How to Sell your GM on an Attribution Tool

March 15th, 2023

“What brought you in today?” It’s a common question car salespeople ask every customer. It’s a tactic to get the shopper talking and opening up, and it can help find out what channels bring in dealership traffic. But it’s inaccurate, and it doesn’t account for much more than the most recent touchpoint a customer recalls. And it’s not the best way to measure marketing metrics. That’s where attribution comes into play.

It can be hard to justify the investment in attribution: why do you need it, what are potential benefits and how can it help meet your dealership’s goals? You know that there is a great deal of value in having an attribution tool, but what about convincing others? This blog post will give you some ideas for selling your general manager on investing in an attribution tool. 

Explore how to present an attribution tool to your GM that could revolutionize sales at your dealership while providing tangible ROI. Plus, discover tips on gaining approval from upper management so you’ll have them wondering why they haven’t bought in sooner.

Why Attribution and Visibility Are So Important

What makes attribution and visibility such a crucial topic for auto retailers? If you’re looking to make the sales pitch to your GM for an attribution tool, you likely understand its key features but might not be able to articulate them. Here’s a concise summary of the main points it’s important, and you’ll be able to formulate your argument with these in mind.

  • Improved campaign performance. Whatever your management role, you can painfully recall a marketing campaign that completely failed at its goals. Attribution can look at data in real-time and if it’s underperforming, you can tweak it or replace it.
  • Increased visibility into the customer journey. There’s no need to wonder where each of the ups, calls, and online leads come from. Expose the not-so-secret sources that attract the most attention from customers, keep their attention the longest, and ultimately compel action.
  • More efficient budgeting and resource allocation. Still placing archaic ads in the local paper? Wouldn’t it be interesting to determine at a click which online sources are getting the most attention and directing your co-op dollars there, where they’re most effective?
  • Better ROI tracking. What does every vehicle you sell cost in terms of customer acquisition, and which sources generate the highest profit-generating clientele? Know where your dollars are spent, and which sources generate the best returns.
  • Consolidated analytics, marketing, and sales data sources. It takes an immense amount of time for a dealership staff member to access each data source, review the analytics, and determine the efficacy of a marketing campaign – and it’s not as good as an attribution tool. Put your staff resources to better use.
  • Unbiased data interpretation. The sunk cost fallacy means that someone might interpret data to be favorable rather than abandoning a bad strategy. An attribution tool is unbiased and only tells the cold, hard facts.

Understanding the GM’s Objections

General managers oversee and manage the whole store, and their time is often spent putting out fires more than making strategic changes. They’re driven, intelligent, and have a mindset on making the sale, never stopping to even consider taking no for an answer. So, getting their attention onto an attribution tool can be tricky, even to carve out time to present it. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of any time you have with focused, actionable, and verifiable information. 

But first, you need to know what’s going to drive their responses. Rebuttals like, “We’ve always done it this way, and it works. Why change it now?” are almost a guarantee. Three things are common hurdles you’ll need to prepare for.

Unfamiliarity with new technology

Let’s be honest, general managers rarely have a marketing degree, and their focus on profit generation is borne out of real-world experiences at the dealership level. While a boots-on-the-ground leadership style is excellent for leading a sales-driven team, it’s impossible to keep up with the technology that becomes available. 

You’ll need to break through the idea that the dealership’s tried-and-true methods are still ‘good enough’, pointing out that new tools for attribution are the way forward in today’s economy.

Difficulty comprehending the scope of the data

“Isn’t that what Steve in marketing does?”

“Trader can get me the traffic and conversion stats.”

The scope of attribution data is more than a one-person job – the same person that’s often working on IT, cybersecurity, and a few other things. And a jack-of-all-trades marketing manager can easily miss the markers of success or failure, and they simply can’t consolidate the data for easy consumption. And do you really want your data reported by the same companies that generate your leads?

Implementation cost

You’ll be presenting a tool that adds an expense, and general managers get their hackles up quickly at that suggestion. “What does it cost?” is probably one of their earliest responses. This objection needs to be overcome, not glossed over, because attribution will give your GM the data to make better, more informed decisions on customer acquisition, sales, and marketing.

Tips to Gain Approval for an Attribution Tool

The time you have with your GM to pitch an attribution tool might sell them or, at the least, bring them a step closer and open the door to another conversation. These are four tips to use in your presentation to sell them on it.

Show the Missed Opportunities

Likely, you have a grasp on how many customers are acquired after an online inquiry, which is most of them – that’s easy to demonstrate. But how many page views were there for a single vehicle that resulted in being abandoned without a clickthrough? Or for the service and parts departments, how low is the CTR? Each of those represents an opportunity missed, but it doesn’t tell you a story about why

Provide your GM with recent data that could be acted on if only there was a faster, more accurate way of interpreting the data. Missed opportunities are a killer because it means they’ve probably spent their money at a competitor.

Demonstrate the Time Savings for Staff

Steve does his best to stay on top of marketing results, but he’s spread thin. Doing the creative side of ads is one thing, but attribution isn’t often in the same person’s skill set. It’s time-consuming to switch hats, and the results aren’t as comprehensive as they could be. And Steve’s salary can be put to better use if he’s more focused on marketing campaigns, anyway.

Having an outside source provide unbiased attribution data gives the GM what he needs, and it frees up Steve for work he’s better suited to. Plus, he doesn’t have to keep abreast of changes Google, Facebook, and other lead generators make to reporting.

Emphasize the Financial Upside

You’ll need to answer the biggest question, and that’s about money. What is the ROI going to be? If you can identify one source that’s been underperforming, such as clickthroughs on VDPs on your dealer website, extrapolate on what revenue could look like if you improved the response rate in terms of vehicle sales. Then, expand the revenue as if you better understood and took action to improve all channels. While the numbers you present are theoretical, they’re bound to show a massive improvement that far outweighs the cost of an attribution tool.

Line Up a Demo

Investing in a tool or software doesn’t come easily for GMs who are bombarded constantly in their inbox with offerings. But if they can see in a concise demonstration what opportunities exist and how an attribution tool can help, it goes a long way to making the sale. This is like the product walkaround and test drive all in one, and it’s crucial to reaching the close.

Attributely is the comprehensive attribution tool that empowers you to use your analytics and data more effectively. Learn more by requesting an audit and a demo, and you’ll see why it’s a no-brainer for your store’s ongoing success.

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