9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog

Where automotive meets digital marketing.


What does “Lead Tracking” Mean for Auto Dealership Marketing?

Lead tracking software such as a CRM or DMS is only half the puzzle of tracking and ultimately converting leads. The data generated from tracking leads then needs to be combined with marketing software. The two tools work hand-in-hand to give marketing and sales the full picture of their contact database. Because you don’t just want leads, you want qualified leads who actually want to talk to your sales rep.

People are showing their interest in different ways than they did ten years ago. They are not flooding the showroom or even picking up the phone to call the store. Instead, they are scouring the internet to research which vehicle they want to purchase and where they want to purchase that vehicle. The average buyer visits only 1.6 dealerships while shopping, compared to 5 dealerships in the early 2000s.

Converting an internet lead is no easy feat. One important caveat that most dealerships don’t take into consideration is the fact that internet leads don’t start with a form submission. Before shoppers even see your form, they’ll run into one of your dealership’s Google ads, your Facebook page or your main website. They have a whole context of experience before they even hit the “send” button. If your sales staff defines an internet lead as a form submission, you’re missing out on several leads.

With lead curation constantly evolving, what does lead tracking look like in today’s auto market? It all starts with the data.


Collecting Data

Most lead contact info is collected from third party sites such as cars.com, Edmunds, Autotrader or carsforsale.com with a small percentage coming directly from a dealership’s own site or showroom.

While current lead data is important, collecting future lead data is also crucial. Today’s customer will enter the sales cycle again in the next 2+ years. If you provided a positive sales experience and you collected all their contact info, then you could easily be at the top of their list the next time they look for a vehicle.

All data, both old and new, is stored in a CRM or DMS database. While these databases, such as ADP or VinSolutions, have great features for lead management, they lack several behavior tracking features found in marketing software databases. To leverage the power of a CRM, our team at 9 Clouds imports data from a CRM into our marketing software. Once the contact is imported, we can track their behavior from several different touch points – emails, website visits, social mentions, video views and more.

Monitoring their behavior, the contacts can be sorted into lifecycle stages including marketing qualified lead, sales lead or dormant. Then when sending an email or placing sales calls, you can engage with the right audience. What is the point of calling a contact simply because you have their contact info? Further qualify a lead by tracking their behavior and engaging with them when they are ready.

When onboarding a new client, one of the first things we do is clean their data. Each year, about 25% of a customer database decays and those contacts are no longer worth marketing to. What’s the point in communicating with your 30,000+ contact list if a large portion isn’t listening? Behavior tracking allows you to keep your contact list fresh.


Unlocking the full potential of your CRM

With access to our clients’ CRM, 9 Clouds can regularly extract customer and lead data and import this information into our marketing automation software. Once we integrate the data, 9 Clouds can leverage everything in a CRM and help our clients market it effectively.

The lead tracking 9 Clouds provides often generates too many leads for a sales rep to actually follow up with. When that happens, 9 Clouds provides personalized follow-up for the individual customer.

As opposed to a generic follow-up, 9 Clouds can contact the customers by emailing them, running social media ads and even changing the dealer’s website to focus on the exact vehicle the lead was looking at. These follow-up messages have one clear goal: get the lead to visit the website and alert the sales rep about the lead the moment they are on the website.

Getting a lead on the phone can be a challenge. People are often tied up in meetings or away from their phones. However, if a sales rep knows the second someone is looking at a vehicle, they can call that lead immediately, knowing that they are already at their computer or on their phone, browsing inventory.


Ultimately, lead tracking saves your sales team time on the phone calling unqualified leads. Instead, it will curate the best possible lead list for them to contact and bring into the showroom.

Want to learn more about lead tracking and our best practices at 9 Clouds? Contacts us or try a 30-day demo of our marketing software.