Inbound Sales for Dealership Businesses
Updated: Sep 7, 2018
A sales methodology and new technology to increase sales and win market share…
If you are running a business selling cars, motorcycles, boats, and caravans, or any durable goods direct to consumers using a dealership business model – and you are looking to increase sales, improve customer engagement, and be more competitive, this blog is for you.
Selling in the modern world – the empowered buyer…
Driven by the internet and the availability of information about the things we buy, the balance of power when buying goods has switched from the company selling to the buyer.
It used to be the case that salespeople had all of the knowledge and information and to buy something, especially higher value goods, buyers had to get their information from salespeople and in the process of doing so “be sold to…”
Buyers today have access to a huge range of information, specifications, consumer reviews, and also easy online access to tens or hundreds of other companies offering the same type of goods for sale. Most consumers today consult the internet and conduct their own highly detailed market research, long before they pick up the phone.
A Competitive Landscape
Companies that are aligned with this new reality have made changes to their sales model, web content, and sales intelligence technology to match their buyer’s journey and identify potential buyers earlier in the cycle. These companies are winning market share over competitors.
Many dealerships I speak to know that they are losing market share and sales to larger organisations or groups with a better Internet presence and marketing content, and they want to evolve their own businesses to retain or grow sales.
There are new ways to engage with more buyers and increase sales. The technology that supports these new ways is available to all businesses of all types and sizes. Making the change to evolve your sales model and compete is a relatively simple and logical process.
The methodology is called Inbound Sales, and in fact, all of the resources, training, and technology to implement this for your business is available through HubSpot.
What is HubSpot?
HubSpot is Customer Relationship Management, Sales and Marketing Software that helps companies of all types attract customers, convert leads, and close more sales.
HubSpot provides an all-in-one solution for sales and marketing. From a completely free CRM platform to somewhere you can host and optimise your website and carry out almost any form of sales and marketing activities.
HubSpot has been developed to suit the new sales landscape, to better facilitate lead generation and sales management for the modern buyer. Beyond being a software platform, HubSpot has generated a clear methodology to increase sales in coordination with the technology and a vast library of sales and marketing training webinars and courses – which can serve as the primary sales and marketing training for organisations of any size.
As a personal analogy, what HubSpot means to business CRM software is rather like what Netflix or YouTube meant to video. Or to put it another way, what the iPhone meant to a Nokia 3210. HubSpot is changing things…
What is Inbound Sales?
Inbound sales is about changing the way that you and your dealership sells, to match the way that modern buyer’s really want to purchase goods from you.
Inbound sales focus your effort and resources directly on the people who are looking to buy. The sales technology helps you know when customers are interested in purchasing and enables you to respond more quickly, with effective content and support.
Inbound sales businesses are aware of when potential customers are researching products and have resources and systems to respond to their needs at each stage of a buying journey. They can know when a repeat customer is looking at a product on their website or reading a blog (like this) and they provide ways for the customer to engage easily and make contact, whilst ensuring they record and act on each sales lead.
Moving to an Inbound Sales Methodology
Businesses that have an inbound sales methodology and technology have made changes to the type of marketing content, media, and their sales approach to ensure that they have the right information easily available for buyers at each stage of a Buyer’s Journey.
What Is a Buyer’s Journey?
A buyer’s journey is the stages that almost all buyers go through when making a purchase. Those stages are:
In alignment with the stages in a buyer’s journey, an inbound sales company will have four key actions to implement which also aligns with the customer. And those four actions are to:
Inbound sellers Identify potential buyers, connect with them early in the sales cycle, help them explore their needs and options, then advise them on the most appropriate solution. The graphic below shows how these two processes fit together:
Let’s look at the buyer’s journey in a bit more detail and how it applies to nearly all businesses:
- The buyer is looking to solve a challenge with an existing product or meet a goal by obtaining a new product. They are also trying to decide whether or not it should be a priority. Inbound sales companies attract more buyers with great, informative (or entertaining) content that help buyers to do this and to move through the awareness phase and to decide to take further action…
- The buyer has defined their challenge or goal and decided to take action. The inbound sales organisation helps potential customers to make an informed decision based on the alternatives that exist.
- The buyer has decided on a solution or product type and is ready to choose the product that best suits their needs. The inbound sales company helps them address any final concerns and helps them make the decision to proceed to purchase. And ultimately the inbound sales company closes the sale.
At each stage, the company that is selling is supporting a buyer with great information, content, and advice, and all at the right time.
