Integrated to provide trade data in real time and present prospects with KBB Fair Market Value while shopping on dealer websites. Everyone knows Kelley Blue Book is the gold standard for car resale valuation and pricing. Their website has been updated to be the standard for resale, shopping for your next car, learning about financing, and ensuring that new automotive purchase. Explore all the ways KBB can enhance your automotive purchasing and resale experience.
PERQ is an approved vendor in the CDK Partner Program and offers an optimized configuration for easy implementation with CDK Global websites.
90-Day Results with PERQ
- 50% LEASES INFLUENCED BY PERQ
- 6.6% WEB VISITORS TO LEAD
- 20x INCREASE IN WEBSITE LEADS
- 172% INCREASE TIME ON SITE
Civilian Rental Inquiries ‘Go Through the Roof’ with PERQ Software
Barksdale, a Hunt Military Community located in the heart of Louisiana, faces a unique conundrum when trying to market its well-maintained, gated military rental housing to the general public. Situated on the Barksdale Air Force Base, most visitors who land on the company’s website assume Barksdale is only available to enlisted personnel.
Typically, military housing is only for active service members and their families, says Lynette Hegeman, Hunt’s National Marketing Director. But certain military properties like Barksdale follow what’s called an “8-step waterfall” protocol. When it reaches a certain vacancy level, property managers open it to other renters, from federal employees to military retirees, all of the way down to civilians.
“Barksdale is at about 89 percent occupancy, so they are open to anybody in our waterfall,” Hegeman says. That includes civilians at the moment, but it’s hard to share that story so prospective renters understand.
“That’s our biggest conundrum, because you don’t want to go out and blast it,” she says. “When we get our occupancy up, then we stop renting to civilians. That doesn’t mean we kick anybody out. Military and civilian residents sign annual leases. Just like anybody else, once they’re in, they’ll be able to stay. But housing is not always available.”
PERQ Gives Barksdale Big Spike in Civilian Leads
Before deciding to try the PERQ software solution on Barksdale’s website in September, Hegeman says the only online lead information they typically received was the military officer’s rank and number of dependents.
When you live on a military property, your housing assignment gets determined by rank, with higher ranking officers living in certain neighborhoods while enlisted personnel reside in other neighborhoods. A civilian, for instance, could never live in an officer’s neighborhood, Hegeman explains.
Hegeman says Hunt Companies also manages 40 other military properties, including a total of 11 that can be offered to civilians, but she wanted to test the PERQ software on Barksdale first because it had the lowest occupancy rate in the company’s portfolio.
“I wanted to see how PERQ moved the needle and whether it really helped me convert those lookie-loos to actually taking steps, like calling us, sending an email inquiry, setting up an appointment, scheduling a tour,” she says. “I believe we have seen that, and more importantly, I have seen the number of civilian inquiries go through the roof!
”That is where I’ve seen the needle move the most. We’ve never had as many civilians show as much interest, and I think it’s because the landing page really explains that Barksdale has something to offer them.”
In 90 days, PERQ influenced an average of 50% of leases signed at the property. They also saw a 20X lift in website leads with PERQ.
Better Conversion of Quality Leads with PERQ Solution
People in the military use their base allowance to pay for housing and they can choose to live on base, or decide to live in an apartment or a house off base.
“My job as a marketer is to try to sell the benefits of living on the base,” Hegeman says. “Their allowance covers utilities, maintenance of their front yard, pest control — all of that is included. When they rent an apartment or a house, they have to pay an application fee, deposit, pet fee, their own utilities, water and garbage, etc.”
Selling those benefits to civilians interested in living in a military community adds another dimension to Hegeman’s marketing efforts. Barksdale’s property managers now collect better information from prospective renters who engage with the site’s interactive AI features, such as Check Availability, Housing Assessment, New Customer Welcome, Community Fit and Check for Special Offers. Armed with more details about exactly what the renter is looking for, the leasing specialists are able to ask more pointed questions.
