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Will AI replace your salespeople and beat them at responding to your customers’ enquiries?

Exploring the impact of AI in sales and lead management for the automotive industry.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to provoke both excitement and apprehension. One common concern is whether AI is poised to replace human workers, particularly in automotive sales roles. It’s a valid worry, given the rapid strides AI has made in tasks traditionally carried out by humans, however, at Cox Automotive, we believe that the debate surrounding AI in automotive sales should not revolve around whether it will replace salespeople but rather how it can empower them to perform at a whole new level of productivity. By embracing this perspective, we can harness the full power of AI while ensuring that human expertise remains at the forefront of sales strategies.

Understanding AI in Lead Management:

AI in lead management involves leveraging natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to analyse customer enquiries and respond with tailored, intelligent responses. By analysing past interactions and customer data, AI-enabled systems can understand the intent behind each enquiry and provide relevant information or assistance in real-time.

Using AI to enhance sales capabilities and productivity

One of the most compelling aspects of AI is its ability to reduce organisational friction – those inefficiencies and bottlenecks that can slow down progress and hinder growth.

For example, leading automotive-focused AI developer Impel has found that in the automotive industry, 39% of leads are submitted after hours, 40% of leads received by dealerships are in the market for over two weeks, and 30% never have any level of engagement with your staff. Perhaps the most alarming finding was that 25% of leads are never followed up either during or after hours.

By leveraging AI-powered solutions, automotive dealers can optimise salespeople’s workflows, automate repetitive tasks, and unlock new levels of operational efficiency. AI-enabled lead management solutions allow dealerships to respond to customer enquiries faster and more accurately so your salespeople can have the bandwidth to focus on conversions. But how exactly does AI work in the lead management process, and which types of dealerships can benefit from this technology?

The benefits of AI-enabled lead management are not limited to any specific type of dealership.

Whether you’re a large franchise dealership or a small independent dealer, a lead management platform like LeadDriver, which is available with Impel’s AI solution, can help you streamline your lead management process, improve response times, and ultimately increase sales.

Example of AI-Enabled Lead Management:

Imagine a potential customer visits your dealership website and submits an enquiry about a specific vehicle. Impel’s AI solution in LeadDriver immediately analyses the enquiry, identifies the customer’s preferences and requirements, and generates a personalised response within seconds, whether the enquiry happens during operating hours or after hours. This level of immediate engagement and personalisation sets your dealership apart from the competition and creates a positive experience for the customer day and night.

By responding when the customer is engaged, rather than when it is convenient for you, no matter the time of the day, consumers are much more likely to take the next step if your follow-up is immediate. For instance, responding or following up around 9:00 p.m. will yield much better results than reaching someone at 11:00 a.m. who submitted a lead at 8:30 p.m. the previous night.

Prerequisites for Success:

While AI technology offers tremendous benefits for lead management, specific prerequisites are necessary for implementing a successful system.

Dealerships need a robust website and complete vehicle data for the AI algorithms to work effectively. Additionally, ensuring that technological tools using AI solutions are industry-specific ensures that the AI system operates within industry-specific guardrails and control layers. These guardrails serve as checks preventing the AI from making decisions that could have negative consequences or violate industry regulations, such as data privacy.

Ongoing monitoring and optimisation are essential to ensure that the AI system continues to deliver accurate and relevant responses over time. With industry-specific platforms like Cox Automotive’s lead management system, LeadDriver and Impel’s AI solution, dealerships can confidently embrace AI-driven innovation, knowing they have the tools they need to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving market landscape.

So, will AI replace your salespeople and beat them in responding to your customers’ enquiries?

The quick answer is no: AI won’t replace your salespeople. However, it will beat them at responding to your customers’ enquiries and do it faster and more accurately than most, and enable them to focus on the crucial interactions with customers further along their purchase journey.

By harnessing the power of AI, dealerships can enhance customer engagement, increase sales, and stay ahead of the competition in today’s digital age. Embracing AI technology is not about replacing your salesperson—it’s about empowering them with the tools they need to succeed in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

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