Best Automotive CRM Software

If you're a car dealer looking to invest in a CRM (customer relationship management) tool for your dealership, you've come to the right place. Thanks to the advent of technology, dealerships can now use quality CRM software to make their operations more efficient, grow their customer base, and most importantly, boost sales.

In the past, car dealerships employed all kinds of time-consuming and expensive marketing strategies to get a customer’s attention, such as cold calling or newspaper advertising. But now, owing to the rise of the internet, the customer buying journey has changed drastically. Gone are the days when a television commercial, paper flyer, or newspaper advertisement was the only way to entice a customer to purchase a car at your dealership. Instead, today customers look to the internet when considering buying a new car. Whether they use it to research the vehicles they’re interested in and read reviews, or they wish to purchase their new vehicle entirely online, this new reality requires changing tactics. The best way to modify your strategy is to employ a customer relationship management tool at your dealership. With CRM software, dealers can easily interact with their customers in meaningful ways that extend far beyond the showroom. 

Once you’ve decided that a CRM tool is worth investing in for your dealership, the question then becomes, “what is the best automotive CRM software for my dealership?” Now that auto dealerships, like most businesses, can connect with customers 24/7 via their website and social media, a dealer must figure out how to foster long-term relationships with its client base, and that’s where the right kind of CRM software comes in. After all, not all CRM tools are created equally. CRM software has multiple capabilities ranging from marketing campaign management to lead generation. Plus, it automates tedious processes you would otherwise spend hours doing. So, while any CRM software is likely to make your life easier, you’ll want to consider the unique capabilities of each platform out there, as well as your dealership’s specific goals, when choosing an automotive CRM software that’s right for you. Below, we’re going to address this question as we dive into what automotive CRM software is, the key benefits this software offers, and a few tips for evaluating the best automotive CRM software for your dealership. 

What is CRM in the automotive industry?

As mentioned above, CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s a powerful tool for any business to have at their disposal, especially for car dealerships. Car dealerships of all sizes can benefit from implementing CRM software. Though small or mid-sized dealerships may be inclined to think that CRM software isn’t necessary for them, it can still be extremely beneficial. Customers want an exceptional sales experience, and a great automotive CRM helps.

Automotive CRM is an invaluable sales, marketing, and customer service tool, but unlike your typical CRM, these are specifically designed for car dealerships. This means the software was developed with the needs of the automotive industry and its customers in mind. Plus, most automotive CRM software can be integrated with existing Dealer Management Systems (DMS), which makes for a fast and easy onboarding process and eliminates issues like duplicate data entry. 

Further, to understand what automotive CRM is, it’s critical to understand its main components. As we see it, automotive CRM software is comprised of four key components: lead management, transparency and reporting, lead generation, and improved communication. Lead management allows dealerships to keep track of sales leads, no matter their source (search engines, emails, phone calls, text messages, social media, contact forms, third parties, or walk-ins). Meanwhile, transparency and reporting allow dealers to view sales conversations, track KPIs, and record and track deals from beginning to end. Another key component of automotive CRMs is lead nurturing and generation. A quality CRM system will allow your dealership to respond to new leads thanks to features like Auto Reply, and nurture existing clients by being in regular communication with them. Finally, automotive CRM tools improve communication between dealerships and customers, allowing you to track and connect with customers through all touchpoints (phone call, email, text messaging). Overall, automotive CRM tools allow car dealerships to manage their interactions and relationships with both existing and prospective clients, as well as automate time-consuming aspects of the sales, marketing, and customer service processes. The result is a powerful digital tool that allows dealerships to boost profits by selling more cars.

Why Does the Automotive Industry Need Different CRM?

The automotive industry requires tailored CRM software because dealerships have unique needs. There are many stages and parties involved in the complex automotive industry, from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to suppliers to car dealers. The interconnected nature of the industry means that communication is of the utmost importance. To offer the best sales experience to your customer, you have to be on the same page as the other departments and parties involved. This is what CRM tools offer. 

The Benefits of Automotive CRM Software 

To better understand why the automotive industry requires its own category of CRM platforms, let’s delve into the benefits that CRM tools provide to car dealerships. Understanding these benefits will help you recognize why the tools are essential to the automotive industry. 

  • If you’re a car dealer looking to invest in a CRM tool for your dealership, you’ve come to the right place. Thanks to the advent of technology, dealerships can now use quality CRM software to make their operations more efficient, grow their customer base, and most importantly, boost sales. 
  • Automotive CRM software helps organize contacts and leads from all touchpoints (walk-ins, third parties, social media, email, phone calls, text messaging), reducing the odds of missing a lead. With CRM, you can also track conversations with customers and act fast on new leads thanks to Auto Reply or Auto Respond features. Such quick responses may increase your chances of a sale.
  • CRM tools provide increased operations efficiency by automating the scheduling of test drives and appointments with customers.
  • Automotive CRM tools help manage the vehicle delivery process.
  • Some CRM platforms may allow you to pre-approve customers with soft credit pulls.
  • CRM software tracks the sources of new leads, revealing the most lucrative marketing channels, allowing you to allocate your marketing budget better. 

How We Evaluated the Best Automotive CRM Software

When evaluating the best automotive CRM software, we recommend considering several factors including the ease of onboarding and training, marketing analytics, DMS integration, and voice and text message management.

In the case of onboarding and training, we suggest evaluating the software based on how easy it is to navigate and get use. A modern, intuitive interface is crucial, as is how simple it is to set up and whether it comes with a comprehensive training program. Next, if you plan on optimizing your dealership’s marketing strategies using your CRM platform, then marketing analytics are critical. We recommend evaluating CRM tools based on their marketing analytics dashboard and the metrics they measure. Specifically, look for CRM software that allows you to monitor each team member’s performance and the sales team’s performance as a whole, compare marketing channels by the quality and cost of leads, and view sales trends on a monthly and yearly basis. The ability of the CRM software to seamlessly integrate with your dealership’s existing DMS system should also be evaluated, as an inability to do so can lead to major headaches. Finally, the phone call and text messaging capabilities of various automotive CRM tools should be considered. Ideally, the CRM tool you choose should have the ability to assign follow-up tasks, reroute incoming calls directly to sales representatives, track and record phone calls, automate messages to customers, create templates to respond to customer messages that are frequently received, and enable customers to text the dealership from its website. 

Ultimately, when it comes to choosing which automotive CRM software is right for your dealership, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions: “Will I be able to train and onboard my team to the point where they feel comfortable using this tool daily?” and “Does this tool provide my dealership with the capabilities I’m looking for (customer service, lead generation, and retention, marketing analytics, etc.)?” Just because another dealership in town has had success using their CRM software doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Take the time to research the various automotive CRM platforms out there and test them out so that you can be sure the one you choose will benefit your dealership. Then prepare to enter a whole new world of efficiency, optimization, and sales!

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