Choosing a marketing vendor can be difficult. The decision to partner with a vendor can have lasting impacts on your budget, dealership image, and overall success in your primary market area.
Fortunately, there are a few guidelines you can use as you start to assess your marketing needs and find vendors to help you achieve your goals.
Start by defining your dealership with key decision-makers, discuss the largest areas for improvement, and identify your biggest competitors. Next, take account of your current marketing strategy and assess the effectiveness of each system. This will help prioritize the immediate needs of the dealership.
Now that you have evaluated your current marketing strategy, it is time to research vendor options, watch demos, ask questions about products, and request referrals. As you evaluate vendors, be ready to discuss strategies the dealership has tried in the past and why they failed.
When shopping for a new marketing vendor it is best to come prepared with questions to see if that vendor is the right partner for your dealership.
Here are the top 10 things to look for in your next marketing vendor:
Example: Are they Reynolds and Reynolds certified? Is this vendor Co-op approved?
2. User Experience
What does the experience look and feel like for the people on your team who will most use it? What will that experience look and feel like for your consumers?
3. Creative Services
A single template isn’t going to cut it. Does the vendor offer multiple template designs, A/B tested to ensure results? Is the creative modern and engaging, and how much does your dealership shine in the design?
Will the vendor’s system integrate with the dealership’s current systems? If yes, what does that set-up process include? What level of access, if any, is required to your systems? Are NDA’s provided?
Consumers aren’t only reached through a single channel. Can the vendor adapt to consumer needs to engage them on the channel where they are most likely to respond?
Is the system secured by unique user-ids and passwords?
Is the vendor willing to provide in-person training for dealership staff? How labor intensive is product training? How much supervision does the vendor’s product require by dealership staff?
8. Customer Success Team
Will the dealership work with a single point of contact or multiple contacts? How often will contacts change? Are they trained in Google Analytics reporting?
What kind of reporting does the vendor provide? Is the vendor willing to review results compared to a third-party? (i.e., Google Analytics.)
10. Proven Results
What is the ramp-up period for the product and when can the dealership expect results? What is the average ROI for a dealership that has used the product for 6 months? 1 year? 3 years?
Once all questions have been answered and there is agreement among decision makers, it is time to agree to terms and launch the product.
But don’t stop there.
Evaluate the initial success of the vendor by reviewing provided reports and cross reference results with your original goals. Hold the vendor accountable, and if they don’t meet with your expectations after the agreed upon ramp-up period, it may be time to look for someone new.
Get rid of the fluff and focus on the vendors who prove they put their – and your – customers first.