Hone your digital sales and marketing skills for success


It’s no secret that there’s been a huge growth in the need for digital sales and marketing skills in the automotive sector. In the IMI’s latest Driving Auto Forwards report it highlights the top ten drivers for skills change in UK Automotive in the next two years. One of them is online sales and digital marketing.

As it states in the report, e-commerce has been growing for many years, and the automotive sector is seeing the impact. Sales professionals need digital sales and online marketing skills as well as knowledge of customer relationship management  tools. So what can you do to make sure you have the right skills in place?

Infact there’s a huge amount businesses can set in place to make sure they don’t fall behind.

Sabina Hegarty is Managing Director of Calibre Group Solutions says: “Forward thinking businesses that focus on their digital responses, are seeing huge success in conversion rates from online enquiry into sales, and thereby racing ahead of their competition who are slower off the mark. Customers love the time saving efficiencies that digital offers, and return again and again to the dealers that are the most responsive.”

Hegarty lists five skills that everyone needs to get to grips with if they want to be successful:

  • Confidence on camera
  • Building rapport and trust through a lens
  • Presenting skills
  • Product placement
  • Social media

“Utilising video is a must over the next few years, and the dealerships with skilled people, delivering standout customer experiences online will be the ones that will seamlessly generate more business opportunities. That is why it’s more important than ever for management teams to look towards formal, specialised digital training as part of their overall sales training strategy,” she says.

Digital tools for smaller businesses

The need to embrace online sales and digital marketing isn’t something just for bigger companies, everyone needs to make the most of the tools available to boost business.

For smaller workshop owners the process could mean making more of the tools available from organisations such as Facebook owner Meta.

Meta, for all the bad press it receives, remains a strong performer, remaining the largest platform for users, boasting 32,000,000 users in the UK alone with 58% of those users logging in more than once a day.

So how can businesses make the best use of it, and the tools it offers, to improve how they operate? Here are four tips penned by the IMI’s Hayley Pells…

1 Live Chat

If there is capacity to sustain a live chat, there is no reason why both are not used. The live function doesn’t have to reflect the business full operational hours, only the window that the chat is available – using the automated responses for “out of live chat” hours.

2 Direct messages

If permission is granted by the motorist, using a direct message function can make authorisation for estimated work faster. If the usual experience is to contact by phone, it could be worth analysing how many authorisations are made instantly, and out of those that are, how many feel like they are pressured?

Using a direct message can take advantage of photos, short videos, and drop in essential information such as lead times and costs. This can allow the user time to digest the information, perhaps seek spousal or familial support with their decision, and return the answer within the same platform – giving the business a time and date stamped approval for work to go ahead.

3 Building relationships beyond the sale

On completion of work, the digital communication journey can continue, using the platform to follow up with reminders, such as remembering to revisit to check the tightness of wheel nuts, or asking if they were happy with their recent visit. This can create a more meaningful and personalised experience, and sense of connection.

4 Don’t spam!

Keep it sincere, and don’t use the messenger function to pester for future work – the problem with live chat and instant messenger is that it can invite a lot of unwanted sales pitches to a platform, ones that very swiftly get blocked, this is not what any organisation wants for their communication channels!

The need to incorporate online sales and digital marketing into business practice is only going to grow, the sooner you get a handle on how you’re going to achieve it the better.

Read the IMI’s Driving Auto Forward: The top ten drivers for skills change in UK Automotive in the next two years in full