Where will this take us?
Should vendors have booth models? I VOTE YES!!
But, how does a vendor measure the ROI of a booth model?
I have an answer! Wanna hear it?..Here it is!!
First, figure out your total cost for each booth model’s attendance. Room, food, transportation, hairspray, makeup, etc.
Find out the total number of registered NADA dealer attendees for 2008. Each dealer attendees would be compared as an impression, like a banner ad on a website.
Every time your booth model makes eye contact, speaks or flirts with a dealer and gets them to approach the booth, this could be compared as a click on your banner ad. Evey time a booth model swipes a dealers pass card or T.O.’s over to a sales agent, this would be considered a lead conversion or the BMCR or "booth model conversion ratio".
Divide the total number of leads each booth model has acquired by the total cost of her attendance and this will give you the CPLPBM or "Cost per lead per booth model".
From here, you want to track your leads to signed contracts. Next, take your yearly net profit from each signed contract and subtract the total cost associated with each booth model.
There you have it!
This simple calculation will give you an exact ROI for each of your booth models.
Now of course this doesn’t take into account the long term effect of a highly effective booth model. Example: Last year I almost fell in love with the stunning Andrea over at the vAuto booth and this year I was not going to miss the opportunity to get a photo with her. She’s HOT!! Case in point for the long term effect here; I remembered Andrea from last year (though didn’t catch her name) and made sure I stopped by the vAuto booth this year just to see Andrea. And of course ended up sitting through a demo for vAuto.
With that being said..your booth model is "like" a landing page. The more effective the landing page the better your lead conversion. The better looking and friendly your booth model, again the better your chances of a lead conversion.
Be sure your booth model has all the right elements for conversion and you can be guaranteed a successful return from your exhibit in NADA!
Andrea, if you read this..I know there was a connection between us during the short moment we had together, but I’m sorry, I just don’t think it’s going to work out between us. The long distance, one sided relationships are just too difficult, I’m sorry 🙁
One of the toughest jobs these days is picking the right technology for the job, so we’re going to take a different approach with something called the “Blueprint Series”. The idea behind this series of articles is to tell our vendors what we want. Hopefully they’ll take our ideas and put them into a product we can buy!
For the first Blueprint Series we’re focusing on automotive CRM solutions. ADP, Reynolds & Reynolds, AutoBase, HigherGear, iMagicLabs, DealerSocket, eLeads, and all other CRM vendors please pay attention…but please do not come in here with comments saying “we do that”, “I am the solution for you”, etc. WE DO NOT WANT VENDOR SPAMMING IN THIS THREAD. If you have a selling message, please email Alex Snyder: [email protected] and he will point you in the right direction.
Dealer Refresh crowd – here’s your chance to put all your wishes on the table! Please use the comments link to add your thoughts.
Starting with Alex’s first CRM wish: Coming from a dealer group with competing franchises all on the same stretch of road we are prone for duplicate leads. I’d like to have a single customer base, inside our CRM solution, that allows for a separate salesperson, salesmanager, BDC agent, service writer, service manager, etc to be attached to a single customer record for each store. I’d also like vehicles of interest and vehicles owned to be unlimited for each customer record.
My Honda and Toyota stores are less than a mile apart, so I’d like to have a customer be able to have an interest in the Accord and the Camry….and have a different salesperson for each car. I’d like to be able to send marketing messages on both the Camry and the Accord to that customer.
Yes, I understand this could get messy in the database, so we’ll have to figure out a way to clean things up. However, I’d rather have my CRM cater to the real world than have to make the real world cater to the CRM.
I didn’t get much time on the floor this year as I have in the past. The crew over at MileOne kept me busy at NADA 2008. There were several people that I was supposed to stop by and shake hands with but I just never got around to it, so I do apologize to everyone that I was not able to connect with.
Being my first time there, I thought San Fransisco was wonderful. The weather was fantastic and the city provides an atmosphere like no other. However, in my opinion, this was not the best location for NADA. Having to travel outside between the West, North and South halls of the Moscone Center was a pain in the a$$. Thankfully the weather was nice and the AutoMotion girls were always out side to greet you with their sexy smiles and great attitude between buildings.
