Using text message and hybrid intelligence to build a smarter follow-up process

Most auto dealers are only able to follow up with leads for about 7 days using a traditional CRM process that was built around phone calls and emails.

Since the dawn of the internet age, dealerships have been trying to figure out how to efficiently follow up with leads being generated from the internet. They have created massive BDC departments and have countless meetings telling their people to make more phone calls and send more emails. Over time, less and less customers have been picking up their phones for unknown numbers, less emails are being delivered to the inbox due to increased spam filtering by email providers. This has resulted in dealers telling their team to make even more phone calls and send even more emails in an attempt to convert a higher percentage of the leads they are paying for. Managers and sales people around the country are becoming increasingly frustrated with each other. Managers want more calls and emails and sales people feel like they are wasting their time calling people who just send them straight to voicemail and don’t read their emails.

The traditional CRM process is built around creating and completing phone call and email tasks. You go one task at a time completing the next task. It is a linear process that is time consuming and frustrating when you are a sales person. Some sales people have adapted to the process but most sales people are not wired to sit at a desk completing an endless mountain of tasks. There is one simple reason behind this process. To get ahold of someone and sell them a car. That is all the sales person wants. I’ve personally been a sales person using a CRM. I’ve used them since the beginning of CRMs, starting with some of the first CRMs called ACT and GoldMine. The moment you get someone on the phone or a reply to an email that is interested, it is like striking gold! Your adrenaline gets going and it gives you the strength to pound through even more tasks. If people stop answering the phone and replying to your emails you eventually get frustrated and lose your motivation.

Labor Day of 2016 we turned on our integration with Facebook Lead Generation ads. The integration funneled leads into our newly created SMS CRM. It was a CRM that we built with the primary focus being Text Messages and not Phone Calls and Emails. I was working from my small home office when the first few leads came into the system. As I was texting customers about purchasing a vehicle, I started to realize one thing, that I didn’t have to personally send the text messages and the customer would never know it wasn’t me texting them. This was the first time the words Hybrid Intelligence came to my mind! I called my wife into the office to help me communicate with the customers and we used team work to be efficient. She could pick up a conversation when I was unavailable and the customer never knew the difference.

Over the next few months it became clear that not only could other people help me, but we could also build software that could assist with the work load. We didn’t have to follow-up with customers one at a time, we could do it in mass and the customer wouldn’t have any clue that it wasn’t a real person following up. The linear “task process” of the CRM was no longer needed. We could complete all our follow-up tasks with the push of a button. This changed EVERYTHING! Not only could you have other people assisting in the follow-up of a lead but you could also have robots assisting. Text message opens the doors to a new era for a CRM follow-up process.

I’m often asked by clients “when will you build a CRM?”. Well, we have already built one. It is just a different process. It is a process that revolves around the world of Text Message and not phone calls and emails. The TECOBI SMS CRM is a level above a traditional CRM. It is an appointment machine that allows for eternal follow-up on leads without requiring an army of BDC people. Using TECOBI you can follow up until customers “buy or die”. We have a unique process for building a pipeline of leads you are actively communicating with. Our clients have 1000s of active conversations going on with customers at one time. BDC reps could traditionally handle 200-300 new leads per month with a 7 day follow up process. With TECOBI, they can follow up with 700-1000 new leads per month and shatter the 7 day follow-up and follow-up eternally until the customer is ready to buy.

With customers entering the car buying process up to 8 months before they are ready to purchase, follow-up is going to be vital to maximizing the ROI on leads the dealership is paying for. A 7 day follow up is not going to work. You need to be able to follow up with a massive amount of people for an extended amount of time. Text Messaging and Hybrid Intelligence is the solution to long term follow-up without beating your people into the ground with a mountain of phone calls no one answers and emails no one reads!