November 1, 2012
When it comes to data on your customers and prospects it is more about quality than quantity.
By Denise L. Rondini, Executive Editor
These days everyone seems to be inundated with data. So much so that we have a new buzzword: Big Data. But having a lot of data won’t do your sales staff or service department any good, if the date is unreliable.
According to Rob Norris, vice president of sales and marketing for RigDig Business Intelligence, dealers need to make sure the data they have is clean. And by that he means the data has been checked for accuracy and any misinformation has been corrected.
For example, Bryan Fanis, director of sales for RigDig Business Intelligence says, Rig Dig can take a database of 35,000 and after using some hygiene on it may discover that 8 percent of the listing in the database are currently not active. “This allows us to put together a database of targeted, qualified prospects.”
He adds, “If you are relying on a database that has not had any type of purging or cleansing done, it is kind of like beating the same dead horse. Nothing changes and that is typically what we see at the truck dealer level.”
When looking for data to purchase, Fanis advises dealers to look for something beyond name and contact information. He suggests dealers look for databases that contain information about the type of equipment the fleet operates, when they purchased it and even what CSA violations have been issued against that fleet.
“From a forecasting standpoint, inventory control, predictive analysis, [the dealer] can start to see that Bryan Fanis Trucking has a fleet of 16 trucks that are [seven years old], that the fleet has a certain OEM brand affiliation and has these types of CSA violations.
“Now when the salesperson is making a call, he is more prepared because he knows more about the fleet.”
In addition, the salesperson will have market intelligence about how long that fleet typically keeps is trucks. “Buying names is one thing, but knowing what is being bought and when allows the salesperson to put some gas on the fire when it comes to the message [he wants to send to the customer] from a marketing and sales standpoint,” Fanis says.
Norris adds that email lists are available today for a relatively low price. “You can buy leads for three cents each,” he says. “But knowing what [the fleet] has financed over the last three or five years allows you to start to see trend data. If it looks like every other year in the fourth quarter this fleet buys  trucks, that information allows the salesperson to be more of business consultant to his customers and prospects.”
Norris and Fanis acknowledge that dealers typically have information on customers who have purchased vehicles from their dealerships, but may not have reliable data on other vehicles domiciled in their area of responsibility that they could try to sell service to.
Having information on the age of trucks in their AOR as well as access to CSA information, allows dealers to target service promotions to the individual needs of specific fleets in their territory.
“All dealers offer ancillary product lines of things such as EOBRs or other driver-related items. If I am a dealer in Charlotte, N.C. and I know there are 25 fleets in my general market that have driver log violations or tire violations I can, in real time, get in front of those fleets with a product solution that addresses an immediate need,” Fanis says.
Norris believes a lot of dealers typically undervalue or have an incorrect view of the competitive landscape in their market. “They don’t have quality data; they just have leads. They get information from their sales staff, but the reality of the market may be very different from what they are hearing from their staff,” he says.
“As a result, they may not know if they are gaining or losing ground. They may not be aware of all the potential buyers in their market. That is the kind of thing that [proper] data can help them with rather than relying on the word on the street.”