Best PracticesOpinions & Advice

Piecing it together or complete solutions?

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,

Nathan Trimble

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
Our dealership just got set up with HigherGear about three months ago, and the training and support is above and beyond. The only place they are lacking is with ILM, and they are working on that and expect a web-based solution by March/April. We are currently in the works of setting up our Internet/BDC dept (I've been the Internet Dept up to now, but we're going to bring on more leads). When I say lacking in ILM, though, that doesn't mean non-existent but rather I could benefit from a little more advanced ILM. I would highly recommend these guys, they will train you and your sales staff and make sure the CRM solution works for you. Their system is pretty easy to use so your older sales guys won't feel behind.

A solution that I'm looking for the ILM is using's ILM, which is a very nice ILM system from what I've seen and also relatively inexpensive. You could also use them for your website/SEO/and used inventory management on other websites.

Just remember, the fewer pieces you piece together, the less expensive overall (usually) and the less complex it will be. But you should definitely look to stick with your CRM provider as your trainer too, because they do go hand-in-hand and they will make sure to keep your business.

Hope some of that helps!
Hey Nathan,

Speaking from the vendor side of things, I would say the less pieces the better. Not only from a cost standpoint, but also concerning compatibility and integration. If you want everything to be as automated as possible than compatibility should be a concern. Of course, purchasing more features from a vendor should also result in a better deal. You can take a look at our website but quite honestly it doesn't do the products justice. Most of the features are not on there because the updated version of the site is still in progress. We would be more than happy to give you a web demo if you would like. That's really the best way to get a feel for a products depth and interface anyway. Good luck with whatever road you choose and let me know if there is anything I can help you with.
Hello Nathan,

I work with Dealers every day, and I think that each of them have to make that decision based on the culture of their dealership. That being said, IMO I would search out vendors that are great at what they do. Some of the companies you mention do offer a holistic solution, but is their solution great or are they taking a shotgun approach keep market share and or trying to keep up with Jone's.

Today the trend is for automotive web vendors to not only offer web sites but SEO, SEM, CRM, BDC, eBay feeds and the list goes on and on. I would rather find the company that focuses in each niche and is great at what they focus on. The other question I would ask myself is this, does the "Holistic Vendor" actually provide the service and or are they out sourcing it? If they are out sourcing wouldn't it make sense to actually search out the niche vendor not only to cut out the middle man out and save money, but to get the expertise that you truly deserve.

Keep in mind, this is just one man's opinion, but I always recommend that my dealers search out the experts in their perspective fields.
to start with have you thought about what you want, what you need, what market segment you want to capture? Create for yourself a digital marketing plan of what you want to accomplish in plane english. Then contact a vendor and listen to what they say and how they present their plans. Remember you are the customer and they should be listening to you and your needs. A couple of things to keep in mind.
1)ask for references
2)no long term contracts after the initial start up, 90 days then month to month
3)make sure the company has a support team that can be reached during your hours not what's good for them
4) do you feel comfortable with the person you are buying from.
5)most vendors have a couple solid products but few are all inclusive. Make sure you get the best products available it will make a difference.

Use these points as a guide to what, where, and how you want to spend your budget. If you need assistance don't hesitate to drop me a line.
Sincerely yours
Stephen Douglass
e-Strategy Consultant
  • J
    Jeff Larsen
  • February 7, 2007
You're already ahead of most dealerships just by taking the time to learn what you really need, before just signing for anything.

My suggestion is to put together a "business plan" just as if it were your own business, because in the end it's all on your shoulders whether the dept succeeds or not. And if you fail to plan, then you might as well plan to... You've heard it before.

Once your plan is together with time span, costs, goals, ect... get buy in from the top down stressing to them that it is a long term project with higher overhead at first, and with each month getting better ROI. Tiger Woods didn't pick up a golf club for the first time and win a PGA tournament, and dealerships selling tons of units from the internet didn't do it the first month they implemented a bdc.

Im assuming the dealership has none or very little technology now for customer management, if there's a dealer website it's been neglected, ect...

Start with technology that is simple, economical and hassle free the first 6 months to a year. Simple- easy to learn upfront without complexity for ALL users. Economical- to prove it doesn't take a lot of money to get your results. Hassle free- technology integrates with your dms, website, crm tool and most of all when choosing a company, talk to the tech support team. Can you get through to them? How long does it take to respond?

I wouldn't go crazy on the consulting/training at first except for initial set-up and learning best practices on email leads, setting appts, phone scripts. Then add your creativity and work with that in the first 6 months to a year adjusting to everything. When you plateau, get the guru's.

Remember, there is no "silver bullet" for success in the bdc area. If there was, everyone would do it. But starting with industry standards is a must.

Good luck, and feel free to contact me with any questions.

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