“We’ve had a better conversion of the quantity of leads that come in, and we’ve done a better job at converting them to the next step,” Hegeman says. “I always knew Barksdale had a good amount of traffic coming in, but I don’t think we were capturing it well. I think having the whole landing page being able to decipher civilian vs. military was really important.”
Barksdale’s leasing specialists use the all-inclusive fee as a selling factor to attract civilian renters, as well as living in a safe military community with a community pool, tennis courts and playgrounds in every little neighborhood.
Hegeman says now that she’s seen the initial results, she is ready to try the PERQ software on other Hunt properties. “I love it. I definitely see the value in it,” she says.
She wants other marketers to understand PERQ doesn’t generate more leads, but it does capture leads from visitors who would’ve remained anonymous before and helps convert those online leads.
“The traffic that we’re sending to our site is either what we’re doing through Pay-Per-Click or Google Adword campaigns, or whatever we’re doing [for digital advertising],” she says. “PERQ takes that traffic and keeps people engaged, so we have a better chance of getting that email, phone call, or have them come in for a tour.”
“We’ve had a better conversion of the quantity of leads that come in and we’ve done a better job at converting them to the next step. I always knew Barksdale had a good amount of traffic coming in, but I don’t think we were capturing it well.”
Lynette Hegeman, National Marketing Director, Hunt Companies
Press Release: PERQ Develops Partnership Program with Website Providers in Home Furnishings Industry to Enhance Online Guided Shopping Experience for Consumers
Indianapolis, IN – January 23, 2018 – Website providers in the home furnishings industry now have the opportunity to partner with PERQ to offer their online guided shopping solution to customers.
How can auto dealership sales teams adapt to the constantly-evolving business conditions? The answer: by adopting agile methodology to their sales processes.
There’s no question that technology has led to significant changes in the way businesses operate and the methods in which we communicate with one another. Companies that fail to adapt and are unable to keep up with these rapid changes are likely to see less success. Adaptability is especially essential to the auto sales industry — where being up-to-date with the latest trends in communication and buyer behavior is vital.
The traditional sales process we once knew and relied on has changed significantly. The original process consisted of some combination of 5 to 7 steps, including: identifying leads, qualifying leads, proposal, close and post-sale relationship nurturing.
However, research from Google and CEB has found that this sales process is no longer relevant because buyers today are already done with 60% of the sales process before they even come into contact with a sales professional. Those shopping for products now use the internet to do their own learning and research.
Buyers today are already done with 60% of the sales process before they even come into contact with a sales professional.
Buyers will first research and choose among the many companies that supply the products they are looking for, and then use social networks and reviews to validate their findings and cross-check product quality. As clients are beginning to gather more information prior to shopping and make more decisions on their own, the original sales cycle is becoming obsolete.
The ability to shop for vehicles online has made it more difficult for car salesmen, considering that potential buyers have already done significant research prior to entering a dealership. Online retail giants like Amazon are entering the auto industry, and dealerships must find new methods to make sure their sales teams are able to perform and meet buyers’ needs.
So how should sales teams adapt to these changing conditions? Lucky for them, there’s a methodology that allows teams to transform their procedures and workflow processes to best fit client and industry demands. This process is known as the agile approach, and it can significantly improve a team’s productivity.
What is Agile Methodology?
Agile is a method of project management that was originally coined by software developers as a better way to manage projects in the software industry. Agile attempts to eliminate the traditional ‘waterfall approach’ that required step-by-step processes of long planning sessions, coding and testing that were required prior to launching a product.
This new approach to project management spread rapidly beyond the tech sector and is now applicable to virtually any industry that relies on accomplishing large-scale projects. The agile method calls for “the completion of small chunks of ‘shippable code’ that can be defined, built, tested and shipped in the time span of a single ‘sprint,’ usually lasting 15 to 30 days.” Essentially, this means that rather than attempting to complete an entire project over a long period of time, those using agile work in shorter, defined periods (sprints) to accomplish a certain smaller goal or output.
These individual goals are briefly shared by each team member during a quick daily stand-up meeting and discussions about general achievements. Challenges and weaknesses throughout the sprint, etc. are held during sprint reviews, which take place at the end of each sprint.
