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I was recently able to convince my dealer to use one vendor for our websites, Digital Marketing, CRM, DMS and F&I systems. We chose ADP to handle everything. (I'm sure this brings a smile to Ralph's face!) My main concern was making sure that every system we used was compatible and integrated. I've grown tired of the never-ending challenges you face when your systems aren't designed to work together. My other motivation was to allow us to leverage our spend by dealing with one vendor. Since we already used ADP for our DMS and F&I, we were able to negotiate very aggressively when it came to the other systems. For example, we were able to negotiate 60% off of the original CRM quote we received.

I realize that one vendor cannot be the "best in everything," however, I think the overall quality of our systems is excellent and the money we were able to save was substantial. In addition, having one vendor to deal with for support is refreshing. Are any other members using the "one vendor" approach or am I putting too many eggs into one basket?

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Mike,

Your in good hands...

My take on the "One Vendor" approach to Digital Marketing / Digital Advertising is that with the digital environments merging with information technologies / providers, dealers should stongly consider your answer...

Merged Reporting is the single strongest advantage that I can see for dealers.

Spend the time to "dive deep" into what reports each level (individual) can receive from the combined information provided by DM, CRM, DMS, ect... It is shocking. The marketing / employee production data broken down to exact customer / R.O. at the click of a mouse empowers dealers to inspect, review and react "live" in today's extremely competitive digital marketplace.

Good Luck,

dtg

Another plus is you won't have any more finger pointing... (One vendor blaming other vendor)
Hi Mike,

An "all in one" solution is often the best way to go for dealers that don't have that Super Internet/IT guy to link together the "best of the best" in every category. ADP is a preferred vendor on AdAgencyOnline.Net for just that reason! They have ten of those "super men/women" in every category on call 24/7. Frankly, even if the dealer does have his own super man - like Ralph Paglia - his solution is only viable for as long as his superman doesn't get hit by a bus or move on to a better opportunity built on the reputation that he developed while working for the dealer. No blame if he does, just a real world example of why any plan that is built on one person's shoulders is flawed by design.

As for the single "super vendor" the specific issues already mentioned to support it, like linked reporting, integrated applications, one place to go for answers - notice that I didn't say blame - are all good reasons to pick a key vendor that has a platform philosphy to their applications and integrated selling processes to cross between front end sales, accounting and fixed operations but they too have their kryptonite.

The real world scenario is that most dealers are locked into contracts that are not co-terminus and some "packages" purchased on a long term lease include applications that aren't used or in some case needed. The key to avoiding these issues lies in negotiating all contracts through one central process that makes decisions that consider all departments with beginning and ending dates to allow for regular reviews when renewal time comes around. That keeps the dealership personnel in tune with new applications and the vendor on his toes because he knows that when renewal time comes around that he will have to stay competitive on many fronts - not just price.

One of my key roles for my clients is in "key vendor negotiations" and I have "gone to the mat" many times with ADP and Reynolds & Reynolds and Arkona ... for my clients. The list goes on for every thing that a dealership needs to maximize their R.O.I. in every department. In every instance the solution was found based on a packaged solution that allowed for a pre-negotiated ability to add certain applications at fixed margins as the staff and selling processes matured enough to use them. That, plus the integration of ongoing training to support the inevitable change in dealer personnel to keep up the use of the processes supported by the applications that were part of the initial package.

There will always be new tools to add to the tool box and no one vendor will offer them all but I will note that ADP seems to have had the best track record in either allowing a push/pull integration or the intelligence to recognize developing opportunities and then either build their own version or acquire the new toy and add them to the family.

Of course having a consultant on your side of the table is always important when you are dealing with a large single vendor relationship. If you think it is difficult selecting a single CRM application try juggling that with a DMS, Telephony, Desking Tool, Printing solution and the 33 other items on the shopping list - and that doesn't take into consideration the next 23 that will be available the month after you lock into a contract! And yes - that is a plug since that is what I do for a living!!

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