Tilley had an idea to create specialized training to improve performance. Starting in January 2020, Modern — which sold about 16,000 new and used vehicles last year — began to collect data on the performance of each BDC staffer and followed up with customized training based on each employee's needs.
That customized training began at the Chevrolet store, where BDC employees were given focus areas based on their strengths, Tilley said. For instance, an employee who wasn't as strong on the phone might instead handle Internet leads.
"Each one of those seats are so important that you've got to make sure that you've got the right person there and you're training and coaching and doing all that stuff, or you're going to be letting people go because their percentages aren't that good," he said. "And then you never get any momentum."
Modern focused on improving BDC representatives' individual abilities, Tilley said. The group partnered with DSI360, a North Carolina company that provides tools and services for business development centers, and consultant David Kain, who provides training.
DSI360 conducted mystery-shopping events starting last January to evaluate how well employees handled different types of leads, Tilley said. The vendor also created data dashboards that helped the group quickly digest real-time metrics on sales, appointments set and closing rates by store and across the group and then gain insight into how each BDC rep was performing.
Without that visibility, scenarios could exist in which some representatives were setting appointments at far higher rates than others, DSI360 CEO Stephen McGee said. Modern can set goals for individual BDC agents within DSI360's system, and it can flag when an employee is falling short of a goal and recommend training.
The tailored approach sets up employees for success, McGee said, which translates to additional earning potential and better retention.
"One of the things we always talk about is you have to inspect what you expect," he said, adding that success requires both collecting information and acting on it.
Tilley said Modern Automotive Group now can adjust if performance is not meeting expectations before too much of the sales month has passed. Rather than reviewing month-end reports for what could have been done differently, Tilley said he holds weekly calls to go through the data and talk about changes that could be made to achieve sales goals.