We live in a world where new technology swirls around us at a relentless and often dizzying pace, yet as we look closer inside the automotive industry and one particular area – the CRM – the winds are very calm, and the marketplace solutions aren’t keeping pace with innovation outside of the industry. In a nutshell we are operating in an innovation rut for automotive CRM. We believe that we are about to enter a renaissance that will completely reimagine what is possible with an automotive dealership CRM solution, and we have analyzed seven areas to pay especially close attention over the next twelve months.
Many automotive dealerships listen solely to CRM data and whatever they can learn from Google Analytics to understand and attribute the factors that influence a customer’s purchase decision. Both tools provide a limited perspective. And CRM data is vulnerable to error (e.g., a salesperson inputs data incorrectly or incompletely). To get a more complete picture of shopper behavior, dealerships should mine the data that customers share with you in the form of reviews.
Listen to Your Customers
About eight out of 10 shoppers use online car reviews and car dealership reviews. Smart dealers solicit reviews, listen to them, and manage them like valuable assets – not only because reviews literally represent the voice of the customer, they also track customer behavior.
Think about it for a moment. Each time a customer takes time to talk about their experience with your salesperson, they’re providing valuable data on why they made a purchase. They’re giving you documented feedback on the performance of your dealership down to the level of the salesperson they’re interacting with. And since the purchase of a car still involves a handshake between a shopper and a salesperson, reviews are the purest and most valuable form of CRM data any dealer could hope to have. [Read more…]
You know the biggest players: eLead, VinSolutions, DealerSocket, and Reynolds Contact Manager, but do you know when they were originally coded? I believe the newest one of that pack came to market in 2003. Do you remember 2003? I think we, as an industry, were finally beginning to accept that the Internet was not going to be a fad and maybe we should start taking these Internet leads more seriously. And the biggest CRM innovation was to have a web-based system. It was an easier time.
Regardless of how much lipstick gets applied to the pig, or how many other technologies they acquire, there is no getting around age. Unlike people aging to become wiser, technology withers. It may get more feature-packed, but the original data model and technology backbones just get more and more stressed. Also, while aging, the original designers and engineers usually aren’t still working on the core product… if they’re even at the same company anymore. So, with age, the original design intent gets lost.
We all watched Microsoft struggle with legacy tech like Windows 98 and then Windows XP. We will probably watch Apple lag without the Steve Jobs passion. It is absolute fact that thousands of dealers are stuck in a time warp with outdated CRM technology right now. The crappy part for us in the car business is that few modern options are in the marketplace yet.
So, I want to take this opportunity to write about what I think a CRM in 2020 could be.
In the early aughts, my dealership invested in a CRM system.
I was basically a sales guy/assistant manager who (quite by accident) had championed/embraced internet leads, and whipped-up an internal lead management system for our 15-store group. I had probably just “graduated” from 100% commission to a salary+bonus pay structure — probably 4-5 years into my automotive career, and was unknowingly building what would later become widely accepted and known as a BDC. So naturally, this CRM thing was my baby. And then, my baby was born.
I can remember instant regret, remorse, anger — this “thing” and these “trainers” that landed in my dealership didn’t much seem to resemble the system we researched. But alas, here it was, it was here, and I was here.
Here’s where, in hindsight, I look back and ask, was I that dumb? [Read more…]
Dominion has struck a deal to license the CRMSuite product from Richard Keith Latman. Does this mean Autobase is going away?
Read the press release from Business Wire
Dominion Dealer Solutions announced today the launch of its new CRM, Dominion VisionTM. The most advanced automotive CRM in the market today, Dominion Vision combines the most intuitive CRM interface in the market with customized reporting and consumer-focused communication tools to create an easy-to-use CRM that will satisfy customers, sales reps and management. Powered by CRMSuite, Dominion Vision is the result of a business partnership designed to integrate CRMSuite’s state-of-the-art CRM technology with Dominion Dealer Solutions’ portfolio of high-performance digital marketing and data-mining software offerings.
Dominion Vision CRM eliminates conventional CRM thinking by combining ease-of-use functionality with user-tailored dashboards. Intuitive technology erases the need for traditional action plans and lineated work flows. Dominion Vision learns about your customers and their preferences – helping your sales people connect with prospects using the best possible method at the best possible time. With real data at your fingertips, Dominion Vision is a true business intelligence tool. Mobility for all users is available via both a tablet-friendly interface and a downloadable mobile app.
“There are many CRMs in the marketplace but Dominion Vision is truly different. From our rich CRM legacy with AVV and Autobase, Dominion has always been committed to the dealer – using the latest technology to build simple and elegant solutions,” says Jack Ross, president of Dominion Dealer Solutions. “Now all of our tools, from DMS to CRM, equity mining to digital products, can work together to help car dealers sell more cars.”
Dominion Vision also includes proactive communication using machine learning to track consumer communications preferences in the form of a virtual, personal assistant, “Olivia.” No longer will customers fall through the gaps. This feature will scan the customer database on a regular basis and communicate via email, text or voicemail with prospects who have not been contacted. Customer responses will be forwarded to the salesperson to re-initiate sales and service communication.
