Car dealerships’ handling of leads outpaces other industries, according to Conversica, a provider of artificial intelligence driven lead engagement software for marketing and sales organizations.
Forty-nine percent of the dealerships in a Conversica study responded to leads within five minutes, which is the ideal window for qualification and conversion.
“Internet leads are an expensive resource, crucial to the success of automotive dealerships,” Alex Terry, chief executive officer of Conversica, said in a news release. “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.”
Conversica analysts examined nine industries and had secret shoppers visit a total of 538 companies, including 59 within the automotive industry.
In addition to the dealership lead response rate presented, the study found that only 6 percent took longer than 24 hours to respond and 25 percent made eight or more attempts to reply to queries.
“There are many things the auto industry is getting right,” Conversica said. “Automotive had by far the highest proportion of top-tier scores, with over one-third of respondents (38 percent) receiving an overall 'A' grade.”
The company said the report also shows that there is room for improvement.
Almost 20 percent of dealers did not respond at all to a direct sales inquiry from their website, according to the annual report.
“And 75 percent failed to make the eight or more attempts that research demonstrates are needed to engage an internet lead,” Conversica said.
Additionally, dealerships that are interested in being included in future reports can submit a request at http://www.conversica.com/4ps-assessment-request.
“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,” Conversica added.
“The goal of Conversica’s research was to determine the extent to which auto dealers are putting this information into practice.”
Seventy-four percent of the dealerships examined practiced the four key elements of personalization in their responses.