15th February 2021

Web-Connect Training Program (TalkSales Europe Ltd)

What difference would it make to your business if you could double your sales from web enquiries without increasing your marketing spend?

Web-Connect Training Program (TalkSales Europe Ltd) white paper using Palmers Motor Company case study.

Audience: CEO’s, MDs, GMs & DPs, Sales Managers and BDC & Contact Centre Managers.
Aim: This white paper will examine how the car industry currently manages web leads and will look at ways to make changes to increase web conversion rates. It explores this issue by using Palmers Motor Company as a case study.  
Author: Richard Beagle, TalkSales Europe Ltd, is a specialist in the automotive industry. TalkSales has supported over 850 dealerships across the UK, to grow their sales and service staff to the next level.


1. Current situation – where is the automotive sector now in terms of managing web leads?

2. Solution - using Palmers Motor Company as a case study, what did TalkSales discover utilising their Web-Connect Training Program? What were the steps taken which made a positive impact on results for web leads?

3. Conclusion – summary and call to action.  

1. Current situation

Where is the automotive sector now in terms of managing web leads?

For many of us in the automotive sector, we have been conditioned over many years to sell cars based on customers reaching out to us – customers coming into our showroom and forecourt. Second to this is inbound phone enquires and a long way behind this, web enquires. With COVOID-19 these figures have completely reversed in the last 12 months. What do you do when your customers cannot come into your dealership? Instead of a nice to have, maximising web leads is now essential to your business.

Why did the automotive industry not focus on web leads?

The management focus was on walk-ins and inbound phone enquiries and maximising these. Web enquiries were not given as much focus and were often seen as a distraction. As a result of this the industry didn’t figure out ‘what good looks like’ and were more concerned about hitting the standards of (some) manufacturers to ‘call customer within a certain amount of minutes.’ Sales people focused on getting a good score on this, but this took the focus away from results being achieved in the business from web enquiries. A lot of dealerships were finding also that they had a poor measurement of conversion rates on web leads, and some dealerships were not measuring this as it was not their focus.

Typical dealership conversion rates from web leads

Talk Sales reviewed web conversion rates in early 2020, reviewing 2121 automotive web leads from 11 different dealerships, identifying 157 sales from web leads giving a close rate of 7.4%. These figures highlight that dealerships are not selling to around 93% of their web leads! how long could you afford that conversion rate if this was ‘walk in’ customers in normal times? But with COVOID-19, this is how your sales are taking place!   

Why are dealers losing 93% of their web leads?

When we look at why dealers are just converting around 7% and losing 93% this has been proven to come down to a number of different reasons with the major ones being (this list is not exhaustive):

1.    No ‘spoken to’ contact attempt from the dealership because of no phone number on enquiry.
2.    Not actually spoken to customer despite having phone number.
3.    No fixed sales process ‘trained in’ for engagement with web lead.
4.    Multiple voice mails and emails, in small time window, sent to customer with no response activated.

5.    Incorrect or no use of video communication.
6.    Extended follow up period of ‘no contact’ web leads.
7.    Lack of ‘buy-in’ from sales teams on quality of web leads.
8.    Lack of measurement and communication of results to team.
9.    Poor CRM program to track results from web leads.
10.  Ineffective management practises.

How many of the above is happening in your dealership now?

What is the common solution and why it is not very effective?

The common solution would be to phone the customer on the web lead arrival and keep following the customer up until they answer maybe over a number of days/weeks. With continually no answer from the customer, this can be demotivational to sales advisors particularly with a full diary of similar leads to follow up.

2.  Solution - Palmers Motor Company case study – how to convert web leads into sales.

Use an easy-to-use CRM that can show sales conversion rates

Palmers Motor Company use Mentor CRM and DMS to run their dealership. This means that they can quickly gain information on both group and individual performance. Without a management system it would be difficult to identify conversion rates and see where salespeople need that additional investment in training and development.

Communicate your web conversion rate to your sales team

With Palmers Motor Company we rolled out the Web-Connect training program by video conference to the whole sales team. We communicated where the company was from a conversion rate perspective, which was at 7.1%. This was an important part of the process – communicating with the team. Like any type of measurement, this was a line in the sand. From this we set in place what we would need to do differently to have a positive change to the conversion rate.

Give sales people 100% accountability for every single web lead   

Bring 100% accountability for every single web lead that arrives into your business. We created an easy 7 step process that each sales person must deliver on with every web lead. These steps did not mean working harder or longer on each lead, but working smarter and getting better results to sell even more cars.  

Video content for customers with no telephone numbers

An integral part of the Web-Connect training program was the introduction of video content. This was particularly aimed at customers where no contact telephone number had been provided.

What this meant was the sales adviser would send the customer a friendly and professional introduction video of themselves and the business, with the objective of creating a positive first impression and getting a telephone number back from the customer. This enabled the sales advisor to have that critical phone conversation.

Conversion rates and results

This resulted in a 100%+ shift in results going from 7.1% conversion rate to a 16% conversion rate on web leads in the space of 8 weeks. One of the key goals of the Web Connect training program was to have an actual telephone conversation with the customer this would lead to a massive uplift in the conversion rate. This uplift was down to a new strategy with the sales adviser’s ‘double tapping’ the customer’s phone number. Which means if there was no answer on the first call, we would immediately redial the customer again. Both actions completed within a maximum time of 15 minutes of web lead arrival. Plus, if there was no answer on the ‘double tap’, an appointed phone call time was sent by SMS to the customer; this appointment time was set to one hour after the double tap. This was pre-programmed into the Palmers Mentor CRM and made it easier for the sales teams to activate. This proved to be very effective and led to an increase of 45% for ‘first contact’ with the customer.

A key factor of success in 2020 was using video content for customers where there was no phone number. This led to a conversion rate of 80 sales with a 13.2% conversion rate. Over 75% of these videos were sent to customers without a phone number meaning the 80 sales truly were additional to Palmers Motor Company generating just over £120,000 of extra income for the company. 

3. Conclusion

We are in a period of retailing that none of us would have experienced ever before. In order for dealerships to survive, thrive and drive we have to be flexible in our approach in the way we maximise results. A well-used saying and one that’s so relevant at the moment ‘If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we will keep getting what we’ve been getting…..’

Having looked at the problem ‘where are the automobile industry now with web leads?’ and looked at the solution, ‘what worked at Palmers Motor Company?’ we have presented some empirical data to answer this, notably the conversion rate on web leads going from 7.1% to 16%. Again using Mentor, this information was easily accessible and also showed where sales advisers were above or below the 16% and where to focus their attention.

With the combination of TalkSales Web-Connect and Mentor this has proven to be an invaluable partnership to get even better results without any more spend on stock, premises or marketing.


Find out more about Mentor

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Mentor specialise in software for the automotive industry, providing vehicle dealers with cost effective Contact Management and DMS software solutions. With over 20 years of experience and supported by manufacturers and industry specialists, we provide a complete package to help you run and manage your dealership.

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