Over the last 15 or so years, a quiet revolution has taken place in the automotive sales industry with the advent of customer relationship management software tailored specifically for automobile dealerships. A well-rounded CRM dealer package can collect vast amounts of customer information, including contact details, sales history, service history, and personal preferences, and combine it with a multiple-channel marketing system to streamline your marketing efforts and maximize sales. It can also manage your inventory more effectively, improve the operations of your sales, finance, accounting and service departments, and increase customer loyalty.
With rising completion for each and every sale, and thinner and thinner profit margins, it is all but necessary today to invest in a quality CRM dealer package, if only to stay one step ahead of competing dealerships. While there are many CRM dealer packages currently available, not all of them have the wide range of features required in today’s Internet-centric marketplace.
To get the most for your investment, here are some of the specific attributes you should look for when choosing a CRM dealer solution:
#1 Single Source for All Software
A full CRM dealer solution is typically a combination of a CRM package with multiple modules or plugins for related purposes, such as an inventory solution, internet lead management, call center integration, a business development center solution and data management. This allows the package to be customized to your dealership’s specific needs and leaves options for growth in the future. To get the best integration of the various services and to have full interoperability, it is a good idea to choose a single-source solution, where all software and additional modules are from the same vendor. This greatly improves ease-of-use and helps to ensure that your staff will take full advantage of the tools available to them.
#2 Intelligent Data Management
Every piece of data from a potential customer is vital to your marketing and sales efforts, and with such a large quantity coming in from showroom visits, service visits, marketing campaigns, phone calls and Internet leads, any CRM dealer package must have a robust way to collect and manage all of the data. It should collect all the potential contact information for your customers, including home phone numbers, work phone numbers, motile phone numbers, home addresses and email addresses. It should also include a full vehicle sales history for each customer, a full service history, a record of which premium services or products that customer has accepted or declined, and what types of marketing each customer has responded to favorably to in the past. All of these data points can be used to develop a better-targeted marketing campaign in the future, and get more people into your showroom.
#3 Multi-Channel Marketing
Today’s customers rely on multiple sources of information to make purchase decisions, and with computers, mobile phones and the Internet, they have more information than ever before right at their fingertips. As such, marketing has had to adapt, and to reach customers effectively, you cannot rely on only one or two methods to receive a favorable response. You must employ multiple marketing methods, including a full-featured website, direct mail, phone calls, text messages, email and, arguably the most important, social media. A good CRM dealer package can help you to plan and organize an effective marketing campaign that employs all of these methods where appropriate to generate the highest amount of sales. It will also help you to collect and analyze data about the effectiveness of each campaign, so that you can adjust your efforts accordingly to generate a higher response. Within your dealership, the software can also help your staff to identify opportunities to increase sales, by offering premium services, parts and accessories with each sale or service visit.
#4 Website Integration
Before even coming into a dealership, many customers do their initial research on the Internet, and to capture those potential sales, your dealership must have a strong web presence. This should include a real time inventory of available vehicles, plenty of information about each vehicle, information about your financing programs, and an easy-to-use interface to sign up for mailing lists, request more vehicle information, speak to a dealership representative, schedule an appointment or to begin the financing application and sales process. A CRM dealer solution can help you to make the most out of your website by managing your inventory, collecting vital customer data, and ensuring that each sales lead and customer inquiry is acted upon properly. It will also help you to analyze the performance of your internet marketing efforts, track customer interest on each page of your website and facilitate better communication with your customers through email, phone and social media.
#5 BDC and Call Center Integration
Generating new sales leads and retraining existing customers are vital to every dealership. By integrating BDC and call center services into the CRM dealer package, you will be able to reduce the pressure on your sales team, improve customer relationships and generate more sales leads than ever before. The call center will be able to handle all calls into and out of the dealership, providing the first point of contact with all potential customers, and it will work with the BDC to develop appropriate call scripts that increase conversions and generate new leads. The BDC will organize and schedule email campaigns and work with the call center to make sure that every sales lead is acted upon. It will also use the appropriate communication methods to remind customers of upcoming sales and service appointments, and follow up with each customer after the visit in an effort generate further sales. By staying engaged with your customers, your dealership can increase customer loyalty and keep them coming back for further sales and service.
By choosing a CRM dealer package that has all these basic features, you will be giving your dealership the tools that it needs to market itself more effectively, drive sales to significantly higher levels and improve the relationship with your customers through better communication, more intelligent marketing, and a diverse selection of products and services that are tailored to their unique needs.