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3 Things to Consider When Shopping for Car Dealer CRM Software

Posted on April 30, 2016 by Car Research

3 Things to Consider When Shopping for Car Dealer CRM Software

Car dealer CRM software is a great way to simplify your dealership’s operations, make it run more efficiently and increase your sales and profit figures, but there are many competing packages available today. In order to find the right one to meet your dealership’s needs, you must do a bit of research, learn about the various features that are available and ask potential vendors plenty of questions, like what is included and what kind of training and support is available for the software.


Here are a few of the things that you should consider before buying car dealer CRM software for your business:


#1 Standard Features

Most car dealer CRM software packages feature a range of standard features like customer data management, sales tracking, and marketing tools. Some packages are very basic, but offer a variety of additional modules that can be added according to the requirements of your dealership. Some of the features to look for include:


  • Internet lead management: This is software that works with your website, email system and social media accounts to track incoming leads from the Internet and assign them to the appropriate team for follow-ups with the customers. In today’s online economy, customers perform research before they set foot into a dealership. A good Internet lead manager must be able to integrate with your Internet marketing efforts and act swiftly on any Internet-based leads to keep the attention of potential customers and bring them into the dealership for a possible sale.
  • Online scheduling tools: This software allows customers to schedule sales and service appointments online, making it easier for both the customer and the dealership. A good online scheduling system sets appointments when it is best for the customer and the dealership. It also reminds customers and dealership staff about appointments.
  • Customer data management: A quality car dealer CRM package should have an easily-accessible data base with all of the customer’s history, including sales and service data, credit and financial history, vehicle ownership and full contact information. It should make it easy for dealership staff to enter customer information, including home addresses, email addresses, home phone, work phone, mobile phone, and social media account information. It should allow easy and instant retrieval of any and all information at a moment’s notice to facilitate sales and service operations. It should also be able to generate reports about customer sales trends, demographics, and other marketing information vital to the efforts of your dealership.
  • Marketing tools: Car dealer CRM software should feature a larger variety of marketing tools to help you reach new and existing customers. A quality CRM solution helps you develop an efficient and effective marketing plan using multiple channels. This includes conventional marketing techniques like direct mail, local advertisements and phone calls, as well as new marketing techniques like text messages, customized emails, Internet advertisements and social media outreach. It customizes your marketing using all available customer information, statistics and demographics, and track the success of various marketing campaigns using intelligent data analysis. It should also include promotional tools that keep the interest of your existing customers, such as loyalty programs, coupons and discounts on sales and service that keep your customers coming back.


#2 Available Features

Often, additional tools can be added on to the base car dealer CRM package, allowing you to customize the software for your needs and helping it grow along with your business. Here are a few of the most useful features that can be added to car dealer CRM packages:


  • Call center and business development center: Many car dealer CRM packages offer virtual call center and BDC operations as optional services for their base packages. These packages allow the dealership’s staff to focus on direct sales to customers at the dealership, while allowing professionally-trained personnel to handle incoming customer phone or internet inquiries, to follow-up on sales leads, and to maintain contact with each customer individually after every sales and service appointment. Promising sales leads can be transferred to dealership personnel for follow-through, reducing the amount of time sales personnel spend on unnecessary tasks. Call centers and BDCs improve the personal relationship with each customer, leading to better customer satisfaction and a higher potential for ongoing sales.
  • Inventory management: Many car dealer CRM packages offer a comprehensive inventory management solution that allows your dealership to track the number of vehicles on the lot, their makes and models, and how popular each model is with a customer segment. It helps determine which vehicles sell the fastest, which make the most profit, and which discounts to avoid. It can also offer more information about each vehicle to your customers, and integrate your inventory with your website.
  • Service department CRM: A service department module can be added to many car dealer CRM packages to help streamline operations in the service department, through comprehensive repair order tracking, customer notification services, repair scheduling and other tools. It can also increase sales by suggesting premium products and services that a customer may be interested in, and tracking previously accepted and declined offers.


#3 Training And Support

In order to take full advantage of a car dealer CRM package, there must be comprehensive training and support available to each dealership and to new users of the system. A quality CRM dealer will offer full on-site training with the initial installation of the car dealer CRM package, along with periodic training updates, online training and user-accessible documentation and training materials. It will also offer full software support, with email, phone and Internet-based support services.


By researching what features are available in various car dealer CRM packages, as well as what kind of training and support is offered, you can determine which package will be the best fit for your dealership, leading to improved sales and higher profits in the future.

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