Compared to last years NADA Review this one will be a quickie. I only had the chance to visit a hand full of vendor booths this year;
I’ll start of with onecommand (formally know as callcommand). The demo was impressive and they seem to really know their product. Having one program that can take care of your sales/service email, voicemail and text campaigns is strong. I also like the fact that they have aligned themselves with some great companies like ExactTarget to help guarantee email delivery.
I sat through a demo with Autobase CRM to review the new features (features that should have been apart of the CRM years ago). That’s all I’ll say about that.
Once I actually FOUND the Dealer.com booth (hidden in the corner of the West room) I was able to get a taste of their new TotalControl Dominator, allowing dealers to control their own SEM campaigns. If this works as well as it demo’s, it’s a homerun.
I made a quick stop at the Polk booth where they were touting their Polk Lead Scoring.
TimeHighway has added a few improvements and a new look to their online service scheduler.
I stopped by the ClickMotive booth to check out their new Flashy Websites. The sites look good, but I’m still a leary about all the flash and stuffed HTML in the background.
vAuto continues to build upon their product and continues to impress. Their tool is so clean, it has one of the best looking interfaces for any software program in the dealer industry. I have never used it but if it applies everything that Dale Pollack teaches, then I would think this is one program worth taking a look at.
Last year the eBay booth was PACKED as they touted their eBay Local program. This year..dead. At least every time I walked by. I have to wonder how many dealers signed up for eBay Local last year but are singing a different tune this year.
Some of your more aggressive CRM’s are learning how to tie in personalized video responses in their systems and are building action plans according to whether or not the customer actually watches the video email. NICE!
After attending NADA for the last 4 years, there really isn’t a lot of new stuff to see. Yeah, some vendors will add new features to their products and every now and then you might find something that peeks your interest but overall it’s the same stuff year after year.
I overheard several discussions where dealers are searching for quality SEO vendors. Does this mean dealers are catching on to the snake oil SEO vendors in the past and are now fed up with it?
WHERE ARE THE HISPANIC MARKETEERS? by 2050, Latinos will be 29% of the entire American population but yet I only ran across one Hispanic marketing vendor. Props to Larry John Wright Morales, Inc.
Of course the best part of any NADA is the networking and the PARTIES!
The Chase Bank tequila tasting party pulled a nice crowd. Getting to taste 1,2 or 8 different tequilas was intoxicating to say the least. I stopped by the DealerTrack party for a few minutes then ended up at a small restaurant and bar called Annabelle’s while catching up Jesse and the Homenet crew.
Blue Flame6, DealerSocket and Century Interactive threw a way cool party calling it the “The 3 at the 4“. Each invitee had to arrive in a group of three and they were serving these tasty drinks called a “Threesome”. Very Nice!
The last party I attended was the
ADP Reynolds & Reynolds party at City Hall. It was OK, the lack of Bombay Sapphire left me a little disappointed. The party had me feeling quite young, if you know what I mean.
A quick thanks to Joe Vraneza and the KBB crew for dinner Sunday night and Lance over at CarFax for a wonderful dinner at Mccormicks and Kuleto’s Monday night.
So what did I take away from NADA this year?
Dealers are STILL LOST! Seriously. Sitting through some of the presentations and over hearing conversations from other dealers, it’s crazy how much they still don’t get it. They still don’t get technology, they still don’t understand today’s consumer, they still don’t train their sales people how to be effective on the phone and how to answer internet leads in a timely manor. The list goes on and it amazes me. How has this industry survived?
Here are a few of the cars.com commercials aired during the superbowl. Advertisers paid around 2.6 million for 30 seconds of air time during the Super Bowl XLI.
I thought they were average at best. What did you all think?
AOL Autos dropped AutoTrader and has selected Vast to power AOL Autos’ used car marketplace. The changes are scheduled to launch on AOL Autos in the first quarter of 2008.
Apparently AOL Autos and Vast.com are setting out to offer something a little different for the consumer and dealers.
"A rich set of search and filter tools that will make it easy for consumers to search for and find the used car they are looking for. Vast.com’s robust optimization technology will ensure that consumers are presented with the cars most likely to convert to sales, resulting in higher quality leads for dealers."
Something else I found interesting; dealers have several options in the way they pay and promote their inventory on AOL Autos.
It’s something a little different then what we are used to.
I had the opportunity to speak with Doug Eddy, Director of business development for AOL Autos and Kevin Laws, CEO Vast.com about their joint venture.