Get a firsthand look at our NADA Booth #3716C. To schedule a presentation of Dominion Vision, please call 877-421-1040 or visit www.transformyourcrm.com.
About Dominion Dealer Solutions
Dominion Dealer Solutions improves dealers’ lives by developing advanced technologies including: reputation and social media management, responsive websites, digital advertising, SEO, SEM, multi-channel marketing, and custom market reports. Coupled with award-winning lead management, inventory merchandising, equity mining, customer relationship (CRM) and dealer management (DMS) solutions, Dominion redefines automotive retail by delivering first-class customer experiences for today’s automotive dealerships. Based in Norfolk, Virginia, every OEM and more than 10,000 U.S. dealers depend on Dominion’s foundation of innovation, integrity, excellence and teamwork to provide them with results at every turn. For more information, visit our website, like us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Youtube, or follow us on Twitter.
About Dominion Enterprises
Dominion Enterprises is a leading online marketing and software services company offering client solutions across multiple business verticals. Our B2B cloud SaaS solutions directly support clients in establishing their online and mobile brands, generating leads, and managing customer relationships. Our B2C web and mobile portals serve the housing, franchise and travel markets and include popular sites such as Homes.com. Dominion Enterprises is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia and has offices across the U.S.
Skip to the point if you don’t care to read the backstory.
I sit back, this morning, amazed at how unreliable email delivery is. It might be getting worse and worse every year. Due to abusive advertisers we all want to safeguard our inboxes from disgusting amounts of delete button presses. And so, car dealers suffer. Car dealers become email losers.
Sure, dealers’ practicing carpet bombing marketing tactics with “free” email campaigns can absolutely be given all the “I told you so’s” and “you get what you deserve’s” that we care to expound. Anyway, my point is not to get lost in a you reap what you sow scenario.
You Don’t Need a PhD in Google Analytics, Attribution Models or Calculus to Hold Your Vendors Accountable
There’s been so much talk about and money being spent on marketing attribution and analytics that many dealers are feeling bombarded by topics that seem very foreign when compared to the age-old DISC Test – that is “Does It Sell Cars?”.
Dealers – some that never bothered to track basic ROI via their leads and sales – are being asked to review complicated reports that attribute yesterday’s sale of a 2015 Honda Accord to 32 different advertising venues. Moreover, they’re being told to take these reports as gospel.
Questioning the accuracy of attribution models is like questioning Global Warming or the validity of a certain birth certificate or the shape of the earth: Pure blasphemy! You are quickly labeled an Attribution Denier and shunned by the digital marketing elite.
You Don’t Need to be The Expert
In 2018 and beyond, it’s okay to rely on others to be the experts in Google Analytics (GA) and attribution modeling. This, so long as you know how to hold your marketing vendors accountable.
You should expect your SEO and SEM providers to master GA, maintain your account, and keep you informed and up-to-date on any changes. Moreover, you should demand that your SEO vendor hold your SEM vendor accountable for properly maintaining your Google Analytics account (and vice versa).
Yes, I am advocating two things here: 1) Never buy both services from the same vendor; and 2) pit them against each other in a monthly fight-to-the-death. [Read more…]
In October 2017 I had the honor of co-moderating a panel discussion at the DrivingSales Executive Summit. Together with fellow attribution front runner, Steve White, Founder & CEO of Clarivoy, and our dealer experts, Shaun Kniffin, Marketing & Technology Director of Germain Automotive Group and Ben Robertaccio, Marketing Director of the quickly-rising Morrie’s Automotive Group, we were fortunate to have a jam-packed room on the last day of the conference. I guess the panel title (or the speaker lineup) evoked some attention.
Following is a list I compiled of the top ten takeaways from the discussion, and at the end of the post is the original Facebook Live recording by DealerRefresh.
Let’s be clear about the best “anything” when it comes to helping dealers sell cars: This new, best “thing” is only as good as the execution by your team.
The best CRM for you and your team, for example, is the one that they’ll use. Period.
It’s one that is intuitive and simple; and one that will help them communicate with your customers and prospects. The bells and whistles are what sells a CRM, but it’s your team’s execution that determines whether your CRM provider is a vendor selling you a product or a partner helping you sell cars.
While no CRM will sell you a car by itself, bad CRMs – those your team cannot or will not fully utilize – can cost you sales.
Lately, many of the CRMs often thought of as among the best customer relationship management tools in automotive have been falling flat for dealers. From reports that seem to come from a “random number generator” (providing often vastly different results depending on the day you run the report or where you grab the data) to impossible to implement work flows (preventing your team from easily customizing processes to fit specific customer profiles); these once highly-recommended products are being cursed in sales rooms across America.
But It’s the Process That Matters, Right?
Overthinking Your Emails and Email Templates?
Between prepping for 20-Group presentations to serving our regular clients, we mystery shop scores of dealers each month – reading their emails (mostly templates) and texts, and listening to their voicemails – and while we’ve seen definite overall improvement over the years, one aspect of the internet sales process that is beginning to creep in the wrong direction is the automated email response.
It’s become clear that someone on your team is overthinking this whole “email thing.” [Read more…]