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7 Tips for More-Productive Digital Vendor Meetings

Updated: Mar 21

Going into a meeting (whether in-person, online, or on a call) with a digital vendor can seem daunting for some automotive dealership teams. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be! The digital experts at CBC Automotive Marketing have come up with 7 quick tips on how to have more-productive digital vendor meetings. Now you can walk away feeling empowered and knowledgeable about what your vendor is working on to help grow your dealership or group.

1.) Be Prepared

Whether you’re going into a monthly digital review or a new-vendor interview, make sure you’re informed about what the meeting will be covering. Do not hesitate to ask for prior details, which could include a meeting agenda, digital report, or new-business presentation. Take the time to look these items over and highlight areas you’d like clarification on. This will allow you to make the most out of your meeting.

2.) Ask Questions

Digital programs can vary significantly. It’s a tall order to expect you or your dealership’s staff to be experts in all of those areas. Don’t be intimidated. Always feel empowered to ask the questions that are running through your head during the meeting. Some digital vendors tend to glide over specifics. Kindly interject when you would like more information. If you’re not understanding an explanation, ask your vendor to reword it. Getting your questions answered in real-time will help you later.

3.) Understand the Metrics

Looking at a spreadsheet or dashboard filled with data can be overwhelming. To assist, CBC Automotive Marketing has created a breakdown of key digital marketing terms and metrics. But let’s take it a step further. Talk with your vendor about what your campaigns are optimized for and what kind of conversions are being tracked. This will give you more insight on how well your marketing programs are working. How many times have you seen “conversions” on a report, with no indication of what is actually being counted as a conversion? We’ve seen everything from viewed VDPs all the way to unrelated unpaid traffic being counted as conversions. Dig deeper, so you can walk out of your meeting with a better handle on the real effectiveness of your marketing.

4.) Build Relationships

Just like you want to build strong relationships with your customers, developing solid relationships with your vendors is crucial. The best client-vendor relationships are built on trust, respect and honesty. Having a strong relationship with a digital vendor will make communication easier. Plus, while any good digital vendor should always do a professional job for their clients, a strong relationship could result in your vendor working even harder to over-deliver for you. It’s human nature, after all!

5.) Address Issues

With any good relationship, honesty is key. If you are unhappy with a digital service, communicate that to your vendor. Any good partner will want to know about it and remedy the situation as quickly as possible. How these situations are treated can be a good indicator of whether to continue the relationship. If your vendor is unwilling to make the situation right or downplays your feedback, it may be time to take your business elsewhere.

6.) Talk About the Dough

Money can be an awkward topic, but you should have a full understanding of what you’re paying to the vendor, including fees and / or commissions. If you’re discussing paid search or social advertising, for example, the vendor will be paying some portion to Google, Facebook, etc. But do you know exactly how much is going to the platform for your ads and how much is going to the digital vendor? We’ve seen situations where a new client had previously been paying nearly as much in fees as they had been paying for their actual ads! A good partner will be transparent about what you’re paying. Make sure you have those conversations, even if they are a bit uncomfortable.

7.) Expect Follow-Ups

It’s crucial to set expectations upfront with any digital vendor. If they say they’re going to get back to you on a specific topic, make sure to hold them accountable. Give them a reasonable amount of time based on the project or topic, and if you haven’t heard back from them, send a quick, polite reminder. This will let the digital vendor know that you are on top of things, and you expect the same of them.

These tips will help your dealership or group stay on top of its digital services; making sure that every program is working optimally. With that being said, these tips are just a start. If you’d like to have extra firepower behind you, CBC Automotive Marketing’s digital experts can attend vendor calls with you, or on your behalf, to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

If your dealership or group is looking for a true partner in this crazy digital world, let’s have a conversation.

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