VP and Partner at DealerKnows
Bill Playford is Vice President and Partner at DealerKnows Consulting. While at DealerKnows, Bill has directly overseen the expansion of product offerings beyond just traditional face-to-face training, coaching, and consulting. The DealerKnows Virtual Dealer Training platform has been deployed in 37 different states and provinces, 28 different CRMs, comprising over 200 dealerships across North America. Bill also manages the continued development of the DealerKnows TaskTeacher program, which monitors and measures the effectiveness of lead management processes, offering automatic insights, and trending analysis to modify opportunity follow-up behavior. After analyzing well over 100,000 leads, and working with more than 1,700 personnel, DealerKnows has been able to offer cost-effective and lasting results, regardless of market, brand, group size, or technology. Bill’s ability to simplify the complex, combined with his breadth of experience, has allowed him to work with the likes of Google, BMW, Experian, and Southeast Toyota.
Prior to DealerKnows, Bill held several key roles at Trilogy Enterprises. Over the course of eighteen months, Bill’s team at Trilogy developed and launched a web buying service for what would become AutoNation Direct and AutoNation SmartChoice Express. His team’s work was later developed into an Internet-specific, manufacturer backed, buying service for the international market. Bill went on to serve as Director of Retail Operations for the SmartLeads program, adding nearly 150 dealers and over 700 franchises to beta test Trilogy’s lead scoring and prioritization software. He helped dealers develop successful ways to efficiently acquire and convert third-party leads, while at the same time working with the development team to continuously refine modeling. His efforts were reflected in the automotive manufacturer and dealer group adoption of the SmartLeads lead purchasing-program.
Bill has a rich history of employing statistical and analytical modeling in the automotive space. He first honed these techniques while working in venture capital before the dotcom bubble burst of 2001. Taking what he had learned at the Crossroads Group (now part of Neuberger Berman), Bill spent four years at one of the pioneering Internet dealers in the country. He was among the very first to launch an automotive analytics program to better understand the behavior of “click-to-buy” customers, culminating in selling and delivering new vehicles to 19 different states. His research directly led to the creation of association-specific buying programs, neighborhood level marketing programs, a proprietary lead scoring model, as well as strategies to cut the cost of sale by over 60%. Bill regularly participates in automotive and non-automotive conferences across North America, and feels honored to mentor young professionals in the retail automotive ecosystem. He has held numerous advisory positions throughout the years, recently working with companies in the fintech, martech, and ride sharing space.
Bill holds a master’s degree in business administration (with a concentration in electronic commerce and entrepreneurship) from Texas Christian University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Edward’s University. He enjoys spending his time outdoors with his wife and four children in rural Jackson, Michigan.