The automobile industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world. In addition, it has been reported that there are over 200 million cars on the road today. This makes the automotive market a prime example of emerging technology. This blog will explore how current technologies can address issues within the auto industry and suggest areas where new technologies may play a role in addressing problems faced by those involved with managing a car dealership or other forms of vehicle sales business.
To understand the basic concepts related to marketing automobiles through online channels; identify trends and best practices; explain what a CRM system does; describe some common applications of these systems; discuss benefits of using CRMs, and provide guidance on implementing them effectively.
Automotive CRM Systems - The New Digital Era
In recent years, many businesses have begun exploring ways to manage their customer relationships differently from before. For instance, at the turn of the millennium, most people were still buying products from brick and mortar stores.
However, with the advent of e-commerce, shoppers began shopping online rather than visiting physical locations. Nowadays, nearly all purchases made via any internet connection are considered “online transactions.” And while brick-and-mortar retailers continue to struggle against declining revenues due to competition from e-commerce companies, consumers also enjoy lower prices and convenience when purchasing items online instead of going into traditional retail establishments.
What Is CRM?
A customer relationship management system helps organizations better interact with customers, prospects, employees, partners, suppliers, and vendors. These interactions involve collecting information about each party, analyzing the data collected, and taking appropriate action based upon the analysis.
A key component of successful implementation involves understanding your company's unique needs and goals before choosing an enterprise-level solution.
While not every organization requires every feature available in a top-of-the-line software package designed for large corporations, most do require several fundamental features:
Data Collection & Analysis
What you collect determines who is targeted and why. Once you know whom you want to target, the next step is determining which tools are needed to reach that audience successfully. An effective program should offer both desktop and mobile solutions so users can access the information necessary to make decisions anytime, anywhere.
A robust communication platform allows you to send automated emails, text messages, social media updates, etc. There are various email services, including transactional, event notification, appointment reminder, vacation planning, etc. Social media platforms include Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr, Flickr, Yelp, Foursquare, Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and more. Next, you'll need to decide whether your goal is simply providing content to potential clients/customers or if you're hoping to increase brand awareness among prospective buyers.
Most CRM programs allow you to track leads, assign tasks, follow up, prioritize activities, schedule meetings, create reports, view analytics, and much more. Lead scoring algorithms help determine the likelihood of converting a lead into a sale. Automated workflows generate task lists customized for specific business processes like sales, marketing, service, finance, human resources, legal, procurement, design, technology, etc.
Marketing automation systems allow you to automate many aspects of marketing campaigns such as prospecting, nurturing, scheduling, segmentation, campaign tracking, reporting, personalization, and more. Email marketing includes sending bulk email blasts, newsletters, autoresponders, drip marketing campaigns, SMS messaging, push notifications, webinars, polls, surveys, landing pages, affiliate links, display ads on websites, social networks, video streaming, and other forms of electronic communications. Some programs also integrate with popular third-party applications like SalesforceIQ, DocuSign, Dropbox Paper, Zoho Creator, Slack, and Trello.
Salesforce automation automates repetitive and often manual tasks associated with handling incoming calls, orders, proposals, invoices, payments, shipments, returns, approvals, and more. It streamlines workflow by allowing team members to focus their time on higher-value projects. Depending on how complicated the workflow is, the process may be fully integrated within one application or multiple apps.
Account Information Tracking
Account management systems provide real-time visibility into account performance across all channels. This means no wasted effort chasing down lost deals, abandoned accounts, unqualified contacts, missed opportunities, duplicate records, inaccurate contact info, etc. Instead, an effective system will quickly identify these issues to be resolved before any damage occurs.
Top of The Line Automotive CRM Systems
Salesforce has been around since 1999 but didn't really take off until 2011 when cloud computing became mainstream. Since then, the platform has expanded rapidly in both functionality and capabilities. As a result, today's leading automotive companies are using Salesforce to manage every aspect of their operations, from sales to customer support. In 2015 alone, over $2 billion was spent buying software licenses. With so much money at stake, it makes sense that automakers would want the best possible solution.
Here are some features to look out for:
Integration with mobile devices allows users to access data while away from the office. Mobile app integration works well because most people have smartphones today. There are two basic types of apps – native and hybrid. Hybrid apps usually offer limited functionalities compared to full-fledged native apps but are easier to develop than the latter type.
The ability to store information online enables users to save time and energy by not backing up files manually. Cloud storage provides unlimited space and flexibility so there isn’t a limit on file size or number of files. Users don't have to worry about running out of room either.
With multi-channel support, customers can interact with businesses through various mediums.
For example, an automotive dealership could send emails, text messages, phone calls, faxes, postcards, billboards, flyers, radio advertisements, television commercials, direct mail pieces, print media, digital advertising, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, social networking sites, and much more. Multi-channel communication helps increase brand awareness and customer satisfaction.
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Dynamics 365 offers an easy way to manage your entire organization in one place. You get everything under one roof, including customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning software, supply chain management, project portfolio management, financial accounting, human capital management, manufacturing execution system, analytics, security, compliance, and much more. With this platform, you can easily create custom dashboards that help you make better decisions faster.
Inventory Management System
An inventory management system helps companies track stock levels and monitor product availability at every stage of production. Inventory control ensures products arrive when needed and stay stocked until sold. A good inventory management system should include features like barcode scanning, RFID tagging, automated replenishment, automatic reordering, order fulfillment, shipping, warehouse management, warehousing, picking, packing, billing, payment processing, and more.
Customer Relationship Management Software
A customer relationship management solution tracks interactions between company employees and clients. These solutions typically feature tools like chatbots, call recording, lead scoring, lead generation, appointment setting, event registration, website visitor tracking, content creation, e-commerce, marketing automation, SEO/SEM, social media monitoring, and more.
Service Desk Solution
A service desk solution keeps track of requests made by end-users and automatically assigns them to appropriate technicians based on skillset.
As you can see, there is enterprise-ready CRM software out there, where it can provide in-depth and AI-assisted features to help you close your customers.
We know other smaller CRM systems are made for car dealerships, but they may lack many features and might not be flexible.
If you wish to see a demo of Dynamics 365 or Salesforce on how it can greatly increase your sales/service endeavours, schedule a demo here