How Car Dealers Can Use Automotive Customer Relationship Management


Car dealers can utilize the many online Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools that are available to them in order to track customer order history, data, payment histories, and other information that help a car dealer to cultivate, keep, and attract customers to their dealership or used car lot. The following are a few of the online CRM resources and strategies that are a particularly effective means of accomplishing that objective:

Types of Online CRM Software

  • Sales Force Automation
    These systems are used to automatically record every stage of the automotive sales process (order management, sales lead tracking, product knowledge, and sales forecasting, etc.) to save money, personnel resources, time, and effort.
  • Marketing Automation
    Designed to increase efficiency and reduce human error, this type of software automates repetitive tasks by keeping track of car sales and contact information through email, customer searches, social media, or traditional mail services. This information is then easily accessible to sales personnel to identify leads for potential clients, and target their best clients, thereby boosting sales and productivity. The idea here is to find the people looking to buy a new car before they buy one at a competitor’s car dealership.
  • Customer Service and Support Software
    These are systems that automatically route calls, provide customer support portals and virtual help desks on Webpages, providing the customer with support services as they record customer cases, requests, and other pertinent information that helps a company can use to attract customers, improve support services, and lower costs.
  • Analytics
    These are predictive software features that are included in many sales, marketing, and customer support software to monitor and understand a client’s preferences and activities.
  • Social Media & Networking
    Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and an endless list of other online CRM tools are cost effective options that can be used to promote interest in venues, to contact potential clients, and collaborate with other professionals in the industry. The more often a potential client sees the name of your business the more likely they will think of you when it comes time to buy a new car or truck.

Avoid Potential Online Automotive CRM Execution and Adoption Issues

The biggest problem with Automotive CRM software systems has nothing to do with the software itself, but with those who are meant to use it. The problem most often reported by car dealerships is that their sales staff does not use the software at all, or does not use all the features of the programs. Training and implementation of these programs can help your sales staff go from passively waiting for someone to step on your car lot to actively bringing new clients in. The more time your staff spends sitting at their deck waiting for someone to visit your car dealership the more a good Automotive CRM software package will help. Here are several things that dealers can do to help the process out a bit:

  • Organization and Planning
    In order for software to work properly it must be implemented properly. That means identifying the sales, marketing, or customer support areas that it should address. Next, the program should meet the needs of those areas, and have enough technical support to assure that it runs smoothly.
  • Choose Software that Works in Harmony with Established Systems
    Instead of focusing on “point solutions” that address an isolated area, think about existing systems and what has to be achieved to successfully integrate the software and make a seamless transition that will accomplish the dealerships’s overall strategy.
  • Ensure that Staff is Well Trained
    If the staff is familiar with current marketing software, and trained how to utilize its applicable features, they will use it to its full potential – resulting in boosted car sales and productivity.

Additional CRM Strategies

Here are a few other customer relationship management ideas that are easily implemented by sales personnel:

  • Collect email and other contact information from people who call in looking for a certain car, so that they can be contacted if the dealer gets a car in stock that might interest the potential customer.
  • Create and maintain a company website that can be used to collect customer information in addition to displaying your current used car inventory.
  • As part of the car sales process, try to collect email and other contact information and regularly use this to “Keep in touch” Be sure that the next time they are looking for a car they think of you first.

Hang on to existing customers, add new ones, and target both with the right offer designed around their preferences by using these online CRM sales, marketing, and service strategies. Implementing these will help a dealer to keep, attract, and cultivate customers to their dealership – while at the same time saving money, personnel resources, time, and effort. It doesn’t get better than that, so start using CRM strategies today!