Now that we’ve discussed what vendor accountability is, let’s discuss some of the tools we’ll use to hold our vendors accountable. Now, before I get into that you’re going to notice that I’m going to use the word ‘our’ a lot. That’s because I don’t identify as a vendor. I identify with the dealer. Our job is to hold the vendors accountable and get what we deserve for our marketing dollars. I’m on your team.
Vendor accountability can be very tricky, and we’ll have a lot of different vendors doing a lot of different things, which means that we’ll need a lot of different tools to be able to measure those vendors. Depending on what service our vendors provide for us, it can change the way we measure that vendor’s performance; but almost universally we’ll be wanting to use the same tools.
The Types of Tools We’ll Want to Use
Your CRM | any tool that’s providing leads to us should be manifested inside our CRM. You’re going to need a Google Analytics account (both a standard universal analytics account, and a new Google Analytics 4 account. It’s very important that you ensure the dealership owns those. With the high amount of turnover we see in our vendor partners (particularly once we start doing vendor accountability). You’re going to want to make sure that you have that continuity of data. So, you’re going to want to own those accounts so, no matter what vendor you’re using, you can look back at your data no matter the time frame.
You’re going to need your own Google Ads account. Even if you’re not running pay-per-click yourself, you’re going to want access to the keyword planner. You’re going to need a Google Search Console account. While Google Analytics can show us what happened on our website, Google Search Console will show us what happened in Google Search. You’re going to want a Bing Webmaster Tools account (the Microsoft equivalent of Google Search Console) to let you know what happened in Bing search.
Yes, Bing. Certain audience segments favor Bing over Google, believe it or not…even in 2023.
You’re going to want a spreadsheet program, either in Google Sheets or Microsoft XL, so we can look at our data in a sensible manner. You’re going to want Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) or some other dashboarding tool to be able to pull all of your data into one place, to look at data in context. You’re going to want a standard monthly meeting form that you fill out when you have meetings with your vendors. Depending on what the vendor is, you’ll have different questions. You can find these, for free, at thinkbetter.marketing. And if you’re using any call tracking, you’re going to want access to the call tracking dashboard, so we can see what lead sources have been providing us calls.
Now that we have access to all those free accounts, it’s crucial that we link them together – where we can – to further provide context. At a minimum, you’re going to want to connect the following:
- Your Google Analytics account => your Google Search Console account, so you can tie what happens in Google Search to the actions people take on your website.
- Your Google Ads account => your Google Analytics account, to see what actions people (that you’re paying per-click for) take once they reach your website.
- Your Google Ads account => your Google Search Console account, so you can look at the ‘Paid’ and ‘Organic’ report, and ensure that you’re not bidding up words you already rank strong organically for – and to find new SEO keywords for your provider to write content that you’re already paying for.
Once you have access to all those accounts, and have them linked together, we’re ready to start measuring our vendors. First up: 3rd party inventory providers like Autotrader, Cars.com and CarGurus. See you next week.