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CRM email deliverability isn't the problem

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,804
1,426
113
First Name
Alex
I've been a total asshole to CRM companies since 1999 when I had to use my first automotive CRM. And I championed some specific issues to get pissy about over the last 20 years. One that is still unforgivable is a way to measure the quality of communications, but I'll leave that for another day. Today, I owe CRMs an apology for how many times I've screamed about their poor email deliverability.

My eyes are being opened through my own product and some data conversations with @jon.berna.

Emails are getting to customers' inboxes for the most part. The problem is the content of the email. Berna dropped the FQR acronym during our last phone call. FQR = First Quality Response, but Jon was actually using it to explain what really happens. FQR = FIFTH Quality Response. After 5 attempts have been made (not to count all the automated crap) dealers finally give the customer what they originally asked for. And by then it is way too late. The customer has already been trained to ignore your emails and caller ID at that point.

We have a few dealers who do not want to give the customer a quote on the first pass even though the call to action says "Get my price" in some shape or another. Then send a quote out of our system on the 3rd or 5th email and the open rates (we can measure it) are less than 10%. But the dealers that send a quote out of our system on the first pass see open rates well over 50%. And when the customer is actually paying attention to you, magical things follow.

It is proving to me that CRMs don't have email deliverability issues like I thought they did. Dealers have quality content issues in their emails... and I was guilty of that too.



P.S. this is not a sales pitch. This is a plea to get you to start giving the customer what they want.
 

ChrisR

Refresher
Oct 12, 2015
135
113
43
First Name
Christian
I found a deliverability issue with our CRM emails, however, it was primarily due to having private registration on the domain we used for emails. Now that we fixed that, there is only q.com that will not let my emails through, no matter what I do.

Otherwise, subject lines get the open, quality content in the body get the clicks/responses.

Overall, for 2019 YTD, we're seeing a 23% open rate on all emails.

This is where reporting in CRMs needs work (looking at subject line performance report in Vin):
- 97 emails sent - 0 opened, yet 6% were replied to
- 19 sent - 0 opened, yet 3% replied to
- and on and on.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,804
1,426
113
First Name
Alex
- 97 emails sent - 0 opened, yet 6% were replied to
- 19 sent - 0 opened, yet 3% replied to.
Open rate measurements are impossible to be accurate with. The ONLY way to truly gauge opens is if the customer clicks a trackable URL in your email, SMS, or social media message. I think you know that Christian, but I'm putting it out there for the lurkers who may not.

You are also hitting on the main beef I have with CRMs today: there is no measure of quality. I believe that is one of the biggest reasons why closing ratios are trending down. We can measure the shit out of response time. We can measure the number of touches, but measuring the quality of the job being performed is lost in technology.

Here's a simple metric any CRM system already has, but they don't show it in a report. How many of my emails are being responded to?

# of email responses ÷ # of emails sent = a measure of the quality of email content ...and salespeople can't game it!

I had to use a combination of reports in the old iMagicLab CRM to figure it out manually during my Checkered Flag days. And by managing to that number I discovered SO MANY things our sales agents were doing. One of our salespeople was sending this email:

Subject: FU
Body: Hello [CUSTOMER NAME], I just wanted to follow up with you to see how things are going.

The open rate was phenomenal. The response rate was less than 3%.

That was one out of hundreds of sales and BDC people I had the oppotunity to 1:1 coach. But I never would have known to do that had I not been able to know what to look at.
 
Reactions: Zhendrix

ChrisR

Refresher
Oct 12, 2015
135
113
43
First Name
Christian
Open rate measurements are impossible to be accurate with. The ONLY way to truly gauge opens is if the customer clicks a trackable URL in your email, SMS, or social media message. I think you know that Christian, but I'm putting it out there for the lurkers who may not.

You are also hitting on the main beef I have with CRMs today: there is no measure of quality. I believe that is one of the biggest reasons why closing ratios are trending down. We can measure the shit out of response time. We can measure the number of touches, but measuring the quality of the job being performed is lost in technology.

Here's a simple metric any CRM system already has, but they don't show it in a report. How many of my emails are being responded to?

# of email responses ÷ # of emails sent = a measure of the quality of email content ...and salespeople can't game it!

I had to use a combination of reports in the old iMagicLab CRM to figure it out manually during my Checkered Flag days. And by managing to that number I discovered SO MANY things our sales agents were doing. One of our salespeople was sending this email:

Subject: FU
Body: Hello [CUSTOMER NAME], I just wanted to follow up with you to see how things are going.

The open rate was phenomenal. The response rate was less than 3%.

That was one out of hundreds of sales and BDC people I had the oppotunity to 1:1 coach. But I never would have known to do that had I not been able to know what to look at.
Nailed it, just like attribution software, a lot of it comes down to a guess, and intuition, since we aren't able to 100% track opens, sourcing, influences to a lead/sale, etc.

Now to dive back into more data and see what opportunities we may be missing out on.
 

Christine Plunkett

Getting Refreshed
May 27, 2010
45
63
18
First Name
Christine
I'd like to personally kill all the auto-responders with fire. Bye Kate. So long Anna. Later Brittany. Dealers must get a real live human person to send some valuable information on the FIRST response or just hang it up. The group effort doesn't seem to work well either. There needs to be one person at the store who eats, sleeps, and breathes internet leads. Get yourself a lead champion, empower that person to whip crack for everyone else involved in the lead response processes and stand back. Oh.. and maybe arm them all with a tool that makes it SIMPLE to send price, loan, and lease quotes in the first pass. Maybe also one that asks what they want for their trade... and how much they want their monthly payment to be. Perhaps?? ;)
 

john.quinn

Sr. Refresher
Dec 2, 2009
991
614
93
First Name
John
I like auto-responders as an acknowledgement that the email/lead has reached the right place -- with the acknowledgement that it is, in fact, an auto-responder: "Just a quick auto-responder to let you know that we have, in fact, received your request and will be responding as soon as possible." Let the customers know that the the form they just sent to cyber space found home...

This concept of FQR (First Quality Response) REALLY resonates with me -- we experimented with and stumbled upon a real winner back in the day, and our conversations, appointments and sales SOARED. Today, more than ever, I think customers are testing dealerships with lead submissions, and most dealers are failing the test. Dealers who can and do respond with something valuable and distinguished pass the test and have more actual conversations.

I mean, it's not rocket science: give the customers a good reason to talk to you, and they will, right??

"I'll call you to gather a little information and set a time to meet for a test drive" isn't much of a reason to return a phone call...
 

Zhendrix

Getting Refreshed
Apr 22, 2009
70
80
18
First Name
Zach
I like auto-responders as an acknowledgement that the email/lead has reached the right place -- with the acknowledgement that it is, in fact, an auto-responder: "Just a quick auto-responder to let you know that we have, in fact, received your request and will be responding as soon as possible." Let the customers know that the the form they just sent to cyber space found home...
Here's a simple auto-responder that we have tested and seen work... Like @Alex Snyder said, it's tough to understand open rate conversions without clickable URLs, SMS, or Social, etc.

Privacy auto-responder
Subject:
Was that you [customer first name]?
Body (paraphrased): We take privacy seriously. We just wanted to confirm that you [insert call to action/customer question] on a [insert make/model/trim]. [Insert simple Yes/No button with trackable URL]. Thank you! We will be following up with you shortly.

If you don't want to create a "button" that has a trackable URL then simply just ask the question. A lot of customers simply respond "YES" in text and bingo... Cue the Marvin Gaye and let the bi-lateral consensual two way communication love making begin. :)
 
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Reactions: john.quinn