Auto Dealerships Lead All Other Industries in Effective Lead Follow-Up, Conversica Study Reveals

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Annual Sales Effectiveness Report on Lead Follow-Up in the Automotive Industry also shows that there is room for improvement, as nearly 20 percent of dealers never responded to inquiries

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“Our annual report offers a snapshot of how dealerships are handling leads today and how that behavior is changing over time," said Alex Terry, CEO of Conversica.

Conversica, the leader in artificial intelligence (AI) powered business conversations and the only provider of AI-based lead engagement software for automotive dealers, has announced new findings from its 2016 Sales Effectiveness Report on Lead Follow-Up in the Automotive Industry. The report determined that, while the automotive industry as a whole performed well compared to other industries, many automotive dealerships are not hitting best-practice targets, and a significant number failed to respond to incoming inquiries at all.

There is an abundance of research on the importance of what Conversica describes as the Four Ps—promptness, personalization, persistence and performance—of successful lead engagement. The goal of Conversica’s research was to determine the extent to which auto dealers are putting this information into practice.

The Auto Industry Scores High
The study, which involved secret shoppers reaching out to 59 companies in the automotive industry (and 538 companies total), revealed that there are many things the auto industry is getting right. Of the nine industries examined, automotive had by far the highest proportion of top-tier scores, with over one-third of respondents (38 percent) receiving an overall “A” grade. Of those dealerships that did respond:

  • Nearly half (49 percent) responded within five minutes—the optimal window for qualification and conversion
  • Only six percent took more than 24 hours to respond
  • Twenty-five percent made eight or more attempts to reply to queries

Almost three quarters (74 percent) of dealerships that responded utilized all four key elements of personalization in their response: personalized greeting, specific mention of the lead’s inquiry, inclusion of specific contact information and time patterning (responses occurring at a time of day similar to the inquiry).

But Weaknesses Persist in Auto Sales Process
While the auto industry as a whole performed well compared to other industries, there was still plenty of room for improvement. One in five (19 percent) did not respond at all to a direct sales inquiry from their website, and 75 percent failed to make the eight or more attempts that research demonstrates are needed to engage an internet lead. Only two percent of dealers responded to queries with emails that were more than 90 percent likely to avoid spam filters.

“Internet leads are an expensive resource, crucial to the success of automotive dealerships,” said Alex Terry, CEO of Conversica. “Our annual report offers a snapshot of how dealerships are handling leads today and how that behavior is changing over time. We compared real-world execution with best-practice research to help dealerships see where they’re performing well but also to pinpoint processes that need to improve.”

Report Availability
To obtain a copy of Conversica’s 2016 Sales Effectiveness Report on Lead Follow-Up in the Automotive Industry, visit http://www.conversica.com/auto-4ps-research-report. To request your company or dealership be included in a future report, as did more than 100 companies last year, visit http://www.conversica.com/4ps-assessment-request.

Survey Methodology
Commissioned researchers submitted inquiries on the websites of 538 companies from nine industries and measured the promptness, persistence, personality and performance of the responses. Companies were selected by compiling rankings from sources such as Forbes, Bloomberg and industry-specific publications. This research was conducted over a one-month period, using different secret shopper personas to solicit contact from the companies surveyed.

AI to Power the Future of Auto Sales and Service
A leading provider to more than 800 auto dealers around the world, including large dealership groups such as Boch Automotive Group and the Faulkner Organization, Conversica provides a cloud-based artificial intelligence service that presents itself as a Sales or Service Assistant. This assistant reaches out to internet sales and service leads and engages each of them in a human-like conversation.

With a response rate often three to five times higher than marketing or sales emails, Conversica’s assistants significantly increase the number of quality conversations with potential and future customers and reduce the time salespeople, BDC reps and service advisors spend chasing leads. From more conversations come more showroom and service drive visits and, as a result, more dealership revenue.

About Conversica
Conversica is the leader in AI-powered business conversations and the only provider of AI-driven lead engagement software for marketing and sales organizations. The flagship Conversica® AI Sales Assistant helps companies find and secure customers more quickly and efficiently by automatically contacting, engaging, qualifying and following up with leads via natural, two-way email conversations. Conversica is used by more than 17,000 salespeople worldwide to optimize sales team productivity. Recognized by Gartner as a Cool Vendor, Conversica is a portfolio company of Providence Strategic Growth, Kennet Partners and Toba Capital and is headquartered in Foster City, Calif.
To learn more, visit conversica.com and follow the company on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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Sara Black
Bospar
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