Dealerships have an epidemic on their hands, one that’s growing out of control and killing their profits. It’s happening in every showroom from coast to coast, and the culprit is right under their nose. It’s an inside job that’s ruining marketing efforts and wreaking havoc on promotions, factory incentives and special offers
Moreover, this problem is costing every dealer a huge share of the market, along with tens of thousands of dollars each year. But we’re not talking about a software virus or some anti-automotive double agent who’s hacked into the system. We’re talking about Dirty Data - inaccurate, expired, outdated contact information that clogs the dealer’s CRM and makes running effective marketing campaigns nearly impossible - all while creating massive technical and legal headaches.
While your dealership may have made an expensive upfront and ongoing CRM investment, dirty data is living in your CRM right now, turning 88% of your organic and third party leads into profits for the competition.
This epidemic of dirty data diminishes the value of your digital leads by making it nearly impossible to contact them, let alone sell them a vehicle. And yet thousands upon thousands of these leads are simply being sucked into what the Harvard Business Review says is a $3.1 trillion black hole of residual dirty data from US businesses.
According to a recent Gartner, Inc. study, dirty data is responsible for roughly 40% of all failed business initiatives making it one of the biggest threats to new businesses. The reason? Leads were never converted into sales because the prospects never even received the message.
THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT DIRTY DATA
There are two things every dealer should know about dirty data:
1) It piles up quickly and exponentially.
2) It’s almost impossible to prevent.
A phone number is entered with a single incorrect digit, a name is misspelled, an email address is lost or altered. People change careers and even last names. Time passes and leads move across town or across the country or maybe they just get turned off by the salesman and buy elsewhere or simply lose interest. Day after day, marketing efforts are rendered ineffective and sales are lost, all because these small instances of outdated, erroneous data have now compounded in the CRM and are growing out of control.
TIME STUDY OF LOST OPPORTUNITIES
Let’s consider a local dealership that gets 1,000 entries (new leads) into its CRM per month. Based on past experiences with their CRM, they’re only able to close roughly 12-20% of these, or move 120-200 vehicles each month. This in spite of the dealership’s fantastic marketing efforts and promotions. They may even have an email drip campaign designed to contact these leads over the course of the next 30-120 days.
However, 800 out of the total 1,000 leads will never purchase a vehicle from this dealership. Why? You can start by thanking dirty data. By piling up 800 inactive leads each month, this dealership is on pace to lose roughly 48,000 opportunities over the next five years in spite of their marketing efforts. And each of these missed opportunities has a substantial dead cost associated with it. Here’s how to look at it from a microeconomics standpoint:
Total Yearly Ad Spend ÷ Total yearly entries into CRM = True Cost per Lead or (CPL)
Now take that CPL and multiply it by the amount of missed opportunities that are compounding monthly, and the resulting financial loss is staggering, no matter how many cars the dealership is selling every month. So not only is it losing sales to competitors, but it’s paying hard earned cash to do so - for every single inactive lead it accumulates.
Now, in order to convert those missed opportunities from dead, inactive or lost leads into profitable sales, this dealership’s CRM must go through a rigorous hygiene process in which dirty data is not only scrubbed and rejuvenated, but cross-referenced with clean data to fill in the gaps. However, dealerships are typically unable to conduct the long and expensive process necessary to cross-reference every lost lead in the system on their own. Most businesses simply don’t have the know-how, the staff or the additional budget to even begin this arduous task.
As a result, they simply skip the hygiene process altogether and continue to compile massive amounts of dead data, and in turn render a major portion of their CRM database useless. And by choosing not to hygiene their CRM data, these dealerships will continue to struggle to meet the demands of the auto manufacturers, and lose additional market share to their competitors, never realizing that both the problem and solution to this deficiency exists right in their CRM.
If you’re interested in learning more about the impact of dirty data in your dealership, contact me or check out our white paper.