Jeff: Dealers depend in part on portal traffic. The portals have traditionally been powered by either AutoTrader or Cars.com. Do AOL Autos and Vast bring something different?
Doug: AOL’s new used car experience is really focused on bringing something better to both the consumer and the dealer. For the consumer, we want to provide the most complete set of listings to search, along with the best search tools. This is very different than just providing cars to our users from a restricted set of dealers. For the dealer, we want to make sure the money spent goes directly towards creating car sales, not just towards paying to appear on AOL. That’s why we call it the open marketplace.
Jeff: What do you mean by “open” marketplace?
Doug: It’s “open” in the sense that everybody can participate. Rather than displaying the inventory of just one marketing partner, AOL will now show any car – even if we aren’t paid to show it. This means AOL Autos will offer a highly user-friendly experience, allowing users to search across the broadest set of used car inventory in a single destination – over 3 million used cars. It’s still a marketplace in the sense that dealers can absolutely “pay for performance” through their existing marketing partners – but they don’t need to pay to just be included in the experience.
Jeff: Describe “pay for performance pricing” – you mean paying for clicks?
Kevin: "Pay for performance" just means that you set the price you want to pay, but you don’t actually pay it unless you get the result you were looking for. Depending on the deal you have with your marketing partner – that could be a click, a lead, a call, or even a sold car. The bigger issue is that you can choose on what basis to pay. For example, you don’t need lots of leads on a Ford Escape Hybrid on the lot – it’s going to move anyway. Why not pay nothing for that, and instead pay a lot more for that car that’s been on the lot for more than 30 days?
The open marketplace supports all of that. You should only pay for what is valuable to you.
Jeff: How does a dealer go about figuring out how to promote at a granular level?
Kevin: With Vast.com, the dealer doesn’t have to. In a sense, the open marketplace will do this automatically – it doesn’t just put the cars with the highest paying leads at the top. The system automatically takes into account the likelihood that car will appeal to a customer. A car that costs $10,000 over blue book is not likely to generate a lead. No matter how much the lead is worth, Vast won’t put that car at the top. The dealer doesn’t need to do anything to take advantage of that capability – the system will automatically take into account both payment and the likelihood that the car will actually generate a sale.
The other capability – the ability to set the price per lead (or even sale) – is one of the main reasons we are working through existing marketing partners. They can optimize for you, rather than having each dealer try to go down to that granular level.
Jeff: So the search results are based on an algorithm that returns the customer the best “value” for what they are searching for?
Kevin: Basically, yes. It tracks what customers are most likely looking for given their behavior so far. Sometimes that is best value and sometimes it is some other aspect, like right color. The algorithms automatically match what the customer is looking for to the car most likely to actually become a lead and a sale.
Jeff: What do you need the auto marketing partners and Internet service providers for? Why not go direct to dealers?
Kevin: This is actually very related to the last 2 questions. We don’t want to make a new system that the dealers must learn. Instead, Vast’s mission is to “innovate from within” – working with existing channels to make the buying and selling process more efficient. This way many dealers will participate automatically without having to do anything but choose the right marketing partners.
Additionally, Vast is focused on deep technology to make automotive buying for used cars work better on the Internet. We don’t have a sales force or account managers to contact dealers directly. Instead we have the technology that can execute promotions in an innovative way, which gives the service providers better capabilities to market to their dealers.
Jeff: Who are the current marketing providers? My readers would like a list of partners they can work with.
Establishing a relationship with Vast.com / AOL Autos is fast and easy for your marketing partner, so any partner you work with today will be able to manage your listings on AOL Autos. Vast.com and AOL Autos already have relationships with many Automotive Service Providers such as AutoByTel, Zag.com, Dealix, and AutoMart. To find out if your service provider is a current partner, please email us at [email protected]
Jeff: Is there set pricing or are the marketing partners establishing this? And, will some marketing partners be able to offer higher placed listings?
There is not a fixed price that will be charged for promotion through your marketing partner. Many existing marketing partners are including it as part of the program they already offer (either fixed fee or cost-per-call/lead). You may not need to do anything if you already use one of the existing partners.
Some marketing partners will be able to get higher placed listings based on what they pay to participate in the open marketplace.