Brad Brown, Technology Sales Manager at PERQ, has been in the process of transitioning his sales team into an agile methodologyfor the past six months. Brown is a major advocate of the agile process and says it has improved his sales team’s performance immensely. “What I really appreciate about agile is how you can take a big goal and break it down into smaller goals and then ultimately into chunks of time,” Brown says.
Agile Methodology Allows More Flexibility
A major advantage of adopting an agile methodology is that it is highly flexible and sales teams can change or adapt to meet the company’s needs and allow process improvement at any time. This high degree of flexibility allows agile sales teams to better respond to specific needs of customers.
This flexibility also means that nearly every team that uses agile probably uses an agile process that is slightly different from other teams’. It is rare that two team’s agile processes are exactly the same. We spoke with with three separate agile users, all from different companies, and each user had an entirely different method in which their team implements agile methodology.
A major advantage of adopting an agile methodology is that it is highly flexible and sales teams can change or adapt to meet the company’s needs and allow process improvement at any time.
“Our [agile process] is pretty different from anybody else,” says Jason Fletcher, Chief of Operations at Site Strategic, a digital marketing agency. “We don’t sell services, per say. We sell agile credits. Basically, we’ve aligned our sales process and our offerings around a point system.”
By selling their time in the form of agile credits, Site Strategic is able to have more flexibility based on individual client’s needs, and a clearer view into what exactly they are doing for each client.
On the other hand, Josh Brammer, Chief of Operations at Outside Source, a Marketing Agency in Indianapolis, says that his agile process is different in that they hold planning meetings every Monday to run through all of the backlogs and plan out any actions that they have. Outside Source has been transitioning to agile thinking over the last 2 years, and has changed and adapted their processes to find the best way to implement agile to improve their team.
Agile Simplifies and Improves Processes
The flexibility and easy adjustment to meet needs is just one of the many benefits that the agile methodology brings to teams that adopt it. Brown, Brammer and Fletcher all agree that agile makes processes simpler for both managers and employees.
“Agile makes it easier to manage others because we all have 100 other things we could do today,” Brammer says. “In traditional, top-down management, you have to guess at what [the manager] thinks the top 10 things to do are. And your guess is probably going to be wrong because we don’t spend enough time aligning on what the priorities are. But agile makes it part of the process to determine in public what the priorities are and which 90 other things we’re not going to worry about right now, and that makes management way easier.”
Brad Brown agrees that having an agile process makes it much easier to manage his sales team. “It’s a visibility factor,” Brown says. “I’m able to have this daily check-in where I know exactly what’s happening with the team and what they’re planning to do. That’s huge.”
Fletcher says he likes the agile process because it creates an atmosphere where everybody’s held to the same standards. “It definitely makes disciplinary actions easier, too. Discipline shouldn’t ever be a surprise, and at a lot of companies, it kind of is,” he says.
Teams who adopt an agile process can expect to see a significant improvement in accountability and productivity. Having the ability to channel a team’s energy into achieving concrete, tangible goals helps to prioritize tasks and work more efficiently as workflows become more public and open to improvement.
“Nobody wants to be the person that goes up during a stand-up meeting who has 3 goals set and moves them all into incomplete. What we find is that there’s always a push to get at least one or two of them done.”
Adopting an Agile Methodology
It’s important to point out, however, that while the agile process certainly has enormous benefits, the task of switching from a traditional to an agile management process is not always an easy task. The switch requires careful planning and depends on the willingness of both sales executives and team members to accept a new way of thinking and doing things.
Fletcher says it took Site Strategic some time using trial and error to adapt and truly see the benefits of agile. “It was super difficult at first, but it’s really interesting because it was very helpful with the business’s transition and growth we’ve seen over the past year or two.”
“Every organization that delivers value to customers will be better off if the whole organization adopts agile.”
Brown agreed that the transition was an adjustment, but also says that he saw benefits quickly after adopting an agile process. “Within 30 days, there was a substantial lift in our overall performance as a team, both in terms of our demo completed metrics as well as the strength of the demos, which is their ability to close a deal,” he explains.
