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Salary for Internet Sales Manager or Director

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Alex Snyder, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    DealerRefresh receives a lot of questions from folks who are just looking for a quick answer. One that comes up quite often is "How much should the Internet _______ make?" and how do you pay that position.

    I think it is time to throw this one out to the community. So go ahead ladies and gentlemen, write your own paychecks :D

    I'll get things started...

    How much should the eCommerce Director make?

    I think the Internet Director/eCommerce Director is rapidly becoming the most critical role in a dealership (especially a group). I see things happen everyday that show where something on the Internet deeply and quickly affected volume or profit. So, the first question a dealership has to ask is how important is this position? Is it more important than a GM position? Is it on par with a Vice President? Is it just about the same as a sales manager? If you can find a comparison position on the totem pole, then you can figure out what monetary amount to pay the Intenret Director.

    By the way, I hope you give the Internet Manager more power than a sales manager.

    How do you pay him/her?

    This is one we (Checkered Flag) have been struggling with forever. A traditional business paying method is to pay for a one-to-one conversion. That's how a traditional sales staff is paid (Salesperson, Salesmanager, GM). Then you throw this fourth wheel into the mix who is claiming customers who were buying cars from you before the Internet existed and you have to ask the silly question: "Would they have bought a car from us anyway?" For a traditional car-guy this is really tough to pay on.

    So, do you pay on what was sourced through the Internet? That's a pain in the ass that requires a ton of extra work to keep track of. Between salespeople never entering the right ad source into the CRM, or skating the Internet department (mainly because they're lazy), the Intenret department is constantly searching for their own deals.

    Do you pay on site statistics? Conversion rates on your website, SEM activity, increasing the views for the service department? What other duties does the Internet Director have?

    You could adopt the concept that the Internet is a full part of your business, and as such the Internet Director should be paid on the total bottom line. Just throw a percentage point on it and see where the numbers land.
  2. Brian Tucker

    Brian Tucker Member

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    Alex- I guess everyone is sidestepping this question. I would like to spin this in a little different direction. I am curious what the consensus will be down the road for upper management positions in a dealership or even dealership ownership if a candidate does not have some type of E-Commerce/Internet Department experience. Will they be at a disadvantage vs someone that has considerable experience in the E -comm field or will it even matter? In the past the trend that I have seen seems to be sales consultant, F.I. manager, New Car Sales Manager, Used Car Sales Manager, General Sales Manager then General Manager (some of those might not be in exact order) If the General Manager excels maybe the opportunity for a stake of ownership in a new venture or possibly purchasing a franchise outright if that is a goal they seek to obtain. I would love some feedback on this!
  3. Snakejames

    Snakejames New Member

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    I was an Internet Director for a Dealership in Arizona. I restructured the internet department and increased the sale volume from 30 a month average to 50 month average. The problem that the GM had was based upon the pay program he offer me he felt I was over paid. I was only paid $2000.00 mo. for overseeing the department and commission on what I sold. I made $120k the first year. So I only recieved $24k for keeping up with 6 employees that I hired training. The autoplex still uses my internet structure and now sell over 1000 units a year, is one of the top 20 internet departments in the Nation. What should I have been paid??
  4. Jerry Thibeau

    Jerry Thibeau New Member

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    24K salary plus 96K in commission since that was deal you agreed upon. The good news, another dealer might be willing to pay you more if you can duplicate that success in another store.

    Now I am not doubting your abilities, but If I were to ask that Owner about the key to his success, would he tell me Mr. Snake James ran the best damn Internet Department west of the Mississippi? Well if the answer is "yes," then I would be asking for a raise. If you can't get what you want then it's time to shop your services to another dealer. I can't blame a guy for wanting to get ahead in life. You could also try your hand at the consulting/trainer role which I can tell you is no picnic in these tougher economic times. If you have a good product and are prepared to work with ambition and passion, there are dealers spending money. Just make sure you're able to show them results.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  5. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm glad someone brought this thread back to life....it was about to turn 1 year old with only Brian throwing in a response.

