TagRail digital tracker keeps sales staff, managers in sync
TagRail’s platform tracks key sales metrics for each salesperson in real time.
General Manager Jenan Culic figured there had to be a better way for management at Downtown Toyota in Toronto to work with and encourage the sales team, while at the same time creating a better car-buying experience for customers.
That nagging feeling dissipated this year after Downtown Automotive Group invested in a customer-experience management platform developed by TagRail Inc. The results: better relationships between management and salespeople, higher closing ratios and improved social media reviews from customers.
“In my 17 years here, I’ve seen many interactions with our sales staff and management team and it’s always a debate that doesn’t go anywhere,” said Culic, whose store is one of 10 in Toronto owned by Downtown Automotive Group.
“The debate always centers on how well salespeople did last month or during the current month,” he said. “The salespeople think they did the best they could and management doesn’t think they did enough. It ends up as a race to see who can come up with a better excuse.”
Culic: “There’s no more hiding.”
All that changed with TagRail, a Dublin, Calif., provider of digital tools for auto dealerships. Culic compares TagRail’s platform to a Fitbit personal-fitness tracker. But instead of monitoring exercise levels, the platform tracks key sales metrics for each salesperson in real time.
The sales team uses iPads to connect with the TagRail platform via an app. The platform tracks a variety of metrics, including how many sales appointments were scheduled based on leads provided, number of test drives, times and distances of test drives, sales vs. sales goals and quotes provided to customers.
“We now have total accountability for each team member,” Culic said. “There’s no more hiding with TagRail — everything is exposed. Everybody knows their own stats. Before, we never had total accountability for every interaction. Now it’s all automated. And when we have debates, it’s no longer my opinion vs. theirs. All the data is right there.
“It’s exciting because I can look at, say, three different individuals and see who’s truly hungry — see the [foot] traffic levels and what they’re doing with it,” he said.
TagRail also has helped improve the quality of test drives, which had been a source of continual debate between management and salespeople. Tag-Rail’s platform syncs with smartphones and iPads and uses their GPS technology to track the time and distance of each test drive and compares it with the dealership’s average. It’s an important metric because longer test drives lead to improved closing ratios, Culic said.
“We know a test drive that’s one kilometer long and lasts four minutes isn’t acceptable because it doesn’t bring value to the table,” he said. “TagRail helped us figure out what a good average would be.” The dealership’s average is 22 minutes and 3.7 miles.
In addition, TagRail’s platform includes features that streamline the often drawn-out sales process, a pain point for many customers. For example, the platform allows salespeople to work side by side with customers, examining and pinning down details such as the sale price, down payment amount and interest rates. They can even approve trade-in values without repeated trips to the sales manager’s office — another sore point with customers.
“They can basically complete the transaction, then go to the F&I office to discuss different protections,” Culic said. “If the test drive takes about 15 minutes, the sale can be finalized within about an hour. Customers absolutely love that.”
TagRail’s platform costs the dealership about $2,250 a month. But Culic said it has delivered a good return on investment. The closing ratios at Downtown Toyota, which sold 1,000 new and 350 used vehicles in 2016, have increased about 5 percent. And overall sales are up about 11 percent over 2016 levels, he said.
“It’s hard to quantify how much of that is due to TagRail,” Culic said. “But there’s no question we’re doing better this year than last year.”
Google reviews of the dealership also have improved, which Culic also attributes to TagRail. The reviews not only are more in-depth, but they talk more about the level of engagement between salespeople and customers, he said.
No sales manager
It took roughly two months for employees to learn how to use the TagRail platform effectively, except for some old-school employees who still don’t feel comfortable using it, Culic said. But the benefits make the learning curve worthwhile.
Perhaps one of the most telling indicators of the platform’s success in transforming the sales process is the fact that the dealership now has no sales manager. “We no longer need one,” Culic said bluntly. “Every sales-team member is fully accountable — empowered to make their own decisions.
“It’s all about a team now, rather than employees vs. the chain of command,” he said. “It has totally changed the dynamic between management and sales staff, which in turn provides a much better experience for our customers.”