Industry News & Trends

Is VinSolutions scared of iMagicLab CRM?

VinSolutions vs iMagicLab CRM systems

If you haven’t been on DealerRefresh in a while you might have missed the proposed bake-off between VinSolutions and iMagicLab.  It all started when Sean Stapleton, VP of Sales at VinSolutions, stated in a press release welcoming Sean Wolfington to VinSolutions:

Today VIN is 24 – 36 months ahead of all companies in our space.

This caught the attention of Mark Bonfigli, CEO of, and Richard Keith Latman, CEO of iMagicLab.  Mark simply wanted to hear how VinSolutions thinks they’re ahead, but Keith proposed a bake-off to see who was really ahead.  Sean responded with:

Richard Keith Latman – Thank You for your response. I would love to have a vendor “Bake off” with you on video, live, or anyway our customers and prospects would like to see this. It would be great for the industry to really understand where everyone stands. NO BS, or “Coming Soon” stuff! Richard Keith Latman, remember you made the offer and I am 100% looking forward to this!

And ever since Sean Stapleton has gone silent.  However…

Many folks from VinSolutions have been talking and quite a few rumors have also made their way back to DealerRefresh.  Please keep in mind that these are rumors, but this one seems to have a little more weight:

A very big player (someone we all know) was approached by VinSolutions to find them a login to the iMagicLab system.  That person did not get it for them, but did advise VinSolutions they’d lose this bake-off.  Due to the neutral nature of this person his or her name will not be revealed here, but we did hear that the advice was heeded and VinSolutions has since been giving the world the silent treatment.

So…. is this happening or what?  Sean – where’d you go?

P.S.  I’m just inspecting what I was expecting.

Who knew an argument with Jeff Kershner, in 2005, would lead to Alex becoming a partner with him on DealerRefresh. Where will the next argument take ...
  • G
  • March 22, 2010
I did a demo on eleads just the other day, I'm also implementing vinsolutions at my dealershp..

The UI is a win for VinSolutions, but only for people that keep up with technology. Eleads is visualy based off Outlook 2003 which is 7 years old now and shown up by the improvements in Outlook 2007 which eleads should again, hard core copy :)
Functionality is similar among both programs, they each have their pros and cons. I won't give an opinion here... I highly suggest doing many demos with the systems and figure out which one works for your dealership.
Vinsolutions integrating inventory and website management goes the distance though for an all in one solution. Its really well done.
  • M
  • March 22, 2010
Looks like there is something similar going on over at ADM but between internet consultants. Looks like it is going to happen. Eddie Coleman is calling everybody out, Sean V Bradley, David Kaine, everybody.

This will be interesting.

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Or they realized that this is a no win situation decided to stop feeding into this iMagic &quot;setup&quot;! Vin Solutions is an awesome system so I don&#039;t see them running scared of anyone. My guess is they&#039;ve had enough of this circus! If you are a dealer don&#039;t believe everything you read here. A customer of iMagic is the person managing this site so you have to take this with a grain of salt!
Mitchell - I am just trying to hold someone accountable for his own words. This has nothing to do with anything else.
Interesting how this all played out and why it&#039;s played out. In the end, I think both companies would be in a &quot;win win&quot; situation having a &quot;bake off&quot;. Both have progressive and cutting edge features and I&#039;m sure would be a solid solution for just about any dealer.
I personally have sat on the sideline for most of this one...but...

The tone was established by one of your clients/advocates (not that you are responsible for his actions). Up to that point all was OK. And it&#039;s not the tone of &quot;the blog&quot; it&#039;s the tone of this particular post and discussion.

You said &quot;As for a single vendor bake-off, we do not see a value in this type of approach. &quot; - That&#039;s fine Sean but just remember you said &quot;I would love to have a vendor &quot;Bake off&quot; with you on video, live, or anyway our customers and prospects would like to see this.&quot; Black and White.

Had I been in your shoes, I would have admitted to saying this and then apologized once I realized it might not had been a good idea and that I was maybe speaking out of character or for &quot;fun&quot;.

To be honest, this played out exactly how I thought it would. You/readers might want to take some time and voyage through the many archived posts on the dealerrefresh forums where we had to several times politely ask someone to &quot;tone&quot; down their blatant sales pitches - had that history not been brewing, others might not had been so quick to take the opportunity to call VinSolutions out when they make a statement such as &quot;Today VIN is 24 &ndash; 36 months ahead of all companies in our space.&quot;

So I guess it&#039;s final. No bake off. It&#039;s a shame because it would had no doubt been fun, and I believe both parties would have come out on top.

I can also understand when you say .. &quot;We also don&#039;t want to educate our competitors on our unique functionality and advantages.&quot; After all you are 24 &ndash; 36 months ahead of all companies in your space and you never know when Higher Gear or Autobase could step up to the plate and take over!

Enough said.

The tone of this blog has gone in a direction that is not productive and we want to ask our dealers not to make personal attacks on Richards background or personality. It really is not a good use of your time or going to change anything.

We respect what it takes for any entrepreneur to start and grow a business and we respect all of our competitors and dealers for taking on that rewarding challenge.

As for a single vendor bake-off, we do not see a value in this type of approach. We also don't want to educate our competitors on our unique functionality and advantages.
However, we do encourage dealers to invite all qualified ILM/CRM vendors to present a live demonstration to decide which best meets their dealerships specific needs.

We would like to thank all of our customers, partners, and prospects for their continued support and guidance.

We will not comment on this further and our team will use our time to continue to enhance our products and to deliver for our dealers.

Sean Stapleton
Executive Vice President
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Sean I agree that past failures make one stronger and it is an old adage that you should judge a man by how he gets up, not what put him down. It is in that spirit that I say you and Sean Wolfington should not have your backgrounds held against you in this debate. Wimping out of the bake-off is one thing, but using surrogates to fight your battles is another level of ridiculous.

For all the Visible Customer and BZ Results victims out there please do not rule out VINSolutions, they have changed their ways. Please invite them to demo against us since they would not do it in the public forum.
  • G
  • March 23, 2010
I&#039;m only confused by the thought that a CRM front-end was a secret? If I were your competitor you know I&#039;d have done a demo by now. Everything else I get :P
Wow!!! Just Wow!!! Want to know why dealers are confused and paralyzed? Look no further than this. DigitalDealer has the exact same issues going on with a webinar to take place on Thursday.

I love that consultants and vendors are embracing social media and directing me as to best practices. I think I&#039;ll continue doing things on my own. It&#039;s worked out pretty well so far, and the level of distrust is increasing post by post...

Just sayin&#039;...
  • J
    Jeff Collins
  • March 23, 2010
My Dad would say...&quot;Make sure your brain is in gear before you engage your mouth&quot; Sean and Mitch, perhaps these are words to live by????
Bake Off!!! Yum. We&#039;ve got a great recipe. Doesn&#039;t contain any B.S. Keith if you want to have a bake off with I think it would be fun. I know you have a decent product and I think we would being doing dealers a service to pull back the curtain and let them decide which platform would work best for their dealership. There are too many vendors using smoke n mirrors and I feel sorry for the Dealers trying to make a CRM decision in this environment. You in? Let&#039;s get DealerSocket and whoever else with a decent product to join in. Maybe Jeff would facilitate it?

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