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Use it or Lose it: The Vital Role of Activated Data in Closing Sales

  • February 28, 2024
6 min read
Use it or Lose it: The Vital Role of Activated Data in Closing Sales

Table of Contents

    Ilana Shabtay

    Ilana Shabtay

    Table of Contents

      If you don’t use it, you lose it.

      There’s a lot of talk about data in automotive these days, and rightfully so. We are living in an age where data is literally the factor that determines whether or not your business will succeed or fail. After a period of slow adaptation, the industry is finally focused on giving dealerships the tools they need to consolidate and normalize their data across softwares.

      While we’ve still got a ways to go towards achieving benchmark goals for car dealerships to truly take full control of their data, it is important to look beyond the data itself and consider what the data can actually do for dealers once it has been cleaned and normalized.

      As people always say, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it, and data is no exception. In this article we will explore the different ways dealers can put their data to work, activating their most powerful asset to drive the best possible outcomes.

      Marketing Activation

      Marketing is usually the first department to utilize data activation. Dealers can activate their customer data using Customer Data Platform (CDP) combined with AI and marketing automation technology to execute more effective, targeted marketing campaigns for a variety of channels.

      CDPs work to bring together all of the data sources in play at the dealership so the data can be sliced and diced to build custom, hyper-segmented audiences for marketing campaigns that target a specific interest or demographic. Take, for example, a search and social ad campaign designed to target customers who have a lease renewal coming up in the next 6 months and have visited the dealership website in the last few weeks, encouraging shoppers to come into the dealership to check out their options.

      Or, if we want to get even more specific, dealerships can build email marketing campaigns designed to target shoppers with positive equity in their current vehicle who have recently engaged with a specific ad on social media for a particular vehicle or special offer.

      This level of activation has the dealer pulling from multiple first-party sources and leveraging the marketing tools at their disposal to directly engage shoppers based directly on their needs, preferences, and behaviors wherever they may be, from social media, in their browsers, to their email inbox.

      Sales Activation

      Data is not just for marketing. While data activation and the sales team may not be the most obvious pairing, dealerships that are not encouraging the use of data within their sales processes are making a major tactical error that is costing them sales opportunities.

      Data activation is the key to empowering the art of the sale in modern automotive retail. Not only can data offer the sales team deep insight into overall dealership activity, it can help drill down into the specific shopper so they can customize their approach and offer a better customer experience.

      This is where CDPs play a key role in the sales process. CDPs are designed to consolidate and normalize a dealership’s data sources in one comprehensive platform. The CDP then uses the data to create 360-degree profiles for every shopper at your dealership which tracks their entire customer journey, from their very first interaction and beyond. These data-rich profiles offer the sales team a chance to understand exactly who they are talking to and adjust their talking points to make conversations more effective. This data activation can help your dealership build strong customer relationships that can ultimately lead to a sale.

      CDPs also offer dealerships the ability to set up specific automated reports, enabling the sales team to instantly understand the activities happening at the dealership. For example, dealers can set up reports to track which vehicles are not getting the traction they need on the website, and build a list of shoppers who have visited those VDPs recently so the team can follow up and get them sold.

      Taking it a step further, the CDP can help build high-interest opportunity lists for the sales team. This will ensure that, instead of working from massive lists pulled by last-touched dates or other coincidental factors, the team is focused on higher probability opportunities and can stop wasting their time shooting in the dark.

      Overall, data activation in sales offers dealerships the chance to optimize their sales funnel and their internal processes all while providing shoppers with excellent shopping experiences at every touch point.

      Technological Efficiencies

      When done right, data activation can help dealerships streamline their operations, cut costs and optimize processes.

      It’s simple. When leveraging real-time CDP, dealerships can easily and quickly identify trends – from vehicles that are receiving more attention, to challenging VINs that have been on the lot for more than 90 days. This can help the dealership optimize their inventory to meet current demand and forecast future inventory needs in order to stay ahead.

      Data activation through a CDP can also help dealerships reduce costs by offering deep visibility into vendor performance so non-effective, extraneous vendors can be eliminated, creating a consolidated tech stack that can be easily used by the entire team. By enabling the team to use one easy to operate platform rather than multiple complex systems, dealerships can increase operational efficiency in the day-to-day management of the business.

      Activated Data is the Way of the Future

      While there is a lot of talk of data in the automotive industry, few are speaking about what to do with it. There is no doubt: data is the future. But without activation, data is just data. It is the activation factor that can help dealers optimize operations and build the unbeatable customer experiences that drive sales.

      Customer Data Platforms are the key to data activation as they offer dealers the ability to prepare their data for AI, marketing automations and other technologies that can help them take their next meaningful, data-driven action. As we move forward, data activation will play a central role in determining which dealerships will remain competitive in the modern cut-throat retail environment.

      This article was originally published in Dealer Marketing Magazine.

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