Prospecting by car dealership salespeople is making something of a comeback.
It’s doing so with digital help from companies such as automotiveMastermind, which offers predictive analytics software that can sync with dealers’ customer relationship management systems.
“As vehicle inventory levels come back, salespeople are learning to sell again,” says Bill Egan (below, left), automotiveMastermind’s vice president of product.
Prospecting was once a common dealership practice to drum up business.
Salespeople would phone customers to sell them cars. Sometimes salespersons would even go door-to-door in neighborhoods.
There’s a scant chance of today’s salespeople hitting the pavement like that. But Egan touts the idea of proactively reaching out to potential car buyers – before a competitor does.
The trick is to make the conversation mutually beneficial.
“Salespeople sometimes are reluctant to make such calls because they don’t really know what to say,” he says. “We have training teams showing people how to make these calls and convey relevant, enticing information, such as why a particular vehicle is a good deal or whether someone is in a good equity position to get a new vehicle.”
His company tracks consumer behavior and then ranks buying probability.
It does that by extracting thousands of customer data points from dealership management systems and melding them with big data from various sources. Those include social media, available financial records and buying-cycle patterns. Some of the information comes from automakers and their captive financing units.
The automotiveMastermind system then uses a scoring scale to determine the extent to to which someone is shopping for a car or when they might be in the market.
Providing such information to salespersons and training them on how to use it effectively allows them to contact prospects and converse with them more engagingly, says Egan.
His company’s automated sales and marketing platform now integrates with CRM systems from three providers. The ultimate goal is to integrate with all CRM systems, Egan says.
That platform-to-platform syncing allows dealers to better track consumer behavior, communications with customers and their purchase history.
Once an automotiveMastermind user saves a note, it’s automatically sent to the corresponding deal information in the dealership’s CRM system.
If a CRM deal does not exist, a dealership can open a new one on the automotiveMastermind platform and assign it directly to the CRM.
The idea is to make the sales process more trackable and to credit salespeople for their work efforts.
“We know how important integrations are to our dealer partners, primarily our ability to integrate with their CRMs,” says Aaron Baldwin, automotiveMastermind’s chief product officer.
CRM systems don’t typically include predictive analytics.
“But once you layer in the Mastermind data, dealership sales teams have better intel into who they should be talking to, when and with what specific messaging,” Baldwin says.
Founded in 2012 by two staffers at Mercedes-Benz of Manhattan, automotiveMastermind is now part of S&P Global Mobility.