The automotive industry has entered the digital age. Yet, according to Ricardo Bustamante, CEO of SICOP, dealerships are ill-prepared to deal with online lead generation and digital marketing strategies. “In the used car segment, digital leads account for 80 percent,” says Bustamante. “Meanwhile, digital leads for new vehicle sales have grown to 30 percent from just 4 percent since 2013. But of this percentage, only 1 percent of all leads become actual sales.”
Following an 18.6 percent sales increase in 2016, this year is gradually decelerating and by July, the average growth compared to the previous year was only 1.4 percent. This means that distributors must seize any opportunity to boost their numbers. “Currently, it takes dealerships 48 hours to call interested buyers back and they only do this with 29 percent of the customers at most,” says Bustamante. Even though digital marketing has become a standard for OEMs and distributors, Bustamante thinks there is still potential to improve companies’ strategies. Ángel Torres, General Director of Grupo Torres Corzo, agrees, saying in an interview with Mexico Automotive Review 2017: “No dealership group knows exactly how social media works, yet it is probably the most costefficient way to position a brand.”
“Although 30 percent of all leads are digital, we could safely assume that 100 percent of all potential clients start their search process online,” says Yamil Zarate, Commercial Director of SICOP. “This is a tool we have to take advantage of.” After 20 years in the automotive market, SICOP has become an expert in lead management and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). According to Zarate, SICOP is already working with all the OEMs present in Mexico through their distributors and some of them, including Nissan, FCA and Ford, have made SICOP their CRM standard.
Although CRM platforms are widely used in the industry, Bustamante says global solutions cannot evaluate the intricacies of the domestic market. “Personnel turnover is high in the distribution sector at over 120 percent every year,” he says. “There are many different businesses and departments to manage including financing, fleet management and used vehicle sales.”
SICOP’s goal has been to create a disruptive solution that can help dealerships connect efficiently with its clients and within its own departments, tracking the entire sales process from the generation of the lead to the delivery of the vehicle. “Dealerships using our platform call clients five minutes later and they reach 100 percent of the people interested in buying a vehicle,” says Bustamante. “This method transforms the original 1 percent of sales coming from digital leads into 14 percent.” SICOP works through an application downloaded by both the client and the distributor, allowing the company to track information on the clients’ most popular vehicle requests and the busiest months in terms of sales.
Regarding their digital marketing strategy, Bustamante says SICOP’s platform can help clients identify which media outlets generate the best results. “A ‘like’ does not mean that someone is really interested in the product,” he says. “Companies can purchase spaces on many social media pages but 50 percent of leads generated are not serious.”
Both Bustamante and Zarate agree that the best conversion rate from lead to sale comes from organic leads, which represent people who register on the clients’ website because they are already interested in information regarding a purchase. However, only 5 percent of all digital leads come this way, according to Bustamante. “The goal is for companies to grow these leads with effective marketing strategies that result in all clicks landing on the OEM’s or the dealership’s website,” he says.