Regardless of whether it’s service, parts, sales, or rental, each department has various roles that need to be filled to successfully take care of customers and to make sure the dealership is growing as projected. In the past, I have discussed both the service and parts roles. Now, I want to focus specifically on sales. Depending upon the size of your dealership, one person may take on several of these roles or you may have one person specifically filling each position.
Regardless, keep in mind that each department has a salary cap limit on what can be paid out to make sure your dealership hits its profit target.
This position normally comes into play when a dealership has three or more locations. The role of the sales director is to develop sales plans and individual objectives for each dealership location. This position works closely with either the store managers or the sales manager of each dealership location to make sure that sales plans are being implemented and goals are on target. The sales director will also work to coordinate both dealership and manufacturer marketing efforts so that they align with the dealership organization corporately as well as each individual dealership location.
In a 1- or 2-location dealership, the sales manager will take on the roles that a sales director would be doing. The sales manager is responsible for overseeing both inside and outside sales people, creating a sales and marketing plan, and making sure goals and objectives are hit. A sales manager will normally be involved with larger, ‘A-level’ type customers, as well as any account that might be important and in peril of loss for the dealership. While the sales manager may be the lead on an account, their goal would be to bring an inside sales person into the account with them so they can delegate the day-to-day customer contact to them instead of getting tied up with more minor tasks.
In most dealerships today, the sales people are answering calls, taking care of internet leads, and handling potential customers who walk through the door. This would be the role of an inside sales person. The inside sales person would be responsible for taking care of and inputting all customer contact in the dealerships CRM or lead tracking software. When customer sales are down or slow, you should expect inside sales to be making outbound calls to their sales pipeline so that they can achieve the sales production that has been assigned to them by their sales manager.
Outside sales people are working each day to uncover new large customers using a combination of phone work along with personal visits to the potential customers’ locations. In addition to working to secure new accounts for the dealership, they will also be engaged in maintaining regular contact with a list of existing customers. In a typical travel day, an outside sales person will be able to make contact with 8-10 customers or potential customers.
As extended warranty programs, insurance, and financing opportunities begin to change, dealerships are looking at adding a finance and insurance (F&I) assistant to their sales departments. The F&I assistant meets with the customer after they have made a decision to purchase equipment going over the financial information, paperwork, and making the customers aware of options, accessories, and insurance, as well as extended warranty programs available to them. They work with the service department to make sure everything the customer was promised has been delivered and the customer is excited about their experience with the dealership.
Sales assistants typically perform a variety of tasks to support sales managers and both inside and outside sales people in their duties. In most cases, the role of the sales assistant is clerical, but they can be used to help do research for a presentation to a large potential customer and serve as a point of contact for existing customers.
As I mentioned, the roles you have in your sales department will vary based upon the volume of sales you produce each year. While most dealerships will not have a person in each role that I outlined, there are elements in each role that must be handled by someone to make sure the customer has the ultimate buying experience and will tell their friends and neighbors why they should do business with your dealership and your team.