Three Steps Toward Dealer Lead Generation
Helping your dealers generate sales leads is the ultimate win-win for any brand-dealer relationship. It not only promises to deliver sales, it builds dealer loyalty. In our 2015 survey of Kitchen and Bath Dealers, dealers overwhelmingly identified lead generation as their number one concern, followed closely by maintaining a consistent marketing effort. Those two items combined represent the top concerns of 43% of the dealers in our national survey.
Before we look at how to help dealers generate leads, let’s understand that qualified sales leads come from engaging consumers to create:
Awareness. First, consumers have to be aware of your brand. While there are brands that have significant unaided consumer awareness in the K&B category, those are the exception rather than the rule. Most brands rely on dealers to create awareness; that’s why we believe dealers play a critical role in brand marketing.
Consideration. Consumers not only have to know you exist, they have to be convinced to consider your company and products. This step of engagement is the major hurdle for brands. If you don’t clear it, you’re out of the picture.
Evaluation. The sweet spot for lead generation. Consumers are looking at features and benefits for their specific needs; this is the stage where you can influence their decision. This is also where brands make an emotional connection with consumers.
Action. Consumers know which brands fit their requirements – or resonate emotionally – and are winnowing down their list. Sales leads that are generated at this stage may be driven by sensitivity to price.
As a brand that is helping dealers generate leads, it’s important to understand where consumers are, in the continuum from awareness to action. Without this knowledge, dealers aren’t adequately equipped to follow up the leads they receive.
Brands also have to factor their objectives into lead generation. It’s not about simply casting a broad net; brands should focus their efforts on narrowly defined objectives like supporting a new product launch or entering a new market. Lead generation works best when there are benchmarks to measure against.
Three Steps Toward Launching a Lead Generation Program
Let’s get started:
- Identify your lead generation channels. Where do you invite consumers to start a conversation with your brand? On your website, by phone or email, through social media? Via dealer locator? Once you’ve compiled a list, put yourself in the consumer’s place, and try to make contact. Are your forms and processes obvious and frictionless? Do you ask for appropriate information? Is your dealer locator connecting consumers with qualified, current dealers? Or, are you pushing leads away before they can make contact? Pull your web metrics guru into the conversation – she’s likely to have conversion data that can help you understand whether your website is a lead generator, or a lead killer. (You don’t have a metrics guru? You should, but that’s a conversation for another time.) If your lead collection doesn’t mesh with your objectives, fix it before going any further.
- Map out the lines of communication between brand and dealers. Once you have collected a lead, your job is to rapidly deliver an actionable, qualified lead to your dealer. This is where brands can undo all the work in step one. I can’t overstate the urgency associated with this process – consumers are perishable, and if you don’t get the lead into the right dealer’s hands right away, the sale may be lost.
- Follow up. You’ve collected leads, qualified them, and transferred them to your dealers. Your brand’s fate is now in their hands. But that doesn’t mean the process is finished for you. It’s your job to do two things: Evaluate each dealer’s follow through, and determine which leads have been converted to sales. The intent isn’t just to measure dealer performance, but to create a better understanding of how data you provide is used, and where there are gaps that need to be filled.
Let me repeat: Dealers care deeply about lead generation. But it’s not enough to send consumers their way. The greater your investment in qualifying leads and directing them to the right dealers, the greater the loyalty from both consumers and the dealers who know that you’re directly involved in helping them make sales.