The Digital Dealership, Your Audience: Operations, Part 3
Guest writer Mets Kramer continues to explore all aspects of your audience in the digital dealership with Operations. This is Part 3 of his series.
In the last blogs about The Digital Dealership, we looked at the concept of your “audience”, and how an information driven dealership applies information to addressing your intended audience. The term, Audience, has become more popular in modern digital marketing platforms, but the concept is not new. Even with old style billboards which line the side of highways, the Audience has always been the people driving down the road.
A focus on your intended Audience makes a lot of sense when thinking about email campaigns, marketing or social media, but it’s equally valid when looking at day to day operations. Audience consists of the customers and the people who work for our customers. The Audience consists of owners, managers, site supers, maintenance people and even, accounting. Each one of these segments are part of an audience that largely consists of people already doing business with your dealership.
This Audience already knows who your dealership is, but also know more about this audience segment than your prospects and the unknown audience. Knowing your audience means you have information about the contacts. It means you can connect with and forward them more detailed information to enhance your connection and grow in engagement.
Let’s look at an example, related to something we’ve looked at before: your website.
The first thing you should consider is, “If I know the customers who visit my website, why are they there?” Each one of your customer contacts have a purpose of why they visit your website. If they are in service or maintenance, they likely need service help or parts; if they are supervisors or managers, they likely need equipment; if they are in accounting, they need ecommerce.
Just like we often have multiple entrances to our physical dealership, we should also provide our Audience with the same accessibility to the online dealership. Either use specific URLs, for example, “parts.mysuccessfuldealership.com”, or alternatively, and more effectively, recognize returning site visitors and automatically take them to the last place they went, or where they most frequently go. This uses the information you know about the customer and improves the ease of doing business.
Considering your audience and applying information happens in the dealership operations side too. Many dealers already do this when merchandizing. You place products in the parts department targeting a known audience segment, typically technicians. Since this assumption is generally correct, items they need are likely to sell. The Digital Dealership is about collecting and using information, enabling a customized or granular interaction.
For example, imagine a customer or a technician comes in to buy parts. Do you collect their contact information and confirm their role? Do you provide information based on the provided machine serial number on maintenance requirements, parts needed for maintenance on indicators from telematics about potential issues? If not, do you email the customer’s service manager that a technician came in and additional items might be required. If the pickup is by a small contractor and the owner comes in, providing this information creates numerous additional opportunities. Collecting small pieces of information about each transaction creates the opportunity for a customized and more valuable experience. And who doesn’t want that!
In the early 2000s, when most manufacturers were bringing their online parts systems to market, it was immediately recognized that parts sales through online systems were around 10% higher than instore sales. Users went in to find the new pump they needed, but because a diagram was shown of related parts or a list of seals and fasteners was provided, the users also selected and purchased those items. If you have purchased on Amazon, you’ve no doubt seen the “Customers also Bought” section. This is an example of using information learned from past activities to help customers and increase sales.
Collecting information on known contacts, can also provide other opportunities to target messages to your Audience. Most dealers know if their customers are large or small and who are the recipients of invoices. Knowing this should change the additional items on the invoice. If invoices go to your Accounting or AP@mycustomer.com, then include messaging on finance related items like ecommerce options, financial payment integration or similar options. For small customers, when invoices go to the owner, include information on equipment replacement, service needs on their fleet and the like.
In each of these cases, the Digital Dealership collects information on the who they are interacting with to grow the knowledge base and develop actionable information. It applies this information to each transaction or interaction with their customer, throughout the operation. The Digital Dealership places information at the right place and at the right time for team members to make decisions and provide value to the customer.
In 2018, I did my first presentation at AED. It was called “A Granular, Data Driven Approach to Strategic Sales”. We looked at how placing customer equipment data, plus live market pricing data or operating cost information, in the hands of the sales rep which changed the relationship of Sales Rep to Trusted Advisor, giving the Dealership a permanent seat at the table. Arriving at a customer site with valuable and actionable information opened access to the customer much faster than hats and lunches. The presentation also provided a model for using customer transaction and fleet data to predict replacement equipment sales. More importantly, this data provided a much more accurate sales opportunity forecast and inventory model.
The common phase, “You do 80% of your sales with 20% of your customers”, means 80% of your customers likely don’t hear from you enough or experience enough value to keep them from going elsewhere with each purchase. Applying valuable information about your Audience throughout your dealership operation can change that.
This year, I’ll be presenting at AED again on the whole Digital Dealership concept. If you are interested in the idea of “A granular data driven approach to strategic sales”, I’m available to present this idea or other Digital Dealership aspects at your next sales meeting to help your team think like a Digital Dealer.