Our three-location dealership family is in the process of switching websites. After a bit of research, I’ve categorized our web options into three groups:
- All-inclusive website/online marketing/CRM tool
- Standalone website
- Local web design/host service
After considering cost, functionality, relevance, and flexibility, we have decided to pursue a standalone website. We all use Autobase as our CRM, ADP WebSuite internally, and our IT manager (who is VERY sensitive to Can-Spam requirements) requires Mozilla (and his watchful eye) for our email campaigns.
Out of our standalone site options, we are considering two. ADP Dynamic Web Premier and Dealerskins. Two locations (our MB-Volvo-VW store and our Audi-Nissan-Subaru-Toyota-VW store) have decided on ADP and our Dodge store opted for Dealerskins. Ownership would like to use only one vendor, so we have a dilemma.
As an ADP advocate, here is my argument. I believe there are three main differences between the two. Here are two.
1. The look. In my opinion, ADP offerings are clean, fresh, and plenty flexible for our needs. With a few small icon changes on the inventory pages, I think ADP would be a homerun for an Import store. Inventory is represented well, and the media gallery (with int. and ext. spins) is very impressive. I think Dealerskins sites are naturally too busy. Both have good navigability, but seeing through the clutter is a bit trying.
2. Calls to action. Dealerskins uses too many calls to action that require giving up gross. In a market where most of our OEM lines are exclusive to the area, I don’t believe such a plan is needed. ADP uses well-placed, relevant calls to action throughout all pages of the site. I can see the benefit to a Dodge store, but I don’t know if the average Volvo buyer would necessarily respond to a $200 Internet coupon.
Which finally brings me to my question. I believe that compatibility with our current inventory database is another very important difference. Since we use ADP already, our compatibility with Dynamic Web regarding inventory polling should be seamless. And I have heard that Dealerskins uses a 3rd party program to link ADP inventory to the site. I have also heard that ADP considers any non-ADP polling as hostile, and treats it differently. From what I understand, some manual input is necessary. Is this true? Is there a distinct disadvantage to Dealerskins because of this? With the exception of photos, I would prefer to be hands-off when it comes to inventory updates to our site.
Eric J. Deising
Internet Sales Manager
As a 22 year industry pro I took the past 4 years off from the auto biz. I have been lured back in by a great dealer with a big sales slide problem. I agreed to come in and help build his internet department. What I am hoping you can help me find is some stats that show some industry averages on the internet such as:
- Lead to Appt ratio%
- Appointment Kept %
- Appointment to sale ratio
I know I need something to base projections on, and I need help gathering some number
Your time and assistance is appreciated.
Jon Hageman II
Internet Sales Manager
I’m completely new to the internet side. I’m the first person in this position at a Toyota Dealership. So I’m carving the way here but not sure steps I should be doing. I know we need an ISM tool ASAP but I don’t want to make a mistake on what one to choose. I have been looking at:
- AVV Webcontrol
- Rey Rey Contact Management
I have heard that AVV doesn’t have the best support when you run into problems. To be honest I’m really not sure exactly what I should be looking for in a tool, because any tool would be better then no tool at all, which I’m at right now. Any help would be great. Thanks!
Hello Jeff and DealerRefresh readers,
My name is Nathan Trimble, I am currently working with a Chevrolet – Cadillac dealer in Monmouth, IL.(a rural city of aprox. 10,000) where we are in process of establishing an Internet sales dept. along with a crm/bdc dept. also. In my quest for help in accomplishing this I came across your website. There are so many companies available to assist in a project of this sort that it’s overwhelming!
I have found that there are companies that exist just to help implement and train you on this process; i.e. Dealer Synergy & Mosley Auto Group. Then you have companies that provide websites, ilm and crm/bdc solutions.
Finally there are those few companies that seem to provide all of the above; i.e. BZ Results, Higher Gear, etc.
