Q&A with BDC Management

Q&A with BDC Management

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521224734716{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]At auto dealerships across the country, BDCs are changing the way organizations identify customers online and bring them into the showroom to close a sale. What does that job look like? How does BDC management bridge the gap from digital to foot traffic? What struggles do they face?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521226682387{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]We recently spoke with two BDC (business development center) experts in the auto industry to learn more about their day-to-day work, their approach to generating and closing leads, and the most prevalent struggles they face in accomplishing their goal of driving qualified leads to their sales teams. Alexander Davis is the BDC Manager at Cardinal Honda in Groton, Connecticut. Nathaniel Rosario serves as an Internet Sales Representative for Hudson Honda in West New York, New Jersey.

 

Davis and Rosario offered two unique perspectives on BDC management and paint a familiar picture of their BDC management roles.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531334015173{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

What is your job at your dealership?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]For both Davis and Rosario, the broader mission of a BDC department is focused solely on one task: convert Internet leads into sales appointments.

 

Basically, what we do every day is contact customers who inquire online and submit information,” says Rosario, who is one member of a larger Internet team at Hudson Honda dedicated to this task. “I come in when it’s time to contact them.”

 

Davis expanded on this, explaining what he does as soon as he’s able to make contact as the BDC Manager and leader of his dealership’s Internet operations. “I answer Internet and phone leads, and my goal is to set appointments. That might mean a test drive, or a scheduled time to meet with one of our sales representatives.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531334028150{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

How do you engage website visitors to capture quality leads?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Of course, before BDC management can make direct contact with a lead, they have to use the digital tools available to them to capture information about interested visitors. This lead generation can start anywhere online, and both Davis and Rosario are familiar with utilizing their own dealership websites as well as third-party platforms to find people looking to make a purchase.

 

“We do a lot of Facebook retargeting to display ads to people who have visited our website,” Davis says. “We also promote our inventory on third-party sites like Edmunds, and see a fair amount of leads come through that way. Of course, there’s also a lot of care put into our own website, where we’re able to collect information from visitors slowly, learn about their interests, and customize our presentation until they give us contact information so we can reach out.”

 

Rosario also touted his website’s chat feature, which is an important method for his Internet department to make contact with visitors before they’ve even decided to take a quiz or fill out a form. “We have an application we use that … can engage visitors with a chat dialogue to ask them what they’re looking for or how we can help.”

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As a BDC manager or Internet sales rep, what challenges do you face in capturing leads?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]For both of our experts, one resounding message came across when we asked them about their daily struggles: Internet leads are only as good as your ability to actually make contact with them.

 

“Internet leads are only as good as your ability to actually make contact with them.”

 

The major challenge for BDC management in today’s market is learning how to use a light touch and a personal approach in order to get web visitors to respond to an email, to pick up the phone and to make the trip to the auto dealership.

 

Rosario faces this challenge daily and understands the need for strong messaging. “100% my biggest challenge is getting people on the phone. That’s the most difficult part. Our department is investing a lot in training to help us develop better verbiage and better conversational approaches to leaving our voicemails and asking leads to schedule an appointment.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]Q&A With BDC Management

 

Davis also dreads the unresponsive Internet lead and has learned to do as much as he can to learn more about every website visitor’s preferred method of communication, and to give them a gentle, yet multi-faceted, path forward to engaging with him and his sales team. “When we first reach out, we tend to email first, then make a phone call, and then send a text message.”

 

Success for BDC managers, it seems, depends on their ability to cast a wide net online, and to learn as much as possible about online visitors in order to convert them into leads. The key to bringing those online leads into the dealership is personalizing their digital experience.

 

By engaging with online visitors through interactive web experiences, BDC managers can capture how those visitors prefer to be contacted, how soon they plan to make a purchase, whether they have a trade, and more. Each piece of information like this will help BDC managers give online visitors a more personalized experience, which will in turn give those BDC managers even more tools to help convert online visitors to car buyers.  [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Marcia Deem: “5 Things I Learned During My Time at PERQ”

Marcia Deem: “5 Things I Learned During My Time at PERQ”

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521224734716{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]I made it! I’ve been at PERQ for around 2 months now and it definitely feels like home. I joined the Marketing team in June as Marketing Events Manager — where I develop event strategies to generate brand awareness and help drive more sales.   It’s been pretty awesome!

