Until the day that robots rule the earth, the key to increasing lead to sale conversion will always vary due to a little thing called human nature. While many sales agents excel at using online methods to interact with customers, many others may not thoroughly understand the expectations or best practices. The result often leads to a huge performance gap between your top-achievers and the rest of your online sales force, that simply can’t be understood by looking at surface level data alone.
Today, AutoDeal has agents on the platform with conversion rates ranging from 0.1% all the way up to 33% and while many factors like buyer geo-location and product type might create some degrees of variance, the simple metric of response time continues to be the most significant contributor in affecting overall sales performance.
As a means to further explore this, we tracked data from AutoDeal’s top 100 remitting partner dealers over the course of Q1 2017 to examine the correlation between response time and sales conversion.
While having dealers actively remit sales data is not the most accurate means of measuring conversion; initial data has shown a trend that sales conversion does improve as response time decreases. In addition, when examining changes in response time, we noted that dealers who made drastic changes over a 3-month period (reducing their response time by more than 80 hours) noted an increase in conversion rate by 3%. In comparison, those dealers whose response time increased by 12 hours or more, indicated an average drop in conversion by 0.5%.
While the coefficient of determination for this study is not yet incredibly high; a trend appears to be developing. However, it may be prudent to suggest that additional variables will help plot an accurate game-plan for influencing conversion rate.
Agent Level Conversion
In addition to the dealer-level data; we also ran the same test on agent level data as a means to eradicate the influence of poorly performing agent accounts within dealer-level data sets (in short, to prevent agents with extremely poor engagement from influencing results). Data for this, was taken from 183 sales agents who actively remitted sales data during Q1 2017.
As similarly indicated in the dealer-level data; when correlating agent response time with agent sales conversion, we already begin to see a trend developing.
What other variables might be worth exploring?
While we respect the importance of response time, it is worth pointing out that it is a metric that can be very easily abused. Massively reducing response time by sacrificing the quality of your responses may lead to unnecessary frustration for the customer, resulting in detrimental conversion rates.
The ability to more accurately evaluate the quality of content being sent to prospective customers may help uncover more secrets. If you’re looking for more info on this, be sure to check out our feature on the best and worst responses to online inquiries.
Follow Up Protocol (Effort)
Essentially, some people are just better at sales than others. Being able to measure the effort and determination of your sales staff might be another variable to add to the formula. If sales agents are actively engaging in follow-up protocols, could this significantly influence end-goal conversion? A gambling man would say yes.
Ultimately finding end-goal sales conversion is a tricky business that requires a particular level-of-engagement in order to uncover the true metrics. With this said, we encourage our partners to only invite sales agents that are both optimistic and competent about the results they can generate for themselves from online sales leads. You will find that not every agent in your dealership will feel comfortable or possess the relevant skills to score well when it comes to conversion rate. Trimming down the herd to a select number of competent internet-sales-managers and investing thoroughly in their training should be top of mind for dealers looking to achieve the best actualized business results from their online campaigns.
As such, we strongly encourage all of partners at the manager level to regularly check sales agent performance data within your AutoDeal dashboard. These useful insights will enable you to check your agents response time, response quality, and end-goal conversion rate in real time at the click of a button. With the recent addition of additional lead-funnel features; such as the ability to monitor when prospects become loan approved or complete a test drive, AutoDeal can provide even more pressing data to help your dealership better understand how your prospects are behaving.
In closing, understand that these things do take time. As a whole, sales volumes are increasing and those dealers making active changes and enhancements to their processes are those that are constantly increasing their conversion.