Competition in the automotive industry is kicking into high gear, creating big challenges for marketers and sales teams. To thrive in this environment, you need to supercharge your strategy and put the pedal to the metal. (Don’t worry, the pace of car puns will only accelerate from here. See, there’s another one!)
Automotive marketers are facing a saturated digital advertising landscape, where each lead costs more than ever. Salespeople, meanwhile, are under increasing pressure to convert these expensive leads. Revenue teams also need to ensure they’re providing seamless conversion paths along the way, since customer experience expectations have gone from 0 to 60.
To meet these challenges, automotive marketers and sales teams are using conversation intelligence. This solution uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze phone conversations between sales agents and customers. Marketing and sales teams can use these insights to improve buying experiences, increase media efficiency, and push more leads across the finish line.
Buckle your seatbelts — we’re about to show you how automotive marketing and sales teams use conversation intelligence to fuel revenue growth.
While automotive consumers will typically begin their buying journey by doing research online, the phone call is a critical piece of their selection process. According to the Invoca Buyer Experience Report, 61% of automotive consumers are likely to call when making a purchase. These callers are valuable leads, as they typically convert faster and make larger purchases than web leads.
The call volume to automotive businesses is high, with the average Invoca automotive customer receiving tens of thousands of calls per month and larger dealer networks getting hundreds of thousands of calls. Hiding in those calls is rich first-party data that can help you improve your marketing campaigns and increase your sales close rates.
Below, we’ll break down how leading automotive brands are using conversation intelligence to supercharge marketing conversions, increase sales close rates, and pave the way to seamless customer journeys.
As mentioned earlier, the automotive advertising landscape has never been more saturated. US automotive ad spend is projected to grow 11.4% in 2022, making it harder than ever to cut through the noise and drive conversions. As a result, cost per lead now hovers around $205 — talk about sticker shock!
To gain a competitive edge, marketers are using conversation intelligence data from phone calls to optimize media spend and enhance personalization.
Most automotive marketers use clicks to optimize their media spend and inform their bidding strategies. But online conversions only tell part of the story — especially in the automotive industry, where consumers frequently call to schedule test drives, set up repair appointments, and make purchases. To understand the true performance of your campaigns, you need to attribute each call conversion to the marketing campaign, landing page, or keyword that drove it.
When you have call tracking software, you can calculate your full campaign ROI and your true cost per acquisition for each campaign. You can integrate this data into Martech tools like Google Ads and Search Ads 360 to inform your automated bidding strategy. You can then allocate more spend to the campaigns that are truly driving the most revenue — both online and over the phone. You can also cut wasted spend on campaigns that are driving a lot of non-sales related calls.
As a result, you’ll get more bang for your buck from your marketing dollars. You’ll have the data to prove your results — this will allow your sales team to see all the quality leads you’re sending to them. You can then collaborate closely to ensure these leads make it across the finish line.
As a marketer, the brand experience also falls under your jurisdiction. And this has never been more important — 32% of consumers say that they’ll leave a brand they love after just one bad experience. You can no longer lean on brand loyalty, you must give every customer a personalized experience that makes them feel valued and known.
First-party data is critical for fueling personalization. The more first-party data you have at your disposal, the better you can tailor consumer experiences based on past interactions with your brand. But you may be overlooking one of the richest sources of first-party data — phone conversations. In these interactions, consumers are literally telling you exactly what they want and how to make them happy. With a conversation intelligence solution, you can capture these insights at scale and integrate them with tools like Salesforce and Adobe Experience Cloud to enhance personalization.
Once you have conversation intelligence data at your fingertips, you can use the content of phone conversations to personalize all digital touchpoints. For example, if the caller expressed interest in the Nissan Altima over the phone but didn’t schedule a test drive, you could retarget them with ads showcasing the Nissan Altima. You could even tailor the messaging of the ads to emphasize the specific value props they mentioned — for example, safety features. When they revisit your website, you could also feature the Nissan Altima in the hero image — and, if you really wanted to sweeten the deal, you could add a special financing offer.
When you personalize experiences like this, you delight consumers. You also create seamless journeys that increase your chances of driving conversions from your marketing campaigns.
Automotive consumers have higher experience expectations than ever — if you’re a multi-location dealer or repair company, it can be hard to ensure great experiences across all your locations. One of the biggest mistakes automotive businesses make is that they’re dropping the ball before the caller even gets a chance to speak to an agent. According to our recent buyer experience study, 79% of people are rerouted at least once when they call a company. If you’re not sending callers to the right agent or location on the first try, you’re already setting them up for a bad experience. This will make it harder for you to earn their business and long-term loyalty.
To exceed customer expectations in 2022, cutting-edge car dealers and auto repair businesses are intelligently routing each phone call based on digital intent to the best agent or location to handle it. Tools like Invoca can track the webpage, ad, and other interactions that drive each call and automatically send it to the most relevant destination to handle the inquiry. For example, calls from limited-time promotional ads get routed to a sales agent. Calls from the FAQs page get routed to a support agent.
