9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog
Where automotive meets digital marketing.
Take a minute or two to imagine a world where everybody wants what you're selling. Your barber, your golf buddies, your neighbors, and every person you pass on the street all eagerly demand your goods and services.
Was that fun? I hope so.
Now, back down on Earth, we need to talk about lead qualification. Because here in reality, only some people want what you're selling, and only some of them can pay for it, and only some of that them will pick you over your competitors.
Here's where a healthy sales funnel, focusing on the right potential customers, is vital to your return on investment (ROI).
Learn How Lead Qualification Impacts ROI
When you go fishing for a certain catch, you don't want to waste time on any of the others. If you're looking for walleye, you don't bait for panfish. If you're trolling for trout, every second you reel in a carp or bullhead is a second you could have been casting.
Lead qualification is the process by which you determine whether someone is worth pursuing for a sale. It can involve both your assessments of a lead's credibility and the hoops they're willing to jump through.
There are many reasons to narrow and qualify the leads in your sales funnel. The best formula for your business is to put time into only the worthwhile leads, so you aren't paying your sales staff to chase dead ends.
When I fish, the bait and lures I use are already helping me qualify what fish will be coming in. Even before that, the body of water I choose is helping me select what is available to catch.
And if my rod is rigged with 30-pound test fishing line, there's a limit to how big a trophy I can mount on the wall.
The point being — there are plenty of fish out there. As a fisherman, I ought to know which ones I'm interested in and tailor my approach to getting in front of them.
As a marketer for your business, you need to do the same.
Know When to Let Leads Pass
Not everybody with whom you come in contact is interested in what you're selling — whether that disinterest is momentary or perpetual. If you are walking down the street, inviting every person you encounter to test drive a new SUV, you've made a critical mistake in your marketing approach.
Instead, you should have an array of baits and lures — like your website, Facebook ads, and search ads — that draw interested leads to you. Then, you need to thin the herd further to find the warm leads worthy of a salesperson's time.
Along the four major phases of the car buyer's road to purchase are several opportunities to qualify leads.
Are contacts engaging with pricing materials and quote request forms? How many vehicle detail page (VDPs) have they looked at?
It's all about making sure you've provided enough hurdles so that you know the folks jumping over them are worth contacting, booking for an appointment, and pitching to.
If they don't meet your criteria for a good lead, don't waste your time.
Trim Your Funnel
In this look at the digital sales funnel for auto dealers, I break down the average touchpoints car buyers go through before making a purchase. Find the ones that match up for your store, identify any others, and build your funnel around that path.
For example, if you have trouble serving people with bad credit, you might not follow up with the folks who read all your bad-credit-related articles — or you might make them qualify in multiple ways before following up.
Similarly, if someone hops on your Honda site and says they want a new Subaru, you may be able to swing them into a Civic anyway — but if it's going to take more time with less chance for success than following up with leads who actually want a Honda, you may need to let that Subaru lover go.
It's all about trimming your sales funnel to work as effectively for your store as possible.
Don't try to fit square pegs in round holes. Get the squares out of the way by targeting Facebook ads at relevant audiences and by requiring either a submission on a landing page form or a minimum number of pages viewed before reaching out to an online lead.
Qualify Top to Bottom of the Sales Funnel
Need help thinning the herd and finding the real buyers among your website's clicks?
That's what we do!
You can read more about our lead qualifying success in our case studies, start to DIY with our best tips and tricks using 9 Clouds Live (our on-demand tutorial videos for digital automotive marketing), or sign up to request a free assessment of how your online efforts are working.