 

I’ve learned a few things about the company and its culture over the last 2 months. Here are a  few of the things I’ve learned so far![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531505148933{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

1. The Work Hard, Play Hard Philosophy is Not a Joke!

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]There’s no denying that we get s**t done! It’s fast-paced and there’s always something new to learn! Still,  PERQ-ers know how to have fun too.

 

From water balloon tosses and beers on Fridays to planned pitch-ins and office relays, there’s always something going on. You are never bored, that’s for sure.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237406917{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531505168372{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

2. Every Single Person in the Building is Equally Important

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Here at PERQ, upper management is good about making sure you understand how your specific role is tied to the company’s goals.

 

If you work at PERQ, your position was carefully thought out and planned. You were hand-selected because of your skills and cultural fit. Everyone is important.

 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531505212080{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

3. I <3 Agile Marketing…wait, what’s Agile Marketing?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Scrum master, sprint, scope… Huh?? I didn’t know much about Agile Marketing before I started either. Thankfully, it’s not as complicated as it seems and seeing it in action is actually pretty cool.

 

For me personally, it’s been a great way to keep me organized, prioritize my tasks according to deadlines, and get an idea of what the rest of the team is working on and how it impacts my own projects.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Agile Marketing, you can meet up with other marketers at one of  Agile Marketing Indy’s monthly events. If, of course, you’re the type of person who prefers to conduct research on their own, Google will be your best friend![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531505233588{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

4. Marketing Definitely Needed an Events Manager

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

 

…And I’m so glad they picked me! PERQ participates in so many trade shows and conferences for the Auto, Furniture and Multifamily industries, I’m not sure how they managed it all so well before me. Kudos to everyone that was involved in planning events before, because I’ve been crazy busy!

 

 

Planning, managing and executing all the pre/at/post-show details is not for everyone – deadlines, specs, sponsorships, integrated marketing campaigns, technical requirements, and an ever-expanding list of contacts from vendors and associations. It’s no wonder Event Planners are always on the list of most stressful jobs! Still, I absolutely love what I do![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531505244286{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

5. I Get to Be Creative…Really!

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Again, that’s expected when you are part of a marketing team. But PERQ takes its creativity to a whole new level! For example, at last year’s DSES Conference in Vegas, PERQ brought in zombies to act as hosts at their “Lead Forms Are Dead” themed cocktail party!

 

Being innovative is part of PERQ’s brand. We want to make sure that ’s how we ’re presenting ourselves at the different trade shows and conferences we attend.

 

Keep an eye out on our blog and social media pages (FacebookTwitterLinkedIn) to learn about what we’ll be doing at this year’s DSES! There’s no doubt that it’ll be awesome![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

What is a BDC Manager?

What is a BDC Manager?

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521226682387{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]The age of the Internet presents a difficult conundrum for auto dealers seeking to woo and win the business of local customers. Dealerships are taking steps to by hiring BDC managers to help turn online leads into sales.

 

As consumers use the web to research and compare vehicles, they come into the dealership more empowered and knowledgeable than ever before. At the same time, sites like Amazon and Google have given today’s customers a taste for highly personalized experiences, and that human touch is as important as ever for dealers looking to close a sale.

 

Just as sales teams have invested heavily in their showrooms to make them warm and comfortable for customers, dealerships have come to realize the importance of making their digital presence just as inviting and personal.

 

To bridge the gap between the web and the showroom floor, many dealerships have begun hiring BDC managers, or business development center managers (sometimes also referred to as Internet managers).

 

These customer service experts are increasingly mission-critical to the modern dealership. So, what is a BDC manager and what is their role within an organization?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237431822{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531340211202{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

What is a BDC Manager?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531340234377{padding-top: 25px !important;}”]The concept of a business development center originally rose out of the more familiar customer service center, or CSC. Staffed by customer service representatives (CSR), CSCs have traditionally functioned similarly to the customer service departments of other types of companies.