Jeff: How does this compare with how AOL currently promotes dealers? How will the relationship with Vast.com change the current way dealers work with AOL?
Doug: Today, used car searches are sent to AutoTrader. With this change, dealers just want to make sure their current service provider is putting their inventory in Vast.com, or they can put it in themselves: http://www.vast.com/info/automotivedealers.
For those who are interested in broader packages, we absolutely have the capability to sell those as well. Please contact us at AOL.
Jeff: When will the AOL autos used car marketplace be available?
Doug: Mid-to-end Q1, 2008
Jeff: What should interested dealers do next?
Kevin: Two things:
- Immediately talk to your dealer service provider (CDM Data, Dealer Specialties, eBizAutos, Homenet etc.) and ask to have your feed sent to Vast.
- Talk to your marketing partner to make sure they are marketing your
inventory on AOL Autos and understand what promotion and positioning
you get from their program.
You can also contact Vast.com directly: [email protected] or visit http://www.vast.com/info/automotivedealers.
I know I already posted Dominion Enterprises Acquires AVV and its WebControl ILM / CRM a few days ago but the feedback being left by everyone was more about MyRide.com rather then WebControl (though that was my own fault), so I thought I would turn it into a separate posting and transfer everyones comments over here.
Autobytel Sells AVV Business for $22.75 Million in Cash – this is the press release from the other side.
Here is a quote taken from the press release…
“The sale of our CRM business continues our strategy of divesting our non-core operations as we complete our transition to a media-centric business,” said Autobytel Inc. President and CEO Jim Riesenbach. “We continue to sharpen our focus on our recently-launched flagship website, MyRide.com”
Flagship? I don’t know about you, but MyRide.com drives me crazy. I find myself easily lost on the site and always clicking on the main logo to get back to the home page. I can’t seem to grasp exactly what the site is for?…community networking, vehicle data base for search, vehicle research or what? And I don’t see how they could possibly fit any more ads on the site.
Autobytel describes MyRide.com as the…
“first vertical search experience for the automotive marketplace. “MyRide.com is designed to help Internet-savvy consumers FIND, SEE, BUY and LEARN anything automotive and BELONG to a diverse community of people who have similar automotive interests.” Vertical Search Experience?
Nice try! Hopefully they’ll use some of that money they made selling AVV and hire someone to fill in their description tags so consumers can actually find the site in the search sngines.
|<title>New, Used Car prices, reviews and dealers at MyRide.com</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”” />
AVV’s Internet Lead Management tool "WebControl" has been bought by Dominion Enterprises.
I’m sure most readers already know who Dominion Enterprises is. They own
AutoTrader, DealerSkins, AutoBase, XiGroup, AutoRevenue and Data One software, just to name a few. Well it looks as if AutoBytel has finally made the step to dump and it’s WebContol ILM / CRM tool. I had heard this was in the works for sometime but was not aware that Dominion was a possible purchaser. The purchase price was $22.75 million, dammnnn!!
"Ed Braunbeck, vice president and general manager of AVV, will continue to lead the business. “We are delighted to be part of an organization that recognizes the potential of our employees and products and has shown such strong commitment to the automotive industry. Dominion Enterprises will be the perfect place for us to take the Web Control solution to the next level,” said Braunbeck."
If you’ve been on the internet side of the car business, chances are you’ve heard of or have even used AVV WebControl. It was one of the first ILM (Internet Lead Management ) tools available to dealers. I was at a Mazda dealer when they had first signed the contract to exclusively use WebControl and that has been at least 5-6 years ago. Even to this day, I think it’s still one of the better ILM tools.
I’d like to see Dominion financially support AVV allowing them to take WebContol to the next level. I overheard a few rumors about 2 years ago that AutoBytel was going to bring WebControl over to a .net platform but that obviously never happened. Well either way, this should be a decent move for AVV since AutoBytel never did anything for AVV or Webcontrol.
- Have you used AVV WebContol?
- What did/do you think of it?
- What do you think of this Acquisition?
Here is the full press release Dominion Enterprises Acquires AVV, Inc. Assets
We constantly read the statistics on how our customers are using the internet when shopping for their next vehicle. Yes, we too are consumers but it’s not the same since we can purchase our vehicles in house or have a home field advantage by knowing the business. It’s easy to forget, working at the dealer day in and day out, how much influence the internet really has our customers shopping for their next vehicle.
