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 It is absolute fact that thousands of dealers are stuck in a time warp with outdated CRM technology right now.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.