    I find it funny that over the past 10 months the question of "What should my dealership pay me" has been asked exponentially more within the Contact Us form on DealerRefresh. Not sure why folks are so scared to make this question public.

    Ladies and Gentlemen -

    You're not overpaid!

    I know your traditional boss sometimes tries to make you feel that way. That's his job! Don't think that talking about pay on a forum is going to get you in trouble. I bet your traditional boss is struggling with this as well.

    So speak up - if we can all come up with some suggestions for how we should all be paid it will only be better for all of us.
  6. tijerin

    tijerin New Member

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    Alex

    In my opinion, if you want an effective eCommerce/Internet Director, they should be paid a nice salary and then a percentage of the bottom line for the department's sales. When I say "nice salary", I certainly don't mean $2000/mo. It seems to me that most of the Internet Depts. I've come across tend to pay their Internet Directors like they pay their ISMs. For some odd reason, it seems like within the internet department structure, everyone is paid down a notch from where they should be.

    Iin example, most dealerships pay their ISMs the same way they pay their retail salespeople, via commission only. Then you graduate to the Internet Director who gets a small salary plus commissions based on his sales.

    By giving them (Internet Directors) a low salary, they are forced to make one of two choices... (focus on the departmental growth or focus on personal sales) to make a paycheck. I guarantee that most people will choose option 2 and focus on personal sales because, let's face it, we all have bills to pay.

    This "focus on personal sales" is in direct contradiction to what they should be accomplishing, assuming they really are a "Director" and not just the "best ISM" or "most senior ISM" the dealership has.

    A "true" eCommerce and/or Internet Director should be focused on way more things than selling cars. In fact, I would argue that an eCommerce Director shouldn't be selling cars personally. Don't get me wrong, when your dealership needs you because of traffic to assist a customer, everyone should get involved.

    I was an Internet Director for a long time. I certainly got frustrated with all of the things I would like to do and needed to do but couldn't because I was busy selling cars. Was that a bad thing? No. I was making a ton of money. Could I have focused more on analytics, processes, SEO, etc. I still did those things. I just had to work crazy hours to accomplish them all.

    So, in my opinion, the internet department is THE MOST IMPORTANT segment in a sales department. You don't stick your greenpeas in the ISM position (as many dealerships do), you put your experienced guys there. Going into the internet department should be a promotion! Let your Internet Directors direct and your ISMs sell.

    Your Internet Director should be the decision maker within that department. Many retail sales managers don't understand nor do they have the pulse of an internet customer and tend to want to "pencil" the deal just as they would for a retail salesperson with a customer in the box.

    I think the Internet Director position is lateral (and equal) to a sales manager and should be paid accordingly within a store. An Internet Director or eCommerce Director for an Auto Group should probably be paid on par with a GM as any good eCommerce director will have a team of ISMs accounting for 50% of your group's sales. I'd say that was a big job and, if done well, should be rewarded accordingly.

    Just my opinion.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
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  7. Rick Buffkin

    Rick Buffkin Member

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    I agree with you guys! I think and I think most will agree with me that alot of the walls we run into is that GM's and GSM's don't really grasp the strength and impact of the internet yet. Yes, most dealerships have a website. Yes, most of them have someone working the leads that they call the Internet Manager or a ISM but they are still paid like a regular sales rep. I think in order to have a successful internet dept. and get paid like you should, everyone needs to be onboard (GM, GSM, New Car Mgr., Used Car Mgr, Parts, Service, ect...). Once everyone understands the impact and strength of the internet, that's when you will see the persons income who is managing that dept go up. Think about it! Take a look at your current important positions in the dealership right now (F&I, Desk Mgr, Service Mgr, ect...) These are the traditional important positions in the dealership. Most of these positions have a pretty good pay structure based on gross profit. All of these departments have a direct impact on the dealerships bottom line. Depending on the size of that bottom line is how these managers are going to get paid. My pay structure is a very small salary to manage the groups sites and other data issues and by selling cars. The bulk of my income (95%) is from selling cars. I have a question for you guys. I'm not sure if this is the correct thread to ask it or maybe I should start a new thread. For those of you that do work at a dealership or automotive group that understands and is grasping the internet and getting paid to do it, how did you convince or prove to your boss to get on board with you. What do you think made his light bulb go off and say " Hummm maybe there is something to this internet thing. What can we do to grow it". That's what I need in my current position. I need the information to get these guys to understand the importance of the position. I think that's what alot of us that come to this forum need from you guys that have successful departments and have the full support of the GM/Owner behind you.
  8. Rick Buffkin