 

CSRs would field customer questions and complaints, call local consumers to offer special deals, and work to give sales representatives a steady source of leads. For many dealers, the CSC has matured into the BDC, whose job is to focus even more specifically on generating leads through inbound marketing methods.

 

“BDC and Internet managers are important because they allow you to get information to your clients fast and allow you to scale processes,” says David Idell, Internet Director at Sunset Honda in San Luis Obispo, California. “It’s important that our message online is consistent with all of our other sales messages. If we have a promotion for 0% financing then we need that message to match online, in the newspaper, on the phone messages, in the emails, etc., and I expect my Internet manager, Internet sales reps and all sales staff to convey that same message to our clients.”

 

 

 

That general function of a BDC manager—capturing inbound leads and converting to sales—is performed in a variety of ways from dealership to dealership (tweet this). Here are a few formats in which a BDC is run:

 

1. Sales Team: In some organizations, dedicated sales representatives might be responsible for fielding calls and Internet inquiries and either working those leads directly, or handing them off to other sales reps.

 

2. In-House BDC Management: Other organizations have BDC Managers in house whose job it is to handle both inbound and outbound leads and to schedule appointments with sales reps. Larger dealerships may have entire departments dedicated to this task.

 

3. Centralized BDC: Organizations with multiple locations or OEMs might have one centralized BDC team processing inbound leads and distributing them to sales reps from one location to the next.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531340244120{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

How do BDC Managers Support Today’s Dealerships?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]While the concept of a BDC was first developed well over a decade ago, it has become more mainstream in recent years. In the same period, technology has become more sophisticated, and consumers have come to rely less on sales calls and flyers, and more on the Internet to research their purchases. In fact, according to Forbes, nearly half (46%) of retailers believe that customers prefer to use the Internet to research major purchases, but still like to make those purchases in person (tweet this stat).

 

With that in mind, today’s BDC managers are focusing on creating intuitive user experiences on their websites that encourage customers to visit showrooms. Just as a sales team works to engage customers in person, BDC managers spend their time making sure that their websites are learning (and remembering) more and more about visitors through increased personalization and through the use of cookies to learn from user behaviors.

 

By intelligently managing databases, offers and the calls to action that display on the dealership website, BDC managers can also organically move site users closer and closer to showroom visits using digital finance forms, payment calculators, customer interest questionnaires to help them narrow their vehicle choice, and even test drive scheduling tools.

 

By giving Internet users an easy and approachable research experience, modern BDC managers are fulfilling their mandate to serve their sales teams with plenty of leads. More than that, though, leads generated by BDCs are better qualified and more likely to make a purchase by the time they shake a sales rep’s hand.

 

“Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.”

— David Idell, Internet Director, Sunset Honda

 

Idell says the biggest challenge for BDCs and Internet managers is time management. “There’s always something to fix, to update, to train staff on, and not enough time in the day,” he says, and recommends looking at your staff and promoting from within — someone who you know is going to be hardworking. “Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.”

 

It’s important to remember that different organizations utilize BDC managers (and even BDCs themselves) in different ways to complement their team and their approach to customer service. One thing is certain, however… As the web continues to dominate the way we make purchasing decisions, the consumer’s need for increased personalization online is only going to increase.

 

Learn more: Check out PERQ’s Q&A with BDC Management![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Flexible Business Model

The Flexible Business Model

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521224734716{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]Having been in business for 15 years, we have seen our ups and downs. While there is always volatility internally, the macro environment has been anything but steady. I remember reading somewhere that anyone who started a business in the 2000’s hasn’t seen a “normal business cycle.”

 

Scott and I founded the company in early 2001, so this certainly feels true. In fact, after 6 months in a family room, I pulled into our first office on September 11, 2001.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”parallax” header_style=”light” parallax_content_width=”full_width” text_align=”center” background_image=”28348″ full_screen_section_height=”no” section_height=”200″ parallax_speed=”2″ css=”.vc_custom_1521230775859{background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”55px”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522686823873{padding-right: 25px !important;padding-left: 25px !important;}”]

THE FLEXIBLE BUSINESS MODEL

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521226682387{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]From 9/11 to the .com crash to the recession, our norm was constantly moving. Lucky for us, we were growing.  And growth covers for a lot of mistakes and macro volatility.

