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How long does it take to answer a lead?

Dan Sayer

Boss
Dec 4, 2009
173
161
Awards
1
First Name
Dan
Time to respond is one of those KPI's that I hate to lead with when speaking to sales people. I've found that speed can kill. Whenever we've beaten any department over the head with "time" (even recon) we get a lower quality product. If I see average response times of 5 minutes, I can guarantee a phone task got pencil-whipped or a crappy template got fired out. I would be happy to see a sub 10-minute average but hand-in-hand with a 25-30% Appointment Scheduled rate (as a percent of leads). I usually only get to response time metrics with a team if all other points don't show an obvious failure point. i.e. made quality attempts on all channels which includes engaging custom email, great voicemail, and text with video all with call-to-action. If those are being completed but KPI's like Contact Rate and Appointment Scheduled is low, then I go to Time. Obviously, you can do all the aforementioned well but if you wait a couple hours to make the attempt, the customer may have already moved on.
 
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Steve Roessler

Lot Lizard
Feb 15, 2016
37
14
First Name
Steve
Regarding lead count, it's kinda interesting as dealers do "Stretch" that metric at dealerships. I see it everyday. 1 person with 300 leads is out there more than people realize (cradle to appointment mostly). NADA recommends 125- 150 leads/BDC = Cradle to Appointment. Cradle to Grave = 60-80. With dealerships spending nearly 60% of their money on payroll, no wonder why they stretch it.

On lead response time, OEMs are saying they see better results 15 min - 30 min. I would always think of response time more as the "engagement challenge". Once you get the engagement, keeping the customer talking with you (example via Text) creates the customer experience. As many times as I have secret shop dealers, I rarely get a text. Always a email template with a call. Looking for my first Fax or page though. :)
 

Marc Lavoie

3rd Base Coach
Jan 3, 2019
189
132
First Name
Marc
With the right systems in place, 400 new leads a month is super low. On our Virtual BDC side, we handle well north of 1,000 new leads per month per "agent". And here I'm excluding "Mass" activities (Email/SMS).

This can't be achieved unless you have a strong process & tools to make it happen. Every dealer can achieve that by the way, it's just a matter of commitment & priorities (y)
 

Dan Sayer

Boss
Dec 4, 2009
173
161
Awards
1
First Name
Dan
With the right systems in place, 400 new leads a month is super low. On our Virtual BDC side, we handle well north of 1,000 new leads per month per "agent". And here I'm excluding "Mass" activities (Email/SMS).

This can't be achieved unless you have a strong process & tools to make it happen. Every dealer can achieve that by the way, it's just a matter of commitment & priorities (y)
@Marc Lavoie not counting your bots, how many leads do you think a human BDC rep should handle each month and how many for a human cradle-to-grave Internet Sales rep? And, what should the rate of Lead to Appt Set be for BDC, for Internet Sales, and for a bot be?
 

Chris Vitale

Full Sticker
Jul 7, 2016
26
32
First Name
Chris
This is fascinating to me because the days of plowing through leads with auto responders, progressive workflow templates with a single drop in, etc. are over in my humble opinion. Speaking both from someone that just was in the market for a new car (wife was) and someone that oversees between 500 and 1,000 mystery web shops monthly (ongoing retail and onetime wholesale initiatives) I can tell you there's such a disappointing difference between a truly engaged sales pro and an overwhelmed CRM checkbox clicking jockey....

Then there's the "experience" guys where everything "is what it is" and you do everything yourself. It sounds groovy to guys like us but the reality is the car buying public can't figure it out. I'm sure a test market in San Francisco and perhaps another one in New York City consisting of hipsters did well with it but that's not the entire audience nor is it even the majority of the intended audience of a dealer anywhere. These aren't shirts at Penny's but cars, the second largest purchase someone will make in their lifetime and some handholding needs to be done.

The stores that do have an appropriate staff to lead ratio which focuses on end user ease and experience simply make more deals, close at a higher rate and unlike the tech only companies (Acuity, Calendly, etc.) I don't see the picking up of the phone being removed from a franchised dealership anytime soon.

Do you guys remember GM's lovely 24 hour clock? And the ONLY iMR approved and Clock Stopping Tool you could use was ONLY available on a BlackBerry? No third party services allowed, no vacation responder tricks or you'd risk losing your EBE dollars.... This was 10 - 12 years ago. Now that was real full contact, hand to hand online selling! 2am a lead comes through, you respond, customer says "can you take a call," WHAT DO YOU DO? Money never sleeps.... You take the call.

Anyway, to properly handle a client, properly handle ongoing follow up and properly handle after sale follow up, deliveries, re-signs, issues and accessory jockying (all of which take a ton of time and falls on the salesman) I believe 60 leads is the number. Quality contact attempts, action plan actually being followed, true and meaningful connections, etc. Any less and they're not making money, any more and they're overwhelmed and quality of work suffers. Not to mention, internet or not, show me a single salesman not prospecting and selling 1 - 3 personally each month and I'll show you a salesman looking for a different job. So add those in there too.
 

