How Sales Managers Can Elevate Next Year’s Marketing Plans
Ah, the good old days, when a sales manager could just stand back and holler at the marketing team, “Get me more LEADS!”
Remember those days? Wearing your best plaid suit, cigar swinging from your bearded mouth, whiskey dancing with a few ice cubes in your tumbler?
Okay, so it may not have looked exactly like the picture above. Still, I’m guessing you’ve at least thought about hollering at marketing for more leads. But these days, there’s a lot more you can do, so let’s roll up those plaid jacket sleeves and get to work.
(Bring the whiskey.)
Why You Need Sales and Marketing Alignment
Auto dealership marketing tools have never been as ready to align marketing and sales goals as they will be next year. As head of the sales staff, you need to get off the sidelines and communicate what your team needs now, as your marketing manager and general manager (GM) craft the budget for the year ahead.
Otherwise, you’ll have a lot of salespeople twiddling their thumbs partway through the year.
Marketing and sales alignment (or “smarketing”) means never having to go to bed angry with your marketing manager again.
Yes, their job is to get you the web traffic, phone calls, and leads that you need to move metal . . . but if you’re not involved in how they craft their marketing strategy, things are likely to get missed. At your dealership, few people have the perspective on your average and ideal customers that you, the sales manager, possess. That insight can be the secret weapon of your store’s approach to automotive digital marketing.
So instead of saying, “Dammit, [Marketing Manager’s Name]” in July, let’s talk about how you can set yourself up for year-round success by getting involved in the marketing budget process.
How Sales Managers Can Impact Auto Dealership Marketing
1. Be Willing to Learn
The first step in helping your marketing team help you is acknowledging what you don’t know. You’re busy, and you don’t have the time to learn everything. But feeling good about asking your marketing manager questions — and doing a bit of your own research — will elevate your ability to contribute.
9 Clouds provides a fully-stocked inventory of resources on Facebook and Instagram advertising, Google Ads, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and more. If you read even half of one of our eBooks, you’ll be way ahead of most of the sales managers at your competitor locations.
There’s a lot going on across the different platforms and tools that comprise a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. And things are always changing! If you ever need a pointer or update, or if you stump your marketing manager on a question, just drop us a line!
2. Share Your Insight
From your customer relationship management (CRM) system to Google Analytics to countless other sources, your marketing manager is probably swimming in data. But there is more you can do to inform it!
For example, you’ve likely let them know when the leads are no good — but are you making sure to highlight the ideal prospects who come in?
If your salespeople can identify 10 or 20 of the absolute best leads they got in a month, your marketing manager (armed with the right lead tracking and attribution tools) should be able to go back and learn what brought those shiny examples of qualified shoppers to the website or showroom. They can uncover what those ideal prospects have in common and work that into their targeting, or identify the steps in the sales funnel taken with these leads that were missed with others.
We all know there are ebbs and flows to the dealership year, and you get the incentives only a few days after each month starts.
But from your experience both on the sales floor and as the sales manager, you have a much stronger sense of what next year will look like than most. Talk through these sales trends with your marketing team so they can start mapping a strategy. It’ll certainly shift as you go, but having any preview of what’s to come can help them keep an eye on the horizon all year long, while you stay in the trenches of month-to-month sales.
3. Have Your Marketing Manager’s Back
Even in the best-aligned marketing and sales teams, there will be frustration at times. But the longer you can work with and support your counterpart on the other side of the buyer’s journey, the better both your teams will get at executing automotive digital marketing that drives sales.
I’m not just trying to say, “Get along, and success will come!” The reality is that your marketing manager can’t do much without you. The efforts of their work only profit the dealership if your sales team can capitalize on them. Marketing without sales isn’t doing anybody a favor.
So keep in mind that you can be a big help to your marketing manager! They’re often working within tight budgets and explaining their efforts to a GM or owner who hasn’t kept up with all the latest trends with SEO, Facebook ads, and other automotive digital marketing.
When your marketing manager is looking for more budget to use in getting your salespeople the leads they need to be successful, they need you in their corner to get approved. If you’re standing next to them, saying, “I think a higher Facebook ad budget is going to get me the leads I need,” that’s a much better sell to your GM.
A joint proposal for your next marketing plan means that you and your marketing manager have:
- Identified what works (and doesn’t work) together
- Aligned your goals for the coming year
- Bought into each other’s strategy
If you are managing the sales team and need your dealership or group to take marketing to the next level to meet your growth goals, you need to get in the game and be part of the solution. Your marketing results will be better for it — and better marketing means better sales.
Which means more cigars, whiskey, and plaid suits.
Need more help knowing what to ask about your marketing budget for next year? Register for our next webinar, and learn how to break it all down.Get Started Planning Your Next Marketing Budget