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Third-Party Lead Providers are Wasting Your Time & Money – Here’s How

Third-Party Lead Providers are Wasting Your Time & Money – Here’s How

In the auto industry, efficiency isn’t always about how sometimes it’s about who. Like “who are you most likely to sell cars to?” and “who is going to provide you leads that actually convert?” At ZeroSum, our MarketAI data paired with a few key questions allows us to help our clients weed through the good and the bad.   


New and used inventory, or lack thereof, is impacting every conversation being held at dealerships today. While dealers are busy focusing on doing everything they can to increase their gross it’s important to ask themselves “What are third-party vendors doing to provide me opportunity?” and “How are they adapting to the market’s ever-changing climate to give me the most for my money?” 

ZeroSum’s existence in the industry is founded on efficiency. Using real data to solve problems and prove market growth. Plus, we offer more than technology. Of course, our team is in the trenches day-in and day-out helping our clients run smart, data-driven digital campaigns but any marketing agency could do that. Our biggest impact comes from being a partner that helps dealerships use real-time data to make better decisions when it comes to their day-to-day operations. A huge part of this evaluation includes analyzing our client’s lead providers.  

To decide if third-party providers are carrying their weight, dealers can ask a few simple questions: 

  1. Who are the vendors responsible for sending leads?  
  2. How often do those leads convert to a showroom appointment?  
  3. How many sales come from each of those vendor’s leads?  
  4. Are there any identifiable trends in how the leads convert?  
  5. At the end of the month, can the spend be justified?  

Every lead conversion conversation we have with our clients starts with these same questions. Often, the answers prove that many third-party leads do more harm than good. They create a false sense of assuredness where it’s easy to confuse a busy BDC with a highly converting one. Third-party lead generators might produce a lot of leads, but if they don’t convert into showroom visits and sales, they’re nothing more than busy work.  

For that reason, ZeroSum is focused on providing leads from a qualified audience of ready-to-buy shoppers while showing them the vehicles from your inventory that they are actually interested in. Plus, we arm our clients with real data that provides transparency about who is bringing them valuable opportunity and who is not. All of this is a click away, 24/7 via ZeroSum’s MarketAI platform.  

Example of Leads Analysis In the Real World

As part of our regular account management, we do a deep-dive into various vendors and lead providers to make sure our clients get the biggest bang for their buck. After a recent report, we found the following data: 

  1. Direct Leads/Fresh Ups: Made up only 14% of total lead count with a close rate of 24% 
  2. Third-Party Leads: Made up 56% of total lead count and converted the lowest at 5% 
  3. Website Leads: Made up 29% of total leads and converted the highest of any lead source at 10%  

This particular client was shocked by the performance of their third-party lead sources, not to mention the thousands of dollars wasted on dead-end leads. After consulting with their BDC manager, it was clear that if the BDC was focused on the high-volume third-party lead sources they were missing potential sales from their historically best converting sources due to a delay in follow-up.  

So, how did ZeroSum help?  

Our team dove into each third-party lead source and analyzed what vendors weren’t pulling their weight and suggested the client immediately re-evaluate those relationships. At the same time, we leveraged over 100,000 real car buyers in their PMA against their inventory and drove the highest amount of inventory views to their website that they’ve ever seen.  

The result?  

More qualified shoppers landing on their best converting lead source and a more efficient sales process to top it off!  

Moral of the story: 

Chose your partners wisely and get smart with your leads – your BDC, sales staff, and customers will thank you.


Auto dealers, request a free demo today.

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