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The Pros and Cons of a Dealership BDC

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What is an Auto Dealership BDC?

The business development center (BDC) within an automotive dealership is responsible for driving leads and setting sales appointments through both customer outreach and inbound sales calls. Here, employees carry out these customer engagements as their primary role. Depending upon the size of the dealership, a BDC can range from a manager with one or two dedicated employees up to a team of ten or more staff. In dealerships without a dedicated business development center, these duties typically fall to the automotive salespeople.

Pros of Having a Dealership BDC

If a dealership has a dedicated automotive BDC, it is much easier to create uniform systems and standards for incoming and outgoing calls. By creating and implementing these processes, dealers ensure that prospective buyers receive excellent customer service. This gives the dealership the best opportunity to set appointments and sell vehicles. Using a dedicated BDC greatly increases a dealership's chances of converting prospects into leads, leads into appointments, and appointments into sales.

In the absence of a BDC, these duties are left to the sales staff, resulting in many of these processes falling by the wayside. Sales staff are, by nature, focused on selling cars and trucks, so this is particularly true when the floor is busy with customers. Employing a staff that is dedicated to lead generation, answering incoming sales calls, and following up on leads eliminates the need to worry about potential customers feeling neglected when they try to make call the dealership.

Cons of an Auto Dealership BDC?

Some dealer principals and managers see the BDC as an additional expense- another department that requires people and oversight. A poorly run BDC can yield the same drawbacks as an overextended sales staff. Compensation can be an issue. Will BDC staff receive incentives for leads or sales generated? Will both outbound and inbound calls be rewarded? There are many decisions to make. Hiring an experienced BDC manager is a vital key to the success of this department. Just like a sales team, dealership BDC personnel require proper training in phone etiquette and customer service procedures. And, just like other businesses, hiring quality BDC talent today is a challenge. It is difficult to staff and maintain a BDC team with any longevity. High turnover means that managers are often occupied with hiring and onboarding new employees more so than developing sophisticated skills with existing business development representatives (BDRs).

Outsourcing Your Dealership BDC

An increasingly popular choice for today's dealerships is to outsource an automotive BDC to an outside vendor. This has the advantage of working with a company whose entire mission is the implementation and execution of automotive retail customer outreach. The cost varies, as does the quality of work provided. An outside BDC specialist normally sets performance goals associated with their fees. A quality vendor should only require periodic oversight from a dealer or manager in order to evaluate their performance against key performance indicators (KPIs). With that said, outsourced BDCs have many of the same drawbacks as in-house BDC teams. Their teams require continuous training in order to represent a dealership's brand well. Finally, turnover in outsourced BDC businesses is notoriously high- meaning that a typical retail automotive dealership will likely not have consistent representation.

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