Evaluating Third-Party Lead Providers

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3 min read

The automotive business is no stranger to lead providers. At any given time, you can probably sign up for about a dozen different providers depending on what you’re looking for. From used cars and new cars, to trade-ins and service, there is certainly no shortage. However, there comes a point when you can’t have them all. Due to budgeting reasons or organizational purposes, most dealerships want to trim down the amount of these lead providers. Here are some ways you can evaluate third-party lead providers.

Take the Time

Too often, dealerships sign up for tools and products and then don’t meet with the rep. Guess what? It’s their job to meet with you, and you have every right to do so. Set up monthly meetings with all of your lead providers to review your account and results. Going over it in person is a great way to make sure you’re digesting the information. Everyone at the dealership is busy, and I know this first-hand, but it will be worth the time, and once you get into a rhythm, it might not take more than 15 minutes per month.

Connect the Dots

I don’t think there is a single third-party lead provider that doesn’t have their own dashboard to show all of the data from your campaign. However, that often doesn’t tell the whole story. In order to connect the dots, make sure your traffic from these sources is being filtered into both your Google Analytics (GA) and your CRM. To filter them into GA, you’ll want the provider to add a UTM code to any traffic they send your way. They will also have to code the leads in order to pipe them through the CRM. You’ll then want to make sure you set up a source code in your CRM for this lead type. Depending on your system, it might happen automatically. This is vital so that you can measure beyond what the dashboard tells you including website conversions and sales. This might be information that is missing in their dashboard, or it might be supplemental. Either way, it will help you determine a more accurate ROI.

Ask for the Data

If you’re unsure of how to navigate GA and look at the data, don’t be afraid to ask! Either the lead provider can show it to you, or your automotive digital marketing agency can help you with this. We regularly pull reports and show analytics to our clients of campaigns for their other providers. We want to make sure the overall picture is healthy, and we love discovering great providers who can help our dealerships. Either way, don’t be afraid to ask to see the data. It’s yours after all!

Do the Math

Don’t worry this math isn’t any that you aren’t used to doing especially is you’re a GSM or GM. It’s time to calculate your ROI. Once you have all of the above set up for about 3 months, you can begin to analyze your sources for a true ROI. You’ll want to take all the leads from their dashboards, your GA, and your CRM and eliminate any duplicates. Next, you’ll want to do the same for sales. Once you know how many sales each brought you, you can generate a standard ROI. Some things to consider when looking at your ROI include the fact used cars will likely bring you more revenue even at a lower volume and selling a car and getting a good trade could be the most valuable. Another thing to consider is if your sold ratio is very low for the amount of leads a provider brought you, you might want to examine how those leads were addressed before dismissing that provider. Sometimes, BDC members might be unsure of how to handle a certain lead or might just need a little guidance. This is an important thing to look at before cancelling any campaigns.

If you’d like some additional help in determining which third-party lead providers are right for you, we can do that. Our digital audit will take a look at everything you’re currently doing and provide valuable insights for your dealership. To set one up, simply contact us here or call 877-958-4524.

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