Would you please be as kind to help advise me in this situation? With so many companies to choose from which way should we go? Possibly hire a few like Mosely for set up and training, then iMagicLabs for
web, ilm & crm, or hire one to do it all? By no means am I asking anyone to endorse specific companies, just hopefully point me in the correct direction!
I thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter and look forward to hearing from you soon!
My Best to You,
Could you tell me about Dealix? What do you like about them? What do you not like about them? You say good things about AutoUSA. Are there others you like? And why? Thank you for being there for us buddy!
Thanks for your feedback. I often wonder how many people are out there visiting my site. So when I get an email from someone such as yourself, I know what I have here is helping others, and that’s what is all about.
I don’t endorse ANY 3rd party lead vendors. I think you need to test them all to see which ones work best for your dealership. I have found that demographics, the make of cars you’re selling and your cliental can have a huge effect on which 3rd party lead vendors can send you the most qualified customers.
For example; I was at a Subaru dealer and was buying leads from Jumpstart. We were closing an average 20% of the leads each month. So when I accepted the position here at the Benz dealer, I brought Jumpstart on board right away. I was really disappointed to fine that the quality of leads I was now getting from Jumpstart were nowhere near what I was getting for the Subaru dealer.
One thing you have to do before you can blame a 3rd Party lead vendor is to be honest with yourself; are you maximizing every lead? Are you calling that customer as soon as the lead comes in? Are you making the number of phone calls and emails it takes to get the customer to interact with you? You do have to be fair if you’re going to hold the vendor liable.
Something else to consider; are you not only tracking the cost per lead, cost per sale but also the overall ROI of that lead source. Maybe your only closing 5-6% of a vendors leads but you’re getting a higher average gross from that customer.
Returning to your question, “Could you tell me about Dealix”. I’m sure you are aware that Dealix is now owned by The Cobalt Group and they do more in-house SEO then the other vendor. They have several sites (invoicedealers.com) they use to generate leads. One that is strong in the search engines right now is their www.dealernet.com. If you scroll to the bottom of the homepage you will see it’s owned by The Cobalt Group. Dealernet.com is doing what many sites are, converting 1 consumer into several leads by funneling the customer into a process to get a “price quote” for more then one vehicle (and sometimes as many as 6, automotive.com is guilty of this). You can see evidence of this in the photo below.
Another irritating factor, these websites encourage the customer to apply for financing, extended warranties and insurance; taking away the dealers opportunity to make money in the F&I department.
Something that I have tried to do in the past, but with no luck, before signing up with a lead vendor, ask to get a copy of each and every website they are buying their leads from. Many of these lead vendors are buying leads from:
- carpricesecrets.com (a personal favorite)
and several other websites. It’s your decision to decide if you think these websites are producing valuable leads. For me..No..but again, the demographics for the vehicles I sell can be different then yours. I’m sure these websites produce a decent lead for volume dealers with a good second chance credit department.
I am a new Internet Sales Manager for Don Elliott Autoworld. When I started in Dec. the department was not performing. I have managed to turn things around and last month I sold 30% of the dealerships sales. I am always trying to find ways to to something better.
My question that I have is; our dealers name is being bought by several of our competitors and companies such as Dealix and so forth. I have been trying to do some research on getting a Trademark or Service Mark on the Name Don Elliott. My dealer feels that I can do it and that there is no need for legal assistance.
I have investigated the process for this and I am wondering if this even help? Should or can I Trademark the phrase Don Elliott Wharton TX. Does it matter if I included the town and state or should it just be the Owners Name?
If you could please help or give some guidance.
I just stumbled over your web site. Your the first person / site that seems excited about internet sales and help. I just took over the internet side of a growing Toyota Cadillac dealership in Iowa after 6 years of sales. The goal is to create a department.
The sale steps are the same however I am looking for tools of training and lead management that does the kind of email and web site editing you talked about on your page.
What do you recommend for lead management and training or advice for getting past first and second emails without price.
I will book mark your page and review often any help you might be willing to give is awesome.