Dan Sayer

Boss
Dec 4, 2009
173
161
Awards
1
First Name
Dan
overwhelmed CRM checkbox clicking jockey
But that wouldn't fit on a nametag @Chris Vitale
Great insight sir. I agree that fancy templates and bots should not be one's primary strategy if they are committed to standing out from the herd. It always comes down to people, though. We have a difficult time finding and retaining those that "get it" and are able to communicate effectively.
 
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shaughnessy2323

Green Pea
Dec 11, 2019
5
8
First Name
Chris
This is fascinating to me because the days of plowing through leads with auto responders, progressive workflow templates with a single drop in, etc. are over in my humble opinion. Speaking both from someone that just was in the market for a new car (wife was) and someone that oversees between 500 and 1,000 mystery web shops monthly (ongoing retail and onetime wholesale initiatives) I can tell you there's such a disappointing difference between a truly engaged sales pro and an overwhelmed CRM checkbox clicking jockey....

Then there's the "experience" guys where everything "is what it is" and you do everything yourself. It sounds groovy to guys like us but the reality is the car buying public can't figure it out. I'm sure a test market in San Francisco and perhaps another one in New York City consisting of hipsters did well with it but that's not the entire audience nor is it even the majority of the intended audience of a dealer anywhere. These aren't shirts at Penny's but cars, the second largest purchase someone will make in their lifetime and some handholding needs to be done.

The stores that do have an appropriate staff to lead ratio which focuses on end user ease and experience simply make more deals, close at a higher rate and unlike the tech only companies (Acuity, Calendly, etc.) I don't see the picking up of the phone being removed from a franchised dealership anytime soon.

Do you guys remember GM's lovely 24 hour clock? And the ONLY iMR approved and Clock Stopping Tool you could use was ONLY available on a BlackBerry? No third party services allowed, no vacation responder tricks or you'd risk losing your EBE dollars.... This was 10 - 12 years ago. Now that was real full contact, hand to hand online selling! 2am a lead comes through, you respond, customer says "can you take a call," WHAT DO YOU DO? Money never sleeps.... You take the call.

Anyway, to properly handle a client, properly handle ongoing follow up and properly handle after sale follow up, deliveries, re-signs, issues and accessory jockying (all of which take a ton of time and falls on the salesman) I believe 60 leads is the number. Quality contact attempts, action plan actually being followed, true and meaningful connections, etc. Any less and they're not making money, any more and they're overwhelmed and quality of work suffers. Not to mention, internet or not, show me a single salesman not prospecting and selling 1 - 3 personally each month and I'll show you a salesman looking for a different job. So add those in there too.
Coming from the GM days you speak of 10-12 years ago it was truly a "Dog Fight" and then you had those that were able to setup vacation responsders from 3rd parties to still get credit for the "24hr clock" and that was all GM was focused on for those quarterly payouts which 9 out of 10 times woud be the make or break for the Quarter. I think the first question that needs to be clarified is what exactly is the new "cradel to grave" process? With delaerships having all these various titles now ( delivery coordinators, product specalists, blah blah blah) what do each actually do ? The question of how many can someone take vs actaully effectively handle is no different than how many deals can an F&I mananger spin monthly without sacraficing PVR......I truly feel there isn't a correct answer.

To piggyback on your recent car shopping experience, I won't bore you with specifics but lets just say out of the 5 dealers I submitted requestes to NOT A SINGLE ONE got back to me with what I was asking. READ THE LEAD!! I gave them a specific stock number, tax rate, miles per year, money down and terms I was looking for, easy to quote right? WRONG, not a single one came back with a price they were all auto-genreated templates, "when do you want a test drive" or "have you been to our store before" if handling 1,000 each that way is looked at as a GREAT JOB you are sadly mistaken, because wrapping people up in an automated process even after they have replied " I bought elsewhere" isn't getting it done. I am still getting emails (canned) from GM's asking "how can we earn your business" my wife has been in the car now 2 months, yet we count those as effective follow up.

A good initial contact which addreses the customers request, a phone call within 30 minutes (under 15 if possible) followed by a personal email, text or both following up the phone call and a strong 30 day follow up regiment in CRM that slowly tapers off between day 60 and 90 is really the key. With those "basics" done out of the gate it is very feasible for 1 Internet Manager or BDC agent to work effectively 100-150 leads in a month, taking into consieration they will have another 30-50 from the previous month and 10-20 from 2 months prior. However the market changing and limited inventory and demand as of late throws all we know from the last 10 years out the window. I have dealers I talk with daily saying they have so many leads most aren't even being contacted within 24hr except with a generic "thanks for your request, someone from the store will be in touch"
 
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