If your auto dealership’s sales team decides to make a change and switch to an agile management process, don’t be discouraged if the process is difficult at first. Talk to other businesses who have embraced agile to work through any problems. The rewards certainly outweigh the risks. “Every organization that delivers value to customers will be better off if the whole organization adopts agile,” Brammer says.
For almost all of our participating dealers, PERQ Web Engagement has proven to be exceptionally helpful at increasing the number of qualified leads and conversions dealerships see. While the software, all by itself, accounts for many these leads and conversions, honing your strategy as well as the overall customer experience can play an instrumental role in further converting those leads into sales.
Here are 5 ways your dealership can get the most out of PERQ Web Engagement:
Use CTAs to Encourage Consumer Engagement
Although PERQ Web Engagement has proven to be great bundle of effective auto dealer solutions for many of our current clients, it might not be as effective on consumers who aren’t introduced to these experiences to begin with.
Even if your dealership’s website gets a decent amount of traffic, car buyers might simply be missing the experiences that have been integrated onto your website.
Sure, you can tell your consumers about the various experiences on your website; but that’s more likely to deter them than entice them. Even if you’re telling them that they’ll receive an offer at the end of the experience, there’s no real way of knowing what it is they actually want or need.
And since consumers, nowadays, aren’t particularly interested in talking with a salesperson face-to-face (at least in the early stages), they’d rather attempt to find out certain information and get offers on their own.
One of PERQ Web Engagement’s coolest features is its “Smart CTAs.” Smart CTAs (or Smart Calls-to-Action) are buttons or banners that change based on a consumer’s behavior on your dealership website.
For example: If a consumer goes through a trade appraisal experience on your dealership’s website, and indicates that they’re in the market to buy NOW, the next page they land on will show buttons that lead them to the next best step — say, for scheduling a test drive.
Leverage Your CRM for Better Consumer Experiences
The work doesn’t end after a prospective customer has completed an experience. In fact, the work has only just begun. After a consumer has gone through an experience, their contact and preference information is directed straight to your dealership’s CRM.
While the information captured depends on the questions asked in the experience, these types of auto dealer solutions can generate 5X the consumer information than an average auto lead. Through these experiences, you can learn about useful information like: the make and model of a consumer’s current vehicle, the type of vehicle they’re interested in purchasing, a general purchasing timeline (Ex: Immediately, 6-months from now, 1 year from now, etc), as well as information regarding their financing preferences and needs.
Being able to capture this type of information is very powerful. Allowing customers to personalize their responses allows you (the dealer) to initiate and cater a discussion to a consumer’s specific needs.
Follow Up with Longer Term Leads
When it comes to capturing consumer info, it’s only natural that you’d want to follow up with folks who planned on making a purchase within the next month or so. But what about the consumers who want to purchase a little later? These folks might not be on your radar now, but they’ll definitely be on another dealer’s radar around the time they do want to purchase.
So, whatever you do, don’t disregard these customers. Six months from their initial experience will be there before you know it, and that’ll be the time to strike while the iron is hot. During that waiting period, come up with a strong follow-up strategy.
When it finally comes time to call those consumers, ask them if maybe any of their answers have changed and inquire about other ways you can help them. Not only will the follow-up call serve as a reminder that they were interested in your dealership, but it’ll show that you actually care about what customers think and that you have pride in your work.
By branding or customizing the experience, it’ll seamlessly fits in with the rest of your site and adds a high level of legitimacy to your dealership. This type of brand customization isn’t typically found in 3rd party applications; so those tools generally produce lower quality leads.
Why? Well, the lack of customization means consumers have no real connection to the actual dealership. 3rd party vendors will generally use their own branding on their applications; leavng barely any mention of the dealership your consumers would actually be shopping at.
You want consumers to think of YOU when they think about their e-price, trade appraisal or assessment 2 weeks from now — and you certainly want them to give your dealership a call when they decide they finally decide to buy. Historically, 1st party leads are of a higher quality, convert better and are just plain more effective.