“No, but I play a doctor on television”…Would you let him operate on you? Probably not, yet we still see, time and time again, people holding “internet marketing manager, director, and/or guru” titles in dealerships who have absolutely no right being at the helm of the internet sales department ship. He or she interviewed well for the job, threw around the right buzz words, and was convincing enough to get an offer letter. He or she talked a good talk, but once on the job they struggle to walk the walk.
Why is that? How does this happen? More importantly, what can you do to make sure that when you are hiring for your internet department’s manager you know what you are getting?
You need to know and document (job description) what experience and skills you need for the sales end of things within your internet department and then identify what experience and skill you need for the technical, operational, and promotional aspect of your internet marketing—two separate individuals and/or skill sets. More often than not, a store hires an internet manager with the expectation that the manager will:
· Provide IT support
· Manage the store’s network
· Troubleshoot for end users of systems
· Manage the dealer’s websites
· Promote the website (SEO and SEM)
· Promote the store (merchandizing of inventory and eCommerce marketing)
· Manage the department’s staff-development and motivation
· Manage the CRM and its’ users
· Manage third-party lead providers
· Manager inventory on websites such as Cars.com and Autotrader
· Manage a pricing tool such as VAuto or Firstlook
· Sell the appointment and, in some stores, sell the vehicle
These expectations are a very tall order for one person alone to pull off. It would be like finding a needle in a haystack to find one person who could fulfill all of those performance requirements. To fill that job description would mean finding someone who has the ability to deliver soft skills (sales, negotiating, communicating, rapport building/people skills, etc.) along with hard skills (vast technical knowledge, computer skills, etc.)
The most successful internet departments I ever worked with had two captains at the helm. They did not necessarily share the “captain” title either. The internet manager was the driver of the department (the people driver) and his or her “assistant” was the technical guru. A good internet manager will see to it that his or her department is structured that way. A good internet manager (or any manager for that matter) knows exactly his or her weaknesses and hires and develops people around them accordingly.
I recommend when interviewing that first and foremost on your interview question sheet is how the candidate plans on creating a fine-oiled machine. This will help you to determine, with all that is needed to be done well in your internet department, if this person has the leadership qualities necessary to identify deficiencies and find or develop their people to support them.
Dave Page is the director and co-owner of Dealer e Process, LLC., founded in 2007. For more information please visit www.dealereprocess.com or call 866-606-7916.