Sell Smarter, Not Harder

Big-data sources help dealers understand customers.

Dan Smith

November 25, 2014

2 Min Read
Sell Smarter, Not Harder


In a previous blog, we explored whether auto dealers need big data. My answer was, “Yes.” So how do you get started?

First, think of a framework with the customer at the center. This will help you pick the right lens through which to view data. Who is this customer? Where is he or she in the ownership or purchase lifecycle? Is this someone who has purchased from you before? Are they qualified to buy?

Considered action starts with, “Who is the customer and what does he or she need?” Answering these questions should be the main objective of any dealer’s big-data initiative.

Chances are, you already have basic data on customers: contact information, maybe contact preferences (e.g., email instead of phone calls), what type of vehicle(s) they currently own, service history and probably some fundamental insights on what they are looking for in their next vehicle.

Here are some examples of third-party big-data sets you could merge with your in-house data:

Credit data: You may know a person is in the market for a new Chevrolet Corvette, but how do you know if they’re a qualified buyer?

Purchase credit data and append it to your own in-house data set. This data can help ensure your salespeople spend their time only with qualified prospects, and that your marketing efforts aren’t wasted on consumers who can’t afford the vehicles you’re promoting.

Auto-shopper behavior data: Data utility companies specialize in tracking click behavior across automotive websites; not just at your dealer website, but also third-party sites and competing brands.   

You can use this data to learn what competitive makes and models shoppers are considering, and how intensely they are shopping. This data will help your marketing and sales teams become more effective.

Demographic data: This might include age, marital status, number/ages of children, and employment status – all valuable insights that can help a salesperson recommend the right vehicle and allow you to better target your marketing efforts.

Buyer readiness: Services will identify buyers who are currently active in the market. You can not only match the lists with your internal database to paint a clearer picture of customers already in your pipeline, but also know when current customers have entered the purchase cycle. 

These big-data sources can help you sell smarter, not harder.

Dan Smith is chief marketing officer for Outsell, a digital-marketing software firm. He can be reached at 612-236-1500 or [email protected].

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