- What websites are they researching on?
- Are they just price shopping?
- Are we really listening to our customers?
- Will a quick generic response to their request for more information be sufficient?
As much as I view DealerRefresh as a B2B blog, I’d happily welcome more feedback from consumers on the other side of the fence. So I was excited to have received an email from one of "your customers". Steve felt inspired to share with us his last experience shopping for a vehicle. Here it is in its entirety.
I came across your site and like it a lot. I am not in the car business, but have recently purchased several cars. I was going to post on why I used the internet and how, but thought, I am not in the business. I did not want to post against your rules, so I will submit it to you, and you can post it for me if you would like:
I have recently bought two cars, and both times I started out Online. I read Earl Veteran’s comments and got to thinking back about how and why I had bought these cars. What I liked, and more importantly what I did NOT like.
1. I liked the internet. A LOT! Its anonymous, so its safer to make a decision. Safer you ask? Yes, the car business is a very adversarial business, with me, the consumer as the target! And I have to say, the more I learn, the more I do NOT like it. And the more I learn, the more I prefer to make the decisions in private, as opposed to in a sales cubicle, sitting for 15 minutes at a time as salesmen shuttle in and out from the managers office.
2. I shopped price first. Why not? NO amount of customer service will make up for me finding out my neighbor paid $10,000.00 less for the exact same car from the exact same salesman on the exact same day. I would feel cheated if that happened. (Maybe the car business should look back and wonder how high the "feel cheated" threshold is for the average customer)
3. I found that the higher end brands were moving more toward a "customer partnership" type atmosphere than the lower end, even during the sales process. Would not a feeling of "we are in the business of providing you what you want and need" to be something you want as the first reaction of your customers, when asked about you?
I started at Edmunds.com looking for types of vehicles to compare. My impression of them is that there are lots of "real consumers" willing to share their experiences. There is some chaff with the wheat, but hey, its the internet, you expect that. I can get a rough estimate of the market price, monthly payments assuming various interest rates, and a small peak into what "owning" the car was like as well as the buying process from any particular dealership. I have not owned this particular brand before, so I had no past relationships. But, to be fair, I am old, have owned others brands, and still did not repeat purchase (perhaps brand loyalty is not such a given anymore?). Then I moved to other forums dedicated to the brands I was researching.
I then emailed about ten dealers. Why not, email is free. I was willing to travel pretty far to save some real money, so I asked about the car, gave my cell phone, and waited. Calls right away! Told them exact color, model, year, etc. no trade in to worry about, no finance option yet, no payments, just a price please. And I waited.
First off, I was NOT impressed! By how poorly most listened to what I wanted, and their energy at NOT getting back to me! I guess asking for a car at a "reasonable price" was too much? I told one guy I only wanted black (actually told all of them that) and he calls back and tells me he found a car for me to test drive. Tells me all about it. A green one???? He is still emailing me six months later! Some never responded. NONE emailed me back with anything personalized to my needs.
So I am put off, but hey, its not like I wasted a lot of time driving around. This time I emailed the internet guy at the brand I preferred. The gist of my email?
"I am a poor consumer, who can probably not afford your cars, but possibly, maybe, I could. Plus, I am a loyal customer…once I buy who will have all service work done by you"
According to Earl, this is heresy. Not worth his time to even deal with. But….charity does exist in my world! And a pretty laid back guy got back to me, with a price I could handle, I checked Edmunds for price paid/buying experience, and the price was really, really good. No haggling, just a good, no a great price. So I bought. Emailed him back, went in next day to pick it up.
I was deciding between the Avalon for its back seat room, and the Lexus 350 for other factors. But the key for me was the difference in the quality between the two sales forces. Guess which one called me back for the green one? Which one offered to have me drive 60 miles to test drive a vehicle I already knew completely? For me the entire process was almost schizophrenic. Why would the same manufacturer have such different processes? And if its obvious which one I preferred, why would so few other dealers imitate it?
Most of all, I wonder why so many other car dealers treat their potential customers so badly? I do feel that it seems to be "smart business" to try and corner a market if you can. I see 30 different badges with the same ownership group in Wash, DC, and realize that their costs are way down compared to single shops due to their economies of scale. So, why would you want to high pressure this same captive audience. (I live in Texas now, but went in one once, way back when. The girl was sobbing that if I did not talk to the manager before leaving she would be "fined"). On another note, why do some car dealer think the public is stupid, that we really believe some multi millionaire employs some nitwit who bought TOO MUCH inventory!