    Rick Buffkin Member

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    I think it all comes down to getting upper management to see the value in the position. Once they see the value they won't mind structuring a good solid pay plan for the person in that position.
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  9. Snakejames

    Snakejames New Member

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    Thanks for the response. I'm currently trying to working a deal out with the owner of a Ford Dealership. He seem to understand the concept of an effective Internet/ BDC department and how important it is to a dealership sales. His store receives 300-400 leads a month that produces 30 sales a month. He has one man to handle this.

    What proposal should I make, to build him a Internet / BDC department which will produce 60 + sales a month?
  10. Jerry Thibeau

    Jerry Thibeau New Member

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    First thing I would do is ask him to spend a day or two evaluating what's happening now. What kind of tools are they using? What's their process? Diagnose the patient and then prescribe your solution.

    What will 360 units a year add to this dealers bottom line, how much is it going to cost him/her to get there? Can you really get him/her there? Is he/she willing to fully support you?

    Lots of questions need answering Mr. Snake.
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  11. tijerin

    tijerin New Member

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    Wow! I'd say the first proposal is to get more people. In my opinion, one ISM can handle about 100-150 leads/mo and that may be pushing it depending on your processes and tools. If you deconstruct the lead at all, then that number goes even lower. My guess is that with that many leads and one guy, he's only been capturing in-market customers and/or picking off the low-hanging fruit.

    Build a BDC which could handle not only internet leads but could also handle service follow-ups and showroom follow-ups. They can handle orphan owners and previous buyers. This in and of itself will increase the ISMs time to focus more on selling.

    Then get a couple more ISMs.

    Just my opinion.
  12. Jerry Thibeau

    Jerry Thibeau New Member

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    If that one person is just making appointments and letting floor salespeople sell and deliver the car, then I would say a good Internet rep could handle 300 per month.
  13. mdhvw

    mdhvw New Member

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    The ISM is clearly becoming, if it isn't already, the most important role at the dealership.

    Does traffic come in from print or tv ads? Maybe.

    How many sales does the new/used car sales managers drive? Once they are on the lot, sure then can affect the deal flow.

    How much traffic is driven by people who check it out online? Probably just about all of it.

    The ISM drives all that traffic to your website.

    In the regular corporate world that would equate to a Chief Marketing Officer:

    Chief marketing officer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Paying you like a salesperson when in fact you are driving business for the entire dealership is not the optimal situation.
  14. tijerin

    tijerin New Member

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    Then they wouldn't be an Internet Sales Manager, but a BDC.

    If the "internet person" is in reality a BDC and they aren't doing any actual sales, the number would go up but I still think 300 leads for one person is too many. If you want to effectively work the lead, whether as an ISM or a BDC, and follow up appropriately, it's not about how many phone calls can a person make in an hour. That's what I call "burning ups". It's quality, not quantity, that will increase your closing ratios.

    Reality is though, in MOST dealerships, the internet department has salespeople that work the leads AND sell the cars.

    In that case, my statement above is my opinion on what they could handle.

    To add to that statement, the HIGHER volume that internet department is doing (ie. the ISMs are too busy selling cars and don't have enough time to properly work the leads), the number of leads each person can handle decreases. At this point, you either reduce the leads or get more personnel and you can't just stick anyone in an internet department and expect performance. An effective ISM has a certain skill set that a great floor salesperson may not. I've seen many "eagles" turn into chickens when going from the floor to the internet department.

