales.
In other words, we’ve created a way to certify Internet sales managers and BD agents as they hone their skills on quality customer follow-up. The only problem is the great majority find it difficult to consistently reach A grades in the primary level. While most dealers use this as a great way to keep an eye on their ISMs and force them to realize someone is watching them, certification can be a goal for them as well. Somebody has to do this. Why not us?
Jeff: What types of results have you seen this TaskTeacher tool deliver?
Bill: When we initially launch with a store, we typically see grades starting in the D to D- range. However, after about a month of graded leads, Internet managers quickly rise to a C (average) grade.
After about sixth months of grading most Internet managers rise to a B average. Although the system is pretty new, we’ve seen a 33% improvement in sales for B or better grades, so far.
More importantly, we see Internet sales managers changing their habits to handle leads consistently. The real surprise for me was that, after grading, Internet managers starting requesting additional training.
After receiving regular feedback from the grading tool, Internet managers began to understand the mistakes they were repeatedly making, and were actually motivated to get better. We actually have been creating a learning culture!
Joe: We’ve had a version of TaskTeacher (called DealerKnows GPA) running in our own clients’ dealerships for 10 months. Since these are our clients, they have our email templates and processes already in place, but we hold them to a more rigid grading system.
This first version was meant as a means to ensure the Internet teams were doing what we at DealerKnows asks of them. TaskTeacher was created so it can be used by countless dealerships and simply ensure that their people are following the statistically-proven best practices of lead management, as well as helps give them guidance as the best way to follow up and communicate with Internet customers.
We’ve attached a reporting tool that allows all executive management to go into the back-end and review all of their graded leads for the month, see the individual grades of each Internet team member, and their trends.
Over time, we hope to incorporate live appointment and sales data into the tool, but that involves a significant degree of CRM connectivity.
In the end, we’d rather just focusing on making each person better and ensuring they understand what tasks are recommended to help them sell more cars.
Jeff: Bill, how do dealers get started with TaskTeacher?