NADA Show 2019 Highlights the Importance of Focusing on Your Dealership People Strategy to Maintain Profitability

By Beth Kempton,
January 31, 2019

Several Hireology team members attended NADA Show 2019, which took place in San Francisco from January 24-27. The annual show brings together automotive industry leaders, manufacturers, exhibitors and other key players to learn the latest tools, tactics and industry trends, see the hottest new automotive products and technologies, and make important connections with one another.

As a strategic hiring partner in retail automotive – powering hiring for 1 in 7 new car dealerships across the country – Hireology attends the NADA Show every year to learn more about challenges dealers face today – and how Hireology can address these challenges by helping them build their best teams. Below, we’ve pulled together an overview of key trends we noticed at NADA Show 2019.

At the event, there was a lot of talk about headwinds and impending shifts dealers anticipate in the retail automotive industry. Some of these expected shifts include: diminished profitability due to margin compression, a slowing car sales market, a changing buying structure and vehicles needing service less frequently.

Given these shifts, dealers need to find new ways to maintain profitability. Across panels and workshops at NADA Show 2019, speakers discussed several ways to boost profitability, including the following.

Focus on Your People Strategy

Beyond challenges surrounding market compression and a slowing car sales markets, dealers are also tasked with selling to a more knowledgeable customer base than ever before. Today’s automotive customers complete extensive research before buying a new car – and in many cases, have already made a purchasing decision before walking into a dealership. This means your dealership’s employees are the only thing standing between customers and a final purchase, and customers won’t hesitate to buy from a dealer down the street if they have a poor experience.

While building the right team is critical to any dealership’s success, hiring qualified employees has never been more challenging. The unemployment rate is at a historic low and few job seekers are interested in dealership careers. Now more than ever, your dealership needs to excite top job seekers about the possibility of joining your team through a compelling employment brand, including a strong career site.

A compelling career site answers the “What’s in it for me?” question for job seekers. To answer this question, outline key benefits of joining your team, career paths, employee success stories and testimonials, and an overview of your dealership’s company culture. A strong career site and employment brand will drive 10 times higher applicant-to-hire conversion, helping your dealership build a great, productive team who will meet and exceed the expectations of today’s customers.

Be More Strategic About Digital Media Spend

A big topic of conversation at NADA Show 2019 was digital media spend. Dealers have long embraced targeted advertising as a key way to attract customers in the $1.1 trillion automotive industry. Dealerships now spend around 63% of their marketing budgets on online and digital advertisements. And dealers are tapping into a wide variety of sources to get their digital ads in front of their target audience – including online ad giants such as Google and Facebook and listing websites like AutoTrader and CarFax.

If a consumer advertising campaign doesn’t drive results for your dealership, you likely rethink your spending and move your budget elsewhere to advertising channels that are proven to show ROI. And your dealership should take the same approach when it comes to recruitment advertising.

Many dealers – and businesses across industries – make the mistake of buying costly, one-off job board postings with unknown ROI. But traditional recruitment methods like job boards only drive 50% of the total applicants you need to make a hire. By instead investing in a multichannel recruitment marketing strategy, you can drive 10 times more quality applicants for your open roles.

Beyond simply job boards, strategic recruitment marketing includes a compelling career site, search engine-optimized job descriptions, programmatic advertising and a candidate network to build relationships with top talent. And by partnering with a recruitment CRM, your recruitment marketing budget can be managed for you, helping you only invest in job board feeds, social media and other channels that drive results for your dealership.

Make the Most of Technology

At NADA Show 2019, Distinguished Speaker Alan Haig, president of Haig Partners said, “Technology is not treated as an ally to productivity and efficiency.” Rather, may dealers simply see technology as an added expense. But in many cases, this is because dealers who have technology in place don’t necessarily use it to their fullest potential.

When best-in-class technology is fully embraced, it can help your dealership run much more efficiently and, as a result, increase profitability. Take hiring, for example. Many dealers don’t have hiring technology or a standardized hiring process in place. This can lead to wasting time manually reviewing every job applicant, overlooking quality applicants, and driving top talent away due to a slow and inefficient hiring process.

For each day you have an open role at your dealership, you’ll lose an average of $1,000 in gross profit. But by partnering with a hiring technology provider such as a recruitment CRM, you can reduce time to hire, adding profitability back to your dealership. A recruitment CRM empowers dealers to build stronger relationships with candidates and hire their best teams.

Using a recruitment CRM, you can centralize all candidate data and weed out unqualified applicants with prescreen surveys, so you don’t manually review each applicants. You can also keep candidates engaged throughout the hiring process with candidate text messaging. And you can automate many steps in the hiring process, such as background and reference checks. This will save your dealership time and money while ensuring you have the best team in place to set your dealership up for success.

Post-hire, a recruitment CRM can measure the success of your hiring process to help you make data-driven business decisions. For example, if your total time to hire takes longer than expected, you can identify key areas to improve during the hiring process – such as reviewing applicants quicker or scheduling interviews in a more timely manner. And if certain applicant channels aren’t driving quality candidates, it likely means you should invest your recruitment marketing budget elsewhere. Ultimately, such data enables you to outline actionable next steps for improvement in the hiring process.

These are just a few of the many hot topics discussed at NADA Show 2019. For more information on how Hireology’s Recruitment CRM can help you maintain profitability by attracting and hiring your best team, schedule a demo today.

About the Author

Beth is the content strategist on Hireology’s marketing team, responsible for creating compelling blog posts, eBooks, marketing materials and other content. Her background includes five years of experience at a B2B digital marketing agency, where she crafted content for a variety of clients, including several in the HR technology space. Before beginning her career, Beth attended Loyola University Chicago, where she studied advertising and public relations.

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