If desired, you can also set up a whisper message so that your agent or salesperson knows the context of the call before they even greet the customer. This will allow them to better tailor the interaction to win the sale or provide top-notch customer service.
Automotive marketers are spending more budget than ever to drive leads — this puts increasing pressure on sales teams to turn those leads into revenue. Because, in this competitive environment, every conversion counts.
To increase close rates and drive closer collaboration with marketing, leading automotive sales teams use conversation intelligence software.
One of the most difficult and time-consuming processes for automotive sales teams is quality assurance. QA is critical to ensure that when marketing sends you quality leads, your team handles them correctly. It’s also important because it helps you ensure that each of your locations is maintaining corporate standards for customer service. But the process is often time-consuming and fraught with human error. Not to mention, the average QA team can only review a small portion of calls, leading to inaccuracies — they may be catching your best agents or locations on their worst days or vice versa.
To automate and scale QA, automotive businesses are using conversation intelligence platforms like Invoca. With this solution, you can use AI to automatically score each sales call. You can set your own criteria for call scoring, such as if the agent used an appropriate greeting, mentioned a current promotion, asked for the sale, and mentioned a recommended upsell. This ensures you’re making accurate judgments based on all your calls, not a small sampling. It also allows sales leaders to spend more of their time strategizing and coaching agents, rather than listening to calls.
In addition, agents get access to their scores in real time, so they can track their own performance. They’ll see which areas they’re nailing and which need a little extra work. This gives them transparency into their performance and the autonomy to take the right steps to improve it.
You’ve probably had the frustrating experience of calling a company and being sent to voicemail. You may be thinking “I know MY company picks up the phone when people call” — but unfortunately, you may be wrong. According to our data, automotive companies let 23% of their calls go unanswered on average.
When you miss sales calls, you waste all the campaign dollars your marketing team spent driving those phone leads. This lowers marketing ROI and increases cost per conversion. It also cuts into your bottom-line revenue.
To correct this problem, leading automotive businesses use Invoca’s Lost Sales Recovery feature. This tool gives sales teams complete transparency into how many calls their locations are missing. You can then use this data to diagnose issues and determine the best next steps to increase call answer rates.
With Invoca’s real-time reports, automotive marketers can make the right changes to decrease missed calls. Some common pivots include:
Invoca’s Lost Sales Recovery feature also prioritizes your missed sales calls using intent data. For example, it flags high-intent callers who called from an online shopping cart or an ad for a limited-time promotion. It can also sort callers based on the IVR keypresses they entered. This helps you determine who you need to follow up with first, and if the follow-up should be done by a sales or support agent.
We have a customer that’s a large automotive repair and tire retailer with over 1,200 locations across North America. They get over 670,000 calls per month with a healthy 40% sales opportunity conversion rate, so they’re doing a huge amount of volume and there’s tons of potential in every one of the calls they get.
Like most businesses, they were unaware of the volume of calls that were going unanswered across all their locations. Using Invoca, they found that they were missing over 8,000 calls per month. With an average $220 ticket value per call, that was a huge leak in the funnel. Actually, it was a $16 million a year leak in the funnel.
They were then able to use Invoca’s transparent reporting to fix the issue. They created the right sales incentives, improved training, and updated their phone system to reduce unanswered calls. As a result, they prevented millions of dollars of future revenue from being lost.
With over 300 locations, AutoNation is America’s largest and most admired auto retailer. In an average year, they sell over 500,000 new and pre-owned vehicles and service nearly five million customers. Its mission is to deliver the most customer-focused sales and service environment in automotive retail. AutoNation uses Invoca to capture first-party data from phone calls and create seamless digital-to-call experiences.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold in the U.S., the vehicle buyer journey changed dramatically. Buyers were shopping online and placing phone calls to dealerships, rather than visiting brick-and-mortar locations. It became more important than ever for AutoNation to understand each customer’s needs and create a unified omnichannel experience for them. To accomplish this, they used Invoca to capture first-party data from phone conversations. They then combined Invoca’s conversation intelligence data with data from their digital channels to get a 360-degree view of every customer.
“The car buyer journey is different for everyone — some people want safety features and others want performance. Invoca has helped us tap into phone conversations so we can understand each buyer’s unique needs,” said Marc Cannon, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Experience Officer at AutoNation. “As a result, we can deliver a truly peerless car buying experience.”
With Invoca, AutoNation sends buyers personalized marketing campaigns touting the type of features they mentioned over the phone. AutoNation also gives its sales agents access to those insights, so they can tailor the conversation to win the sale. This creates a seamless omnichannel experience that makes every customer feel acknowledged and valued.
Invoca’s conversation intelligence platform helped AutoNation not only survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but truly thrive. AutoNation had its best quarter in company history in Q2 of 2021, and the company is poised for future growth as it continues to open new locations and increase its used car inventory.
Want to learn more about how conversation intelligence gives automotive businesses a competitive edge? Download our Ultimate Guide to Conversation Intelligence or request your personalized demo today.