Seeing double is never a good thing.Not in any circumstance, short of hold cards in a Texas hold ‘em tournament. Seeing double can be dangerous and very costly. More and more Internet Sales Managers, though, are seeing double on a regular basis. Duplicate leads are an expensive problem for all dealerships.
With dealers trying to acquire as many internet leads as possible and vendors fighting tooth and nail to obtain the leads on behalf of dealers, duplicates are more prevalent than ever. Not only do lead generators sell the very same leads to more than one lead provider, but those lead providers are passing that customer’s information along to the same dealership. And a duplicate lead is born.
The other way a lead becomes duplicate is by the internet shopper visiting more than one website to acquire quotes. Often, the customer first visits the dealer’s website and then requests quotes from a third-party site to keep their dealer honest. Otherwise, they shop multiple channels because they actually believe three quotes from Edmunds may not be as aggressive as three quotes from Cars.com, or vice versa.
[blockquote name=”Joe Webb” organization=”@zonewebb”]As a dealer, if you have not yet recognized the problem of duplicate leads, you are paying far more than necessary to generate e-business.[/blockquote]
Problems arise when more than one individual is handling leads. An ISM cannot remember the names of all of their active prospects. Even then, the duplicate lead may not attach to the original if the address, first name (spouse’s name), vehicle, phone number, or any other variable doesn’t match.
Since lead aggregators obviously aren’t aware what other leads companies are sending you, dealers are being double-billed. If you already are actively working a lead generated from another source, whether it originated from your website or a third-party site, you shouldn’t have these duplicate costs. Lead providers don’t actively try to send you duplicates, but it is revenue so they are not actively trying to train their dealers to prevent and catch them either. As Stephen Stauning, eCommerce Director for the Asbury Automotive Group says, “While duplicate leads will always be an issue for dealerships, it’s important to recognize that the big three aggregators have done a very good job of self-policing.”
As a dealer, if you have not yet recognized the problem of duplicate leads, you are paying far more than necessary to generate e-business. There are several ways that you can track the duplicates and make sure you are credited for those leads.
Stephen Stauning believes “the best weapon any dealership can employ against duplicate leads is a great ILM tool that will not only de-dupe, but will also generate one-click duplicate lead reports that the dealership can easily submit to the aggregators for credit.”
Majority of CRM and ILM tools do actively search for duplicates, but some are more pro-active than others. Webcontrol AVV and Contact Management, I know from first-hand experience, do catch a decent amount of inbound duplicates. IMagicLab DealerCRM has developed a software that takes a more complete approach, not only focusing on the capturing of duplicate information, but assists in the crediting of said leads. Tom Harsha, Vice President of Training for IMagic Labs, says “Anyone that has worked Internet leads knows how frustrating and incredibly time consuming the ritual of checking every lead each month can be.In most cases salespeople don’t have the time to perform the manual review of leads and still sell cars so the leads go mostly unchecked. The real beauty of fully automated duplicate and bad lead checking is that is allows dealers to finally purchase third party leads with confidence. (The right CRM) will allow a dealer to know that each lead is checked, rejected and automatically credited so they don’t pay twice for the same customer opportunity.”
It is nice to know that today’s best ILM and CRMs are attempting to shoulder more responsibility of keeping lead costs and internet advertising budgets down for their clients. As any ISM or Internet Director that has handled a significant amount of leads and utilized these systems as their sole means of catching and crediting duplicates will tell you, no system is perfect on its own. That is why there are companies forming such as ILead Control whose product performs as a filter between all lead providers and your own CRM. Their solution is capturing a greater percentage than the CRMs since they are searching for a wider range of variables that will trigger an alert of a possible duplicate. Their reporting software provides the necessary documentation to provide the lead aggregators for credits as well as the exact amount to short-pay the invoice (so you don’t have to wait a month for the credit, but have it deducted before the invoice is sent). Bill Hilbun, owner of ILead Control, estimates lead duplication rates are around 12% to 15% for most dealers that are active with internet leads.He states that “duplicate leads are a fact of life…overpaying for them and waiting for credit doesn’t have to be!Use tools that save you time and money and puts the pressure back on the lead providers to send you quality leads.”
If all dealers make it a point to be credited for duplicate leads, then the lead providers will focus their attention (and own advertising) on making sure theirs is the first site visited by each and every automotive internet user. Duplicate leads are the large problem, but there are also bad leads (incorrect information) to worry about as well.
So there you have it, folks. You just learned that for every 100 leads you receive, 20 are bogus. And you are likely paying for those 20.Simple math – 20 leads at an average $20 per lead means you are paying $400 more than you should. If you are a larger store receiving 1,000 leads a month like mine, it could add up to $4,000.Most ISMs would love an extra $4,000 to spend toward more, legitimate leads.All you have to do is utilize the right tools, CRM solutions, and dedicate your time to the problem.Pay attention and save your dealer money. They will love you for it. The easiest way for me to put it is…be careful what you pay for.