    I've been an Internet Director for 2 different multiple rooftop dealer groups. One 9RT group which contains within the group the #1 Honda dealer in the world that sells about 1000 units/month (in the one store) and has 15 internet managers in the one store. I've also been over a dealer group with 6 RTs with a 30 person BDC and 14 internet managers. I think I have a good feeling for what a good internet manager (and a good BDC employee) can handle.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  15. danoneil

    danoneil New Member

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    Some dealers have internet people who take the lead , gets the customer in, sells and delivers the car.

    Other dealers have Internet managers or whatever you want to call the position, that is paid a salary and a flat fee for every sale made that has an internet source.

    In my store, we had one manager and 7 salespeople oversee the leads. Now we have 2 managers to handle on average 450 leads a month. We do not deliver , test drive or any thing other than make contact, set the appointments. Since we went to 2 dedicated managers, response time has increased tremendously and the quality of the templates has improved.Sale are up 45% . We keep the wesbite current, list vehicles on craigslist and just started listing on eBay as well.Constantly refining the process.

    Plus the job is less stressful than being a "on the floor" salesperson.

    I would prefer to not state what I earn. I am happy and have been earning more money than I ever have.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  16. Paul Bubar

    Paul Bubar New Member

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    Well, let me give you a little back ground on myself. I have been in the car business for 3 years now. I have been doing the "Internet Manager" job for the last year. We are a "One Price" store and we get paid a flat rate on each car. I have been doing everything by myself up until today. I have increased internet sales by at least 100%. We are a small store with about 125 cars in stock between new and used. Today I was approched by my Sales Manager with the oppurtunity to become a Internet Manager/Inventory Manager. I would be doing everything on the Internet side of things except actually selling the car. I woudl also be buying cars for our inventory from multiple sources. I can tell you we are one of the most aggressive dealers around my area when it comes to the internet.

    As for my pay plan:

    I was offered $50.00 for every car that sold off from the internet (which would mean only leads I recieve not walk in traffic) I was also offered $25.00 per car I buy. I was offered a draw pay plan of $350/week. Now I am trying to do the math in my head but I just don't see how I can survive right now on that kind of pay plan. Maybe a year down the road when our internet department is even bigger it may work.

    I have been working my tail off to get to this point and now I feel like I may be looked upon as not a vital role in the dealership. Does anyone have an idea of what I should come back with that would be fair for both the dealership and myself?
  17. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    Paul - it is a tough question to answer when you're talking about a single rooftop. In a dealer group situation I think the pay scale should *at least* be even between an eCommerce Director who oversees the whole group and a top-performing GM. But for someone who handles a single rooftop, I'd say that person should be on par with a sales manager.

    What does everyone else think?
  18. danoneil

    danoneil New Member

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    You should have a salary, not a draw. Plus a flat rate for cars sold and cars bought.
  19. Stefan

    Stefan Active Member

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    Agree !!!You should Re-write the manual they teach at the Dealer School. Maybe the upcoming eCommerce Managers have a chance! ;)


    I have a Base plus a flat fee for every car sold in the store (internet or not) plus volume bonus. The way I get paid i believe to be best or close... We pass the leads (Round-Robin) to our sales crew. This way we hope they are happy and get us accurate sourcing information! ... ... ... ... ...
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  20. Snakejames

    Snakejames New Member

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    Paul, I’m currently prospecting for a job and I have 7 years Sales Management and 4 Years Internet Director experience. I have increase sale and GPA with both jobs.
    What I’m finding currently is that dealerships are not going to pay anymore then they feel is necessary, so the power to negotiate is almost gone. I have been passed over by a few companies, because they asked me what I would like to make which was much higher what they could pay someone else with less experience.
    I know that you should be paid more, but at the same time there are several people that will work for the amount that is offered currently.
    Here my advise… ask for a small base or look for Internet Manager position that will pay you better
    Best of Luck
    David James

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