 

It also covers the need to have a good budget model.  You know, the thing that tells you if your plane is flying into a mountain.  We were young entrepreneurs who were making the Inc 500 list multiple times. Our gut was our model.  If we needed more cash, we would just sell more. Ah, to be young and bulletproof again!

 

A funny thing happened around 2007 –  our ‘gut’ started to ache. All the things we ‘knew’ started to seem a little shaky.

 

  • At first, it was a slowdown in new customers. There were rumblings coming from the sales floor about the markets we were serving.
  • Our existing customers stopped spending as much because they were “tightening up.”
  • Then came the cash balance starting to fall.

 

With the benefit of hindsight, we were serving a market that was one of the earliest to the recession (high-priced consumer goods).  But things went from bad to worse… quickly.

 

We were in a full reactive state. We couldn’t find the bottom.  After all was said and done, our revenue was cut in half in less than 18 months, and our team was reduced from 90 employees to 40.  It was awful!

 

Experiences like that stay with you forever. And for me, knowing the recession took a lot of the responsibility off us, I also know we could have been much less reactive.

 

Our lack of a business model took all our control away. We were flying blind. Zero ability to see trends. Zero ability to adjust inputs or outputs as information came available.  Zero ability to see what would happen if those input/output changes.

 

Thankfully, we managed to survive. It broke the business, but not the culture (that’s another story!).  We used it as an opportunity to adjust the vision and strategy, trying to make good out of a terrible event. I am thankful every day for this second chance, while never forgetting that it can all go away tomorrow.

 

Fast forward to today, and we are very much in startup mode, having launched our SaaS product in the middle of 2015.  We are lucky enough to be right back in the middle of growth. It is coming fast and furious.

 

What’s the difference this time?  Our business model. It’s bad-ass. I take pride in it. I can’t imagine flying the plane without it.  Who knew Excel could be so cool?!

 

It has continued to increase in complexity as our business has grown, but I crave the information it provides.  We built the model 5 years out, but the later years don’t matter so much. They are very rough estimates. The closer we get to today, the more specific we get. The estimates turn into expectations.

 

Every quarter we adjust the remainder of the current year and the following year. Adjustments include revenue, hires, and timing, ARPA (average revenue per account), quota attainment by rep, retention and churn, etc.

 

Then, we look at the unit economics it spits out to see how we are doing. We ask ourselves questions like, “Should we slow down?  Should we speed up that Client Success hire?  Are we being too aggressive with the next release and the corresponding ACV?”, etc.  These are all good questions to dive deeper with the leadership team.

 

At the end of the day, these outputs give me peace of mind and are my center.  Sure, vision and strategy provide the direction, but a good business model is the fuel that keeps you on the road.

 

Taking the time to build the model is an easy thing to overlook and an even easier thing to dismiss because so much is changing. Don’t let that be you!  Build an MVP and add complexity as you can. Adjust it monthly at first, then the quarterly as the business gets a little more predictable and repeatable.

 

A good model should tell you 3 very specific things:

  1. Cash flow: As in, how much do you have now and in the future?  Tying it to revenue projections for real time changes is imperative. We make changes to revenue and expense and go to a tab and see how that impacts cash. It’s awesome even if we don’t like the answers sometimes.
  2. Unit economics: There is nothing worse than hitting your goals and the outcome isn’t attractive. SaaS has these beautifully crafted metrics with clear benchmarks that tell you how much to spend and where. Use them and compare them to your model.
  3. Hiring Calendar: A good model sets the ratio for rep’s quota attainment, clients per Client Success hire, % of R&D to revenue, NRR expectations, etc. Ratios like these drive the hires you need and when they should start.  This allows you to prepare well ahead of time for recruiting…. which always takes longer than you want.

 

While my idea isn’t revolutionary by any means, and I am sure there are a few of you that are saying “no kidding, idiot,” — well, this post isn’t for you. It’s for the people who are doing well and keep putting the model off because they feel the “gut” is all they need.

 

Take the time.  Build it.  And enjoy the control!  Your gut will thank you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]