Article

Kentucky Toyota Dealer: Cashing-In On eCRM

December 2007, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Daymond Decker - Also by this author

Kerry Toyota, located in the Blue Grass State of Kentucky, is cashing in on a Daily Double with a combination of e-commerce and e-CRM to triple leads, appointments and sales.

Just a few months ago, Kerry Toyota was selling only 12 units per month online from their single-point location in Florence, Ky. Today, they are moving 50-to-60 units per month! How did they do it? Let’s take a look at their formula for success.

Kentucky, the home of the famous Kentucky Derby, prides itself on producing some of the nation’s finest and most successful mounts. The business development center at Kerry Toyota is like a well-trained racehorse, whose technique and strength was perfected through the repetition and development of conditioned reflexes. 

“My team and I have watched the industry change over the years, and mostly for the better. Manufacturers are building better quality products that create healthy competition. Along with it, customer's expectations from their vehicles are at an all time high.

At Kerry Toyota, we ask ourselves daily, what would we expect as a customer?” explained Tim Sparks, general manager.

Sparks made the decision to place his money on the Internet trifecta: 1) to meet the growing needs of his customers, 2) to continue to further develop to grow his dealership’s sales and profits and 3) to build a loyal base of satisfied customers. After reviewing the field, Sparks put Gary McDaniel in the jockey’s seat for Kerry Toyota’s Internet department.

With an effective digital marketing strategy, complete with the right technology, tools and extensive training, McDaniel and the BDC department at Kerry Toyota are giving the competition a run for their money. McDaniel implemented a successful technology initiative, alongside a high-impact CRM application, building value in the dealership, their products and customer relationships.

McDaniel notes, the BDC team at Kerry came out of the gates clean and in full-stride, thanks to a clear vision and a detailed strategy designed by industry partner, BZ Results.

Let’s take a look at how they did it:

The goal of Kerry Toyota’s Internet department is simple, explained McDaniel, “Convert the customer shopping online into a lead, the lead into a telephone call, the conversation into an appointment and the appointment into a sale.”

On top of the success they have seen in the incremental sales, Kerry Toyota has increased their gross per vehicle sold, from $800 to $1,500 per unit.

Any successful implementation begins with clearly defining the right strategy and action plan. The management team at Kerry met with their consultant to brainstorm market trends, dealership goals and benchmarks, in order to develop a tailored digital marketing strategy.

Next, their partner provided an effective Web site that’s capable of converting traffic into high-quality leads. “Our new virtual dealership is far more interactive and needs less maintenance than our previous…site,” McDaniel continued. “I felt like I needed to be a Web designer before, but now, there is so much that we can do right within the site.”

With a new Web site in place, Kerry Toyota needed to focus on increasing traffic to the site and to their dealership. Their digital marketing suite included organic search engine optimization (SEO) and advanced search engine placement to ensure that KerryToyota.com received top-billing. “Before partnering with BZ, our dealership didn’t even show up on popular searches. Now we’re reaping the benefits of great placement, landing in the top five listings,” added McDaniel, increasing the dealership’s quality leads to over 300 per month.

When a lead comes in, a BuzzMail with a multi-media enriched Virtual Test Drive, is sent out to keep the customer on the track. The auto responder generates a thank-you e-mail, and the BDC staff sets the appointment. The set appointment is then given to one of the three sales managers who then place a confirmation call. The BDC at Kerry Toyota is proving, with the right people and processes in place, the team can produce ever-increasing levels of success. Appointments set have tripled, and nearly 100 percent of the appointments show. When the customer arrives, they are given VIP treatment by the sales manager they spoke with, who then follows them through the entire buying process.

With the power of automation harnessed, the dealership is able to respond to their customers quickly and simultaneously. Additionally, bulk and automated e-mails allow the staff to communicate effectively throughout all stages of the ownership cycle. “We now schedule a lot of service appointments online which has generated great results and higher profits for the service department,” added McDaniel.

Just as training a racehorse involves taking into account the natural instincts of the animal in order to capitalize on them, so does the training at Kerry Toyota. With people and processes in place, the staff kicked off an intense training initiative to build skills and improve consistency, training included practicing scripts and role playing sessions.

McDaniel emphasized that the team at Kerry Toyota continues to benefit from the extensive automotive training expertise provided. Straight from the horses mouth, McDaniel exclaimed, “Their continued training is amazing!”

Tracking results is what the race is all about. Why rely on hunches or guesses, when it comes to marketing, when you can get analytical reports at the touch of a button? One of the most powerful benefits of digital marketing is the ability to monitor the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, to determine areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. “We rely on the metrics captured in our CRM tool, to tell us where the quality leads are coming from,” said McDaniel. “Imagine being able to know immediately which actual market generated the most results, and more importantly, which ones to avoid.”

Through the innovation of advanced online marketing strategies, Kerry Toyota managed to pull away from the field in the Kentucky digital derby. With the help of their finely-tuned BDC staff, Kerry Toyota is making an impression in the highly-competitive Florence market.

For Sparks and the staff at Kerry Toyota, the long-shot has paid-off. With all of the key elements in place, the pay-outs keep coming in with winning results—like monthly leads increasing from 100 to over 300 and nearly 100 percent of set appointments turning into kept appointments. These thorough and well-trained BDC team members are generating up to 50 additional sales each month.

The wager paid off. General Manager Tim Sparks’ commitment to distinction, with a 24/7/365 approach to cultivate excellence for his customers, is unbridled. Expect to hear more from this front-running Kentucky dealer.

Vol 4, Issue 10

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