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[NADA 2024] How to Leverage Data and AI to Avoid Losing Out on Sales Opportunities with Rick Valenta

  • February 25, 2024
9 min read
[NADA 2024] How to Leverage Data and AI to Avoid Losing Out on Sales Opportunities with Rick Valenta

Ilana Shabtay
VP of Marketing, Fullpath

Rick Valenta
Director of Dealer Direct, Urban Science

Rick Valenta is the Director of Dealer Direct at Urban Science, a global company serving automotive OEMs in over 70 countries. Rick is an accomplished automotive tech industry sales, client success, and marketing professional with 15 years’ experience in automotive, academia, tech startups, and Fortune 500 companies. His expertise spans sales, marketing, operations, and management, with a track record of delivering results in unstructured situations.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • What to expect from Urban Science in 2024
  • How Sales Alert can help streamline your leads
  • Understanding the Sales Alert algorithm
  • Why showroom traffic is a good lead source

In this episode…

Imagine having the power to identify potential lost sales in real time, allowing dealerships to reclaim opportunities. Through innovative algorithms and comprehensive data analysis, the Sales Alert tool by Urban Science not only alerts dealers to potential defections but also empowers them to prioritize and capture sales before they slip away. So, what signals drive this predictive prowess?

Rick Valenta, Director of Dealer Direct at Urban Science, dives into how data and AI can enhance automotive transaction processes. Sales Alert helps dealerships identify and capitalize on sales opportunities. By seamlessly integrating with dealership CRMs and tapping into Urban Science’s extensive sales data, Sales Alert provides real-time insights into potential lost sales. This process helps streamline the transaction process, empowering dealerships to enhance customer retention strategies in today’s competitive automotive market.

In this episode of the InsideAuto Podcast, Ilana Shabtay sits down with Rick Valenta, Director of Dealer Direct at Urban Science, to discuss how to drive auto sales success. Tune in as Rick discusses Urban Science’s 2024 outlook, streamlining your leads with Sales Alert, and why showroom traffic is an effective lead generator.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode

This episode is brought to you by Fullpath (formerly AutoLeadStar).

Fullpath is the automotive industry’s leading customer data and experience platform (CDXP).

Fullpath enables dealers to turn their first-party data into lifelong customers by unifying siloed data sources and leveraging that data to create exceptional, hyper-personalized customer experiences.

To learn more, visit 

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:02  

Welcome to InsideAuto podcast, where we feature everyone and anyone you’d want to talk to you in and out of the automotive industry.

Ilana Shabtay  0:13  

Ilana Shabtay here InsideAuto Podcast at NADA 2024. I’m here with Rick Valenta. Director of Dealer Direct at Urban Science.

Rick Valenta  0:23  

Yes, hi Ilana, thank you for having me. 

Ilana Shabtay  0:25  

I’m excited. It’s my second time meeting you in person. Yes. So tell us about Urban Science. I mean, you guys do so much in the industry for the industry. Talk a little bit about what you’ve been up to, specifically what we should expect this year. Anything that you want to highlight from business?

Rick Valenta  0:41  

Sure, yeah. Our company, obviously, is rooted in deep tier one relationships. That’s the bulk of our business is data for tier one. But I’m heading up our dealer-facing products. So that’s the dealer direct. Yeah. So we have, you know, look to take that data and create a handful of very custom products that no other marketing companies agencies are offering, and put them out and sell them directly to dealers. So Auto Hook is the key one, and the big one that launched about a year ago is Sales Alert.

Ilana Shabtay  1:13  

And I was actually on a podcast with one of our dealers. I was interviewing him and he was talking about Sales Alert, and he was all nice phrasing it. So can you talk a little bit about what that is? It’s new? Yes.

