In a recent presentation at Digital Dealer 23, I had the opportunity to present strategies for Big Data. The key driver was focused on how Big Data impacts the automotive landscape as a whole. One area specifically that captured the audience’s attention was how dealerships and groups of different sizes could begin implementing Big Data findings in their dealership without a lot of additional resources and costs.
Because I’m so passionate about this topic and feel it is a huge opportunity for dealers, I want to introduce a three part series and share how dealerships of any size can implement the systems and resources needed to use Big Data for key insights without breaking the bank.
Today I’m going to begin with single point dealers, those with one to five rooftops, and how they can use Big Data to their advantage. Within this subset of dealerships the most important thing to remember is to leverage partners. Look to your Big Data vendors and partners to help surface insights.
Key Tactic: Dig In to Understand your Vendors
Your most trusted resource at this size is the data vendors themselves. Look to your partners to help you uncover key insights housed within your system. Some key questions to ask vendors include:
- How are you using our data?
- Do you truly have a Big Data environment and if so what systems do you use?
- What insights can we extract from my data and how will it help me make better decisions about how I market, message, and engage my customers?
- What type of reports are available to me with the information you’re reviewing?
- How often can you send me the data you’re reviewing and in what format? (XLS, CSV, XML)
Key Role: Data Analyst
While your greatest resource at this size is your data partner, one key person you can add to the team for tremendous value is a data analyst. This person uses your data to glean insights and actionable takeaways from the data vendors send you and in turn, helps the entire dealership make better decisions.
I can hear you groaning now – more personnel? More time? More complication. But I want you to start thinking about this in a different way. Your data analyst is not a full-time job and you don’t need to hire an employee to do the work. Let’s think outside the box. Can you hire a contractor to work five hours a week to dig into your vendor data and provide key insights? There are several resources out there with stables of experienced contractors.
For example, in the past I’ve used UpWork to look for top talent that can be contracted for a few hours a week if folks are tied up on other projects.
I’ll take it one step further, here’s an example of what to ask for:
Looking for an individual with sharp analytics skills that’s familiar with multi-touch attribution and various media mixes. They will assist in the creation of a data warehouse by identifying data streams and database requirements. Use SQL queries and stored procedures to develop reports pertaining to web analytics, marketing campaign performance, customer interactions and other business and marketing performance metrics. Use data visualization and reporting tools including Tableau.
What if you wanted someone who could help you store and visualize some of your vendor’s data, who lives in the US, and has made at least some money in this craft? A Tableau expert returns 80 individuals; most of whom are highly qualified to help you start making sense of data!
Once you have the data coming in from your vendor partner, and have it being reviewed by your data analyst, it’s time to determine your data hook. What’s your data hook?
What your Customers Love x What Creates a 10x competitive advantage = Your Data Hook
If you don’t know what your customers love and your competitive advantage – don’t panic! That’s what your newly-hired data analyst is here to uncover from all of the vendor data they are sifting through.
Once you know your data hook, it’s time to create a data roadmap with your vendor and have them and your internal analyst watch the data, ask questions, learn and finally –test- that insight to see if your competitive advantage is working in the market. You’ll know it’s working when your in-market leads begin to increase.
I know the idea of Big Data can be overwhelming, but with help from your data vendors and partners, and a contracted data analyst, you can begin acting on the key information housed within your systems to own your backyard. Stay tuned for my next post on tactics and key roles for mid-sized dealerships.
The 8 traits that separate championship football teams from their competition are synonymous with the 8 traits that distinguish great dealerships from everyone else. Whether you’re a diehard fan, occasional watcher, or someone happy to do without, there’s a lot to be learned from the structure of a championship level football team.
In honor of playoff season, we compiled a list of strategies championship football teams implement to become champions and stay at the top. Some may be a bit obvious and others are a little less known. However, when combined and practiced with regularity, energy, and passion, they are extremely powerful tools to create a winning organization day in and day out and season after season.
Without any further ado, here’s 8 unmistakable traits of championship teams:
Championship teams aren’t out there playing just to play. Playing for the love of the game is important, but champions train and play for something big by striving to achieve smaller supporting goals. Divisional champions. Conference champions. League champions. By breaking down the ultimate goal into smaller pieces they build on top of each other. The accomplishment of one propelling them to the next.
At the dealership level it’s the same way. Daily wins. Weekly wins. Monthly wins. Yearly wins. By breaking each win into a smaller category, they all build on each other to propel a store towards the big picture goal it set out to do.