Traditional vs. Inbound Sales
For years, the traditional sales model for many dealership businesses has been focussed around internal processes and led by the seller, rather than the buyer. As an example:
Get a sales lead through a range of marketing efforts or advertising and wait for the call…
Get the potential buyer to visit the showroom…
Qualify their needs with a range of questions and conversation…
Demo the product – or take it for a test drive…
Sales negotiations (usually a discussion about lowering the price…)
Hopefully close the deal, deposit, payment, delivery…
But what about the stages the buyer goes through BEFORE they pick up the phone?
When buyers investigate your business online, or the products you have advertised for sale online, what questions and concerns do they have? Who are the buyers that visit your website, have a look, and then move onto another company and buy from them instead? What criteria do buyers use to evaluate the available offerings when they are searching and researching online, what are you able to do to influence this?
Using an inbound sales model the dealership's role is to attract more buyers through informative content. Content that is based specifically on the types of buyers and the most common questions, concerns or advice required at each stage of the buying process.
Inbound Sales Methodology at a Dealership – Practical Ideas
An inbound sales methodology encompasses the whole picture for a buyer and the buyer's journey. As with traditional sales, the process requires investment in time and resources, and it will be an ongoing process to attract new customers and win more business through this channel.
For a dealership here are some ideas to get started with:
o Identify the types of customers that want to buy your products. Define what your ideal customers are like and their individual needs, then build “typical” buyer personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of the types of customer that typically buy from you, complete with their own challenges, wants and needs...
Generate a plan for online content and point of sale materials that directly address the actual questions each type of buyer generally has at each stage of the buying process.
Your website’s functionality and its need for linkage to your customer database/CRM or sales and marketing platform…
Having a CRM, Sales and Marketing Platform that helps you manage content and links with your website properly.
Opening new lines of communication with buyers through your website: Enquiry forms that link into the sales platform, online chat, online appointment bookings, brochure downloads that capture contact details, etc.
Changing the style and approach to selling and how this aligns with what the buyer wants and when they want to buy…
Arrange a free 30-minute call to help build your buyer personas by registering your details through the link below:
Think about some companies within your market or another market, who are doing this really well and the style and content that is being produced for each different type of customer. This includes:
Consumer Lead Reviews
Content that is delivered across many platforms and gives the opportunity for the buyer to consider a purchase in the manner in which they feel most comfortable.
Also, for the seller to engage with the buyer as early in their personal buying journey as they can. In turn, this increases your presence on the internet and positions your company as a proactive, customer focused organisation that is in-tune with the needs of buyers.
To help with generating some great content ideas – you can try the free HubSpot tool here:
Converting Content into Leads
The next step is to make sure this content provides buyers with lots of opportunities to register their interest and engage with your company and ask questions. The HubSpot Sales Platform makes this very easy to do. You can embed links between your website and the sales platform/CRM in minutes. This facilitates capturing the details of interested clients at the time they want to engage. Some examples:
Add Live Chat – like the one in the bottom right-hand side of this page!
Online forms can be embedded into the site and intelligently linked to the sales CRM in real time – like this one:
Photo click-through links to landing pages that provide more answers and give the buyer more opportunities to engage with you and ask questions...
Online diary appointments – which can be easily embedded into your webpage and linked directly to your company calendars, and provide notifications through the sales platform. This enables customers to easily “Book a test drive”, “Arrange an appointment”, “Get a part exchange valuation” or “Arrange a sales call.”
Moving in time with the buyer
Certain buyers know exactly what they want, the price they are willing to pay, and they may be looking for a fast, simple transaction with as little time spent as possible. At the other end of the spectrum, some buyers will require information, help, guidance, and assistance at almost every stage from enquiry to the final payment. They will get this information and support from your business or from somewhere else. Creating the right content and then enabling the content with the right technology can make dramatic changes to sales volumes…
What to do next?
HubSpot provides a free, class-leading CRM tool and then makes it simple for organisations to add on the tools and functionality that they need to change to do inbound sales really well.
Everything you will need is there, including tools that help generate your buyer personas, blog ideas, great technology to manage sales leads, linking CRM to web analytics, live chat, email automation, and a marketing platform that links everything together into one place.
In terms of costs, the basic CRM is free – forever, and the sales starter platform begins at £42 per month, an investment that is within reach of any business and a totally scalable solution.
Find out more and get costs to implement HubSpot for your Business Here:
Clear Commercial Solutions are a certified HubSpot Sales Partner, and we offer free consultations to dealerships looking to find out more about inbound sales and sales enablement through HubSpot.
A call or meeting can be arranged at your convenience, and this will be consultative and aimed at helping you to identify requirements and share information, this is not a sales pitch.
We are available to talk and happy to provide advice and support to your business.