Now I am NOT saying the techniques do not work. They obviously must, right? But what about opportunity costs? How much are you leaving on the table by only doing it one way, the same old way? Websites with little info, stock photos, endless quote forms? Hmm, been there, done that. And from your end as well. Hiring the same old internet guy, and then hassling with him about pay? Here is a question for y’all? Why pay him based on sales? Does the IT guy at IBM need to have a customer say they "bought off the web" for him to get a salary? How much quality difference is there between the head of IBM IT, and the IT head of Checkered Flag? (Sorry Alex, but I like your thinking, and thought you could use a tweak.) Do you pay your receptionists based on how many buyers called first?
Anyone go into a restaurant and EXPECT great service? How about just average? Does anyone think that if the restaurants just paid a decent wage, and had managers good enough to be able to tell good waiters from bad, they would increase customer satisfaction? Or lower turnover? I could have used the car model, but hey, to me the consumer, its the same. Same lame so-called pro’s to deal with. Same lame experience. I do NOT have the answers, but I could point to some things. Thing is…how good are y’all as a group if you cannot find them yourselves?
Kind of a challenge.
These are tough times, with serious issues in the car business. It takes serious people to accomplish this. So, Mr. Doing-Business-As-Usual, your 15 minutes are up. I’m Joe consumer, and I AM the President! (loosely taken from "American President" (Michael Douglas) speech near end of movie)
Are you an Internet Manager, an Internet Sales Director, an eCommerce
Director, an Internet Sales Consultant, a Vice President of Marketing? I think this speaks to all of us, but let’s forget about our positions and corporate structures for a moment. Some of you may already have your 2008 pay plan and some might not, but that doesn’t matter right now. Let’s talk about what we think is right and fair. What is fair to you and the person paying you.
I was reading the “Myth of the Dealer Web Site Conversion Ratio” article, by Mitch Turck, and started thinking deeper about Mitch and Joe Pistell ‘s rebuttals to cross-comparing site conversion ratios between industries. When Mitch posted some actions a customer might take after visiting a dealer website (call an untrackable local phone number, visit the store, etc.) it made me think: he’s right and how silly is that! We don’t give credit to some online ventures that are doing exactly what they’re supposed to do – mainly our own website. We do this because it isn’t easily track-able. Of course, we did this to the traditional medias as well, but keep reading….
If your paycheck is directly tied to what can be proved as a clear and concise contact history inside a CRM, is this fair to you? Did you send your customer an email, or a series of emails, with value proposals? Did you leave a voice-mail saying something about the latest deal on the lot? Did that customer ask for you when he or she walked in the door, but an old “Earl” salesperson gave the customer a reason why he or she should deal with him instead? Did Earl say the customer was a “drive by”? These scenarios are also untackable. I wonder if we’re paying our Internet personnel on the wrong principles?
In that same “Myth” article, T.J. posted some advice for Joe on three methods that have helped him boost Internet sales (Instant Chat, Online Coupons, and a trade appraisal). T.J. – please don’t take offense to this, I could be on the totally wrong track here, and we’ve all done it ourselves. This got me thinking about how we are putting our customers through hoops because our pay plans are structured toward “Internet sales”. It has been my experience that customers can’t stand trade appraisals – it creates a confrontational environment before they even show up. Online Coupons are an annoying pop-up and most intelligent customers know they could have negotiated that amount off anyway, so all it does is knock another couple hundred dollars off every deal. However, I am a fan of instant chats! Anyway, our pay plans are driven to create more conversion so we have more customers to talk to. They drive us to take advantage of ventures that may upset the customer or not be in the dealer’s best interest because we’re working a pay plan.
Working a pay plan is good if you’re in a traditional position, and can be if you’re in an eCommerce position as well, but I’m not sure we’ve structured these things in everyone’s best interest yet. My point is, we are in positions to influence online advertising ventures for the dealer. The dealer has based our pay plans on track-able “Internet sales”. What advertising ventures are we influencing? Are these ventures fair to the dealer? Is your pay plan structure fair to you?