Zach Ferres, Executive Chairman, DealerPeak
Our industry is moving at a greatly accelerated pace since the pandemic hit nearly a year and a half ago. Dealerships are learning new processes, tools, and ways to relate to the customer on a daily basis. The leaders we’re seeing in auto right now are the general managers and marketing executives who are sharing what they’ve learned with others to help the entire industry succeed. Heavyweights like Brian Kramer of Germain, Liza Borches of Carter Myers, and Paige Goodwin of Group 1 are all giving their numerous talents and resources to help make our industry better as a whole.
So how can we begin moving from a “me” to a “we” mindset and why, exactly, should dealers want to in the first place? Simple – it will make our entire industry better. I believe the future of automotive is open and accessible, and I think the foundation that makes the most sense for this next phase lies within your CRM.
I see the CRM as being the single most important data repository for automotive retail in this digital age. Imagine how quickly we would be able to launch new solutions and tools without the painful integration stage? By building solutions on top of a CRM, vendors would be able to scale quickly and use the rich dataset, while dealers would no longer be charged a pass-through cost for the CRM, leading to overpayment and headaches.
Let’s go one step further and imagine a fully functioning app marketplace on top of your CRM solution. Think of it like an Apple App store for automotive. Best part? Because of full data export, dealerships regain ownership of their own customer data.
Let me show you a few different ways this could work in the real world:
Digital Retailing: With an open platform built on top of a CRM platform, dealers would be able to pinpoint the lead data they need to know through an easy user interface, customized to show just the most pertinent information for that dealership. They would also have full access to pull the lead data out of the system to measure lead status and conversion rates.
Marketing Agencies: By building an open platform on a CRM, ad agencies would be able to close the loop and offer precise ROI numbers and calculations per campaign. The result would be more targeted buys and less wasted spend.
Dealer Groups would be able to custom develop their own solutions or proprietary intellectual property to help speed up desking, better target inventory management, determine service needs and schedule for peak times. All of this would be built on top of the customer data sitting in the dealership CRM, so it would all work together seamlessly and from one integration point.
I understand we’re automotive. We’re built on a bell to bell schedule and competition is one of the core aspects of our DNA. But, I wonder if we can’t work toward the idea of sharing information and creating an open development platform as A PART of the winning formula? Can we move to a mindset where the idea of winning as an industry is a greater goal than winning in a vacuum?
These ideas are not just pipe dreams. They’re in development now and I think they represent the next big leap in our automotive technology evolution. Isn’t it time to make it easier and faster for dealerships and technology companies alike to innovate in order to move the entire industry forward? We think the answer is a resounding yes.
About the Author
Zach Ferres is the Executive Chairman of DealerPeak, the only CRM dedicated to making the industry regain their love of selling cars.