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We are changing CRM's and the consensus from the management team is to go with Reynolds and Reynolds' Contact Management. I'd like to hear from people who are currently using the system to let me know their honest thoughts as to:

1) Ease of use for the sales staff
2) Handling of Internet Leads
3) Email Blasts
4) Service Marketing.

I'm hearing from a lot of vendors but no hands on dealers. I have been at this game a long time (27 years total in auto bus. 10 years on the Internet side) and I am a professional Internet/eCommerce Sales Manager so I know all the problems and shortfalls etc. I've used everything from Higher Gear, Cobalt's LMCC, Advent, AutoBase etc. I can make any program work (except Higher Gear as that's a lost cause) I just want to hear from Dealers who are using Contact Manager so I know what to expect. The decision is pretty much made already!

Tags: CRM, Contact, Internet, Management, Processes, ReyRey

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Hi Mitchell,

I have dozens of auto dealer clients using Contact Management, usually purchased in a package with the R&R DMS to accomodate coterminus agreements and integrated access, but frankly many MANY more are using some of the newer applications with greater confidence, convenience and - as a result of their more intuitive and flexible applications - greater R.O.I.

Rather than recommending alternates like VinSolutions, DealerUps and others that I have had greater success with than Contact Management I respectfully suggest that you review the ADM roster since they are all members and I am sure that they can speak for themselves. (Hi Matt, Doug, Guy etc..) I strongly advise you to do some comparison shopping before you sign anything!!!

You may also want to visit Jared Hamilton's http://DrivingSales.Com since his site is more focused on vendor reviews and the same ADM friends are on both forums along with relevant dealer reviews.

One update on what used to be a competitive CRM is to be aware that Higher Gear is no longer certified by R&R and we have been experiencing a drop in support services over the past few months that has been very concerning.

That said, I have been invited to meet with the executives at R&R in January to review their application and pending improvements in advance of the 2010 NADA Convention in Orlando in February and I will be passing on my observations to my affiliated automotive advertising agencies, auto dealer/vendor clients and ADM friens at that time. If you can't wait, no worries.

Just do your homework, compare at least the few that I mentioned and be sure to involve your managers in both sales and fixed ops as well as your F&I and administrative staff to insure their buy-in. Without that, none of the systems will work!!
I appreciate your thoughts. We are leaving Higher Gear and the GSM and Service Manager just feel that we don't want to go through that hell again and I have researched other solutions, and had their reps come here and show off, and Rey Rey appears to be able to do everything they can with no chance that Integration will ever go away but, most importantly, are doing it for the same monthly expense as Higher Gear is with no cash outlay. One of the vendors that came here, no names, spent so much time showing us all the "add ons" that he never really demonstrated the program as he priced it. I told him before hand that Rey Rey was coming in the next day and also told him at what price point we needed to be. I also told him beforehand what was being included. He came in higher, without service marketing, and wanted $3000 upfront. Not happening!
Understood. Just curious, since we coincidentally share the frustration with Higher Gear are you paying +/- $1,100 per month? If so, is R&R coming in at that - and if so - are they obligating you to a coterminus extension of their DMS - and if so, is their pricing on that competitive given the changes in the DMS sector as well. I only ask because sometimes the whole is less than the sum of the parts!!

Also, Doug Kinney is the owner of VinSolutions and Guