If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know all about the importance of lead follow-up and nurture. You know why leads need to be nurtured, how lead nurturing is like online dating, and how to nurture leads at every stage of the buying process. Even if you haven’t read these articles (which you should), you know that there are certain important steps that need to be taken to prevent a lead from being dropped. After all, you pay for vendors and tools to capture leads, why would you let them slip away by not following up?
First things first: here’s a rundown of the basics, which you probably already know:
- If leads do not get a response, customers will become frustrated and will look for answers elsewhere.
- All leads should receive a response as quickly as possible.
- Customers expect personalization. A follow-up call or message should actually respond to their questions, and should not ask for information you already have.
- Don’t give up on a lead just because they don’t respond once– follow-up should be persistent and ongoing.
- Segment your leads into groups based on their activity and where they are in the buying process. This will make follow-up easier and more efficient.
All of these tips sound great in theory, and, as a forward thinking dealership, you know that they should be implemented in order to boost sales. The issue? Execution. You have limited resources, your staff is already stretched thin, and you are sick of chasing dead-end and bad leads. If you gave the type of attention described above to every lead, your staff would have no time to sell cars to real customers.
So what is there to do? Well, as you know, we are big fans of artificial intelligence. We believe that AI can help not only with lead capture, but also with follow-up and nurture. The process does not need to be difficult or expensive. With AI, your dealership can automate some of the most time-consuming parts of the follow-up process, so that you can provide your customers with the most personalized response possible.
How AI Can Optimize your Follow-Up
AI can solve several different problems for your dealership, and streamline your follow-up calls and messages.
Problem– bad leads: You’ve probably heard this complaint very often– your staff spends so much time following up with leads that were never going to become customers. This time could have been spent on other activities, or on following up with higher quality leads.
How AI can help: AI has powerful lead scoring capabilities, and can provide valuable information as to the likelihood of an individual actually moving down the funnel. Your staff can then spend more time following up with leads who are scored higher, without having to actually perform the analysis.
Problem– minor tasks: When every lead is responded to, you will inevitably answer simple questions and perform minor tasks for customers. These include requests like appointment setting for a test drive or service. Of course you need to respond to these questions, as no leads should be ignored, but you can’t help but feel that there should be a better solution.
How AI can help: An AI platform can set appointments directly from your website. Customers do not need to interact with anyone, but will receive helpful and direct assistance for their requests.
Problem– lack of information: Your staff might get frustrated at having to follow-up with leads without any real information about the customer. Above that, the response will be of lower quality because your sales team does not know who they are speaking to, and what the person is looking for.
How AI can help: AI can give you more information about a shopper than you could ever get from forms on your website. An AI platform can track a user’s activity across you site, providing valuable information on their interests such as which pages they visited, and how long they spent on each one. Your sales team can then tailor follow-up to match what the customer wants, without ever asking them for that information.
Problem– ongoing follow-up: Your dealership should always think about what helpful reminders and messages it can send to customers and leads. Even after someone does purchase a car, you want to remain in contact with that person and send service reminders and updates. This can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, as your staff needs to categorize and draft individual messages to each of the entries in your CRM.
How AI can help: AI can automatically segment your audience into categories, based on their activity and stage in the buying process. All your staff needs to do is write the message, and send it to an already created category of individuals.
Bonus: With advancements in the field of artificial intelligence, the machine might even be able to be involved in crafting your messaging. Keep an eye out for advancements in AI that will make lead follow-up even easier than it already is.
With so many tools at your disposal, there is no reason for your dealership should to spend valuable time and resources on ineffective follow-up. With AI as a member of your team, your (human) staff will be able to focus on what matters: actually engaging with your leads and closing more sales.