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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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DealerSocket

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Many automotive CRM companies are gearing up for growth and changes within the automotive industry. In fact, you will see many different "new" offerings this year at NADA, all under the name of "CRM". For a CRM company to consistently provide value to automotive dealerships, we have to keep up with market demands, and this requires constant attention to the latest needs, trends and developments outside, and most importantly, inside the dealerships. CRM companies who successfully respond to the needs of dealerships are those who spend as much time on dealership expertise as they do on their technology talent. It's impossible to understand the business from an outside view of the dealerships. In DealerSocket's case, a full year was spent working for free in dealerships so a CRM solution could be accurately developed based on the needs of day-to-day business. Also, with more than 500 dealerships on the product we spend the majority of our people's time in dealerships, refining and creating our tools to ensure maximum value is delivered to the dealer. This valuable dealership time is spent recognizing the turnover rate of customers, employees and prospects, analyzing advertising and marketing, changing market dynamics and noting legal concerns. Gaining dealership experience is the first step in creating technology that is not only successful, but has the ability to change along with the industry needs. Now, how do you find a CRM company that will work for your dealership and be as flexible as your needs? In selecting a CRM partner, the most important element to consider is whether they are able to change with the constantly evolving automotive industry. The CRM company must entail 4 attributes: 1. continuous focus on improvement 2. ability to listen to the dealer 3. ability to listen to problem and know how to solve it with technology 4. technology architecture that enables quick change and enhancement. In addition, an internet-based server is ideal, as a server based software application with multiple versions installed on a local computer is much less able to provide the changes in a timely manner"
Bill James
Thanks for the article. I've been working with dealerships all over the country for over ten years, helping them maximize and grow their internet business, and I've seen lot's of supposed solutions to this problem/opportunity, so I'll offer this comment to those who are struggling with this topic. Whatever configuration or strategy you start with, the MOST IMPORTANT ingredient is your people, they need to be competent, well trained, motivated and aware of the role they are playing, while you may complete a small part of your sales from start to finish over the web, most will start with the web contact where the customer decides the answers to a few questions based on our responses: are you easy to deal with, do you know what you are talking about, will you give me the information I want or do I have to jump through flaming hoops to get it, if the answers are yes the customer will escalate to a a phone up or showroom visitor. Bill James

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