The CRM system is an essential part of today’s dealerships. Almost all employees use it on a daily basis, some more begrudgingly than others! Like it or loathe it, the CRM is here to stay. That being said, CRM providers need to keep pace with the modern internet-based shopper, and many are falling short on this score.


Let’s go back to basics for a second and look at the core purposes of a CRM system:

  1. To tell sales agents which customer to call and when
  2. To improve the quality of these follow ups by helping the sales agents better understand the customer’s needs.

There are some key scenarios where most of today’s CRM systems are failing to deliver on these core promises for internet leads.

No History for First Time Leads

Traditional CRM systems are primarily focused around capturing communication history with a customer. But for a new online shopper who has just filled out a lead form on your website, they will have no history in your system. The only thing the sales agent will know about this customer are their name, their email address and/or phone number, their vehicle of interest and maybe a message. Effectively, the CRM is adding no real value for first time leads. And since a first time customer’s business is much harder to win than a return customer’s, a high quality follow up is even more important.

Poor Follow Up Scheduling

Most CRM systems use either an “elapsed time since last communication” approach or a templated approach (e.g. 1st call within 1hr, 2nd after 1 day, 3rd after 7 days) to scheduling follow ups. This works well for the first follow up call/email where a fast response time is critical. However, for subsequent follow ups this is sub-optimal. With this approach, it can be difficult for sales agents to get the right balance between being pro-active and pestering the customer, because they’re making contact on your timescale rather than on the customer’s.

Plug these CRM gaps with Website Lead Tracking

Website Lead Tracking combines the features of traditional web analytics (e.g. Google Analytics) and those of CRM systems to plug the gaps in customer information and interaction described above. It works by tracking all the significant actions a visitor performs on your website and then uses this data to automatically build a shopper profile for the customer when they become identifiable (usually when they submit a lead form). This profile allows your sales agents to answer questions about new leads such as:

  • What is their price range?
  • What other search criteria did they use?
  • What other vehicles have they shown interest in?
  • Are they interested in trading in or finance offers?
  • How many times have they visited your site?
  • Have they shown interest in visiting your showroom? (e.g. viewing map/directions/opening hours)

It also allows your sales agents to know when existing leads are currently active on your website allowing them to follow up with the customer while they’re in “shopping mode” (like having the Google Analytics Real-Time view but with actual customers names listed).

Who is it for?

Website Lead Tracking is worth considering if any of the following are true for your dealership:

  • Your follow up success rate for internet leads is much smaller than you’d like
  • You often struggle with qualifying and prioritizing internet leads
  • Your main source of internet leads is from your own website (VDP lead form, service/parts lead form, live chat, etc)
  • A large percentage of your internet leads are new customers
  • Your CRM data capture process across sales/BDC agents is fractious
  • Your website allows users to login (e.g. to save favorite vehicles)
  • You have topped out with your current CRM system and want to supplement your lead intelligence data with a new source

How is website lead tracking implemented?

There are several cross-industry customer tracking solutions available today. The highest profile of these are:

  • KISSMetrics - Targeted at e-commerce and web app type sites, it has vast reporting features at both site and individual customer levels
  • Intercom - Combines customer tracking with targeted in-site messaging/chat
  • MixPanel - Similar feature set to KISSMetrics but marketed more at mobile apps

These products all work in a similar way - they add tracking code to your website which records visitor actions which can then be viewed in a customer-oriented portal.

We designed Autochart using the core benefits of these products (cloud hosted, easily installed customer oriented analytics) but with event tracking tailored for automotive websites and a customer portal tailored to an automotive sales agent’s workflow.