Written by: Jon Kraus
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Automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have an abundance of channel data, from sales to staffing to certification. But knowing what to do with that data can be challenging. Learn how to maximize qualitative insights to drive dealer performance.Scroll Down
Dealership sales and service teams who exclusively wear purple shirts, realize an average 15% increase in both new vehicle sales and dollars per repair order?
While not always optimized or unified, automotive OEMs are replete with dealer data. Sales, operational efficiency, lead close, staffing, retention, certification — you name it. If it’s quantifiable, chances are OEMs (and their dealers) are tracking and analyzing it. But that data only illustrates results and net impact. It can’t (and doesn’t) capture the why.
It’s in the qualitative aspects of dealer operations – the day-to-day processes, strategies, people and behaviours – that the “why” resides.
Under the current paradigm of the OEM/dealer relationship, isolating those variables of performance is nearly impossible. There are infinite reasons why one dealership succeeds while another fails. After all, they’re a collection of independent businesses bound only by broad dealer agreements that, by design, “leave it to them” to unlock keys to success within their AOR.
But that doesn’t keep the industry from trying to better communicate, train, and reward on the “why”. OEMs, field organizations and a multitude of third-party firms sponsor and deploy hundreds of qualitative dealer assessment, process improvement and “standards” initiatives every year, such as:
These represent hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and are often supported by dedicated departments of OEM/field oversight. And while well-intended and usually well-designed, these programs only define what dealers could and should do. Afterwards, though, it’s largely watch, wait and hope for the desired quantitative results to roll in.
The critical gap here is in the measurement, analysis, and application of learnings about what the dealer actually does or doesn’t do. And that represents an enormous, missed opportunity.
For most, those rich qualitative insights (what the dealer did) start and end with that dealer. At best, they’re shared with the frontline field team, housed in an Excel file or group folder and infrequently make their way to the OEM as anecdotal evidence of some potential best (or worst) practice, or picked up by Automotive News for a feature article in its “Dealer Best Practices” column.
That is, by not collecting and quantifying trends in dealer performance actions and inactions in a consistent, repeatable, and systematic manner, the “secret sauce” of dealer performance optimization remains forever a mystery to the network (and the OEM) at large.
OEMs will never have an omniscient view of dealer operations and best practices (nor should they). But the way OEMs are capturing, cataloguing, and using qualitative dealer performance insight to the benefit of the entire network can and should evolve.
As an OEM, understanding the “why” and leveraging qualitative insights will help you isolate variables of dealer performance that
make a difference in your business.