There’s multiple ways to win a championship, but one thing all championship teams possess is their specific way to win it. What does the offensive scheme look like? What is the defensive scheme? What type of players best fit those schemes and what does it take to train those players be successful?
Dealerships are the same way. What type of inventory, pricing, sales team, and marketing & advertising strategies does it take to help your dealership reach its goals and full potential in your market?
Having a specific and actionable plan is 100% necessary to reach their goals. But, championship teams dive into the minutiae of their plans at a tactical level. What’s the prototype player for each position? What is the development of each player during the pre-season, season, and post season? What will the training sessions be? How much film do they need to watch? What is their nutrition plan? What type of on the field coaches are needed? What support staff is needed? Mentally, how are they trained to handle the pressures and length of the season?
The team at your dealership can benefit from those same types of questions. What traits does the ideal person have for each position at the store? How is each team member properly trained from a sales and customer service perspective? What does the routine of a highly successful salesperson look like? How can they continue to grow their skills and earning potential? How does the dealership support them to be great individuals, team players, and leaders in the organization? What are the processes they follow to have the best chance to succeed?
Creating a championship team means taking a bunch of individuals and combining each of their talents to create a group that achieves an actionable result. What sets the champions apart from everyone else is their ability to effectively communicate how the role of each individual supports the team and the big picture. Then, they keep communicating it to everyone, constantly. Everyone must do their job, do it well, and no one is bigger than the team.
Similarly, at a dealership, everyone from the porter to the service tech to the GM know exactly how fulfilling their role on the team supports the team goals. Anyone who falls short or is focused on their individual performance affects the overall ability of the team to perform and achieve what their after.
It’s not about trying to eat an elephant in one bite. Championship teams don’t let the big things get distracting. Instead, they minimize the distractions and focus on the small things that allow them to be the best they can be in each and every moment. Once a moment is over, they move on to next moment. They proceed at working to be the best they can be in thousands of tiny moments until the end result is achieved.
At a dealership it’s exactly the same way. For example, the ultimate goal on the showroom floor is a sale. However, each individual moment needs to be maximized to its fullest potential to move to the next moment and the end result. If one thing is skipped or not done well, the next moment may not matter because it may not happen.
With the right plan in place, becoming a champion may take some time but ultimately is accomplishable. Remaining a champion is quite a bit harder. Once a goal is achieved, complacency can start to set in and can be a bear to overcome. Championship teams avoid complacency by celebrating victories in a small window. Once that window is up, they’re right back to doing the same things it took to get them there in the first place. They always maintain their edge.
Dealerships can practice the same strategy. Celebrate your wins and accomplishments. They’re awesome! However, don’t ever get complacent and stop practicing what it took to accomplish those wins. It takes less work to maintain an edge than it does to create one. Don’t miss an opportunity in front of you because you were too busy looking backwards while patting yourself on the back.
If you think like everyone else, you’re going to be like everyone else. Championship teams constantly think about what they can do to create a competitive advantage. How can they train harder and smarter? How can they play faster? How can they perform more efficiently? How can they attract better talent? How can they separate themselves from their competition? How can they win more aggressively and keep their players healthy? How can they be better than their competition in every way and do it consistently?
Dealerships have to think differently than their competition as well. How can you get more of the inventory that’s selling? How can you price it attractively and still make a profit? How do you offer the best customer experience that no one else can deliver? How can you advertise differently than everyone else to attract the number of car buyers it takes to help you reach your goals?
Losing is a great learning tool. And, so is winning. Just because a team won doesn’t mean they can’t do things better? Maybe the offense was really good but the defense stunk. Or, maybe the game plan worked but the other team would have pulled out the victory if there was just one more minute on the clock. Championship teams look at every win, loss, and play in the game and find what they can do better.
At the dealership level, it can be easy to see why you didn’t win a deal. The price was too high. You didn’t have a vehicle in stock. Maybe the person couldn’t get financed? The list goes on and on. However, championship dealerships evaluate everything. Even the wins. They strive to continue to grow, to get bigger, better, and faster with each and every vehicle sold. They know that each win and loss is an opportunity to get better than their competition and that getting better will continue to breed more success.
The difference between winning and winning consistently enough to be a champion is in the details. Everyone wants to win but only a select few have what it takes to go out and do what needs to be done to make it happen. What will your season be like? It’s the start of a new year? Do you have what it takes to be a champion?