Rick Valenta  1:26  

So Sales Alert is a product that links into our sales data. Since we serve nearly every automotive manufacturer in the US, our company’s daily sales data is like a near real time view of lost sales. The product lets dealers know who’s defective, it ties into their CRM and alerts a dealer when a lead is defective, the average rooftop is spending 80 hours a month prospecting defective leads. So that’s approximately four days of the sales team’s time that they’re chasing customers that have purchased somewhere else and are and are gone, just because

Ilana Shabtay  2:01  

they purchase from somewhere else doesn’t mean they’re gone, right? come in, everyone wants a car. And now we have to retrain the sales staff and remember what it’s like to negotiate and to be active in the showroom. I think it’s going to be really difficult for dealers this year. So incentives and auto love. Yes, gone, right? But those dealers want to bring them back in for service or once they have positive equity, 

Rick Valenta  2:09  

Like how that is on the product roadmap for the years ahead is turning Sales Alert into a remarketing tool, right and Van equity mining tool. Because as you said that data is valuable if you know they bought somewhere, maybe in three years, they pop back up, yes for equity mining or trade-in call. So that’s in the works. For now. The next thing that we’re beta testing right now is having a predictive element to it. So the algorithm of the product, yeah, we’ve had a lot of interest from our dealer partners on this, and several of them are beta testing it this first quarter. And basically, the algorithm determines if someone who is active is about to defect. Okay, and so that they can prioritize those leads and capture the sale before they purchase seven other brands.  

Ilana Shabtay  2:55  

What are the signals for that? Can you share that, like where what kind of signals are you getting? Are you actually knowing that their honor no matter how the 

Rick Valenta  3:02  

Yeah, how the algorithm calculates that I assume there, it’s based on data. So you know, it would be data that we have access to? So yeah, maybe site visits, or Yeah, I’m not exactly sure. I would be interested

Ilana Shabtay  3:15  

in knowing. And then also, if it is, maybe it plugs into like the third party’s rate. So cars autotrader that can also be an indication as in time, but that’s really that’s, that’s cool. And then Auto Hook. Maybe it’s getting a facelift?

Rick Valenta  3:29  

Yes, we are. We are facelifting Auto Hook this year. It is a two-part product web to show and lead to show. And basically, it’s an incentives platform. And in a big way, those are coming back this year, because the market is correcting. It was a seller’s market for three years, and now it’s becoming a buyers’ market again, so I’m really excited to kind of get this back in front of dealers and have them use it to drive showroom traffic. Yeah,

Ilana Shabtay  3:57  

and I think that’s actually, you know, I’m hearing it a bit. We’re talking a lot about the themes of NADA. And actually, I haven’t necessarily put this in a bucket yet, but it is going to be an interesting year because we are going to have to actively sell again to consumers. Because of the, you know, supply shortage, the demand was so high, I feel like an automotive kind of loss. They didn’t lose anything but the past few years. You didn’t have to actively sell, right? I mean, everyone was pre-ordering. come in, everyone wants a car. And now we have to retrain the sales staff and remember what it’s like to negotiate and to be active in the showroom. I think it’s going to be really difficult for dealers this year. So incentives and auto love. Yes.

Rick Valenta  4:36  

All those who will be coming back dealers have a lot of pain points, and nine out of 10 of them can be solved with more showroom traffic. So this is a proven way to incent consumers to come in and take a test drive and that’s the biggest battle. Yeah. 40% of Auto Hook leads come in for a showroom test drive and 20% of those of the total leads wind up converting to a sale Wow with an average cost of $200 per sale, which from a marketing perspective very, very well.

Ilana Shabtay  5:06  

Yes. Yeah. Wow. That’s incredible. Okay. And before we wrap up, tell me it’s day two of the conference, anything really cool. You saw that you want to share with us? What’s been a highlight for you? Oh,

Rick Valenta  5:15  

Stopping into the White Whale booth was cool. Those guys are from my hometown, Burlington, Vermont. So learning about what they’re doing people

Ilana Shabtay  5:23  

here from Burlington, Vermont, I

Rick Valenta  5:25  

I hope you got a major round and absolutely stopped in and said hi to the Folks, that’s where I got my start. But yeah, just a lot of it’s, it’s cool to see what people are doing to bring people into the booth and what their solutions are to solve the problems of the industry in the year ahead, which is how to get over you know, the high-interest rates and the return of industry, inventory and the and the rebalance to a seller’s market. So everyone’s working really hard to help dealers sell more cars this year, then it’s been awesome to say,

Ilana Shabtay  5:55  

awesome, okay, well, thank you so much for joining me inside our pockets here at NADA 24.

Outro  6:01  

Yeah, I really appreciate it. Thanks for listening to the InsideAuto Podcast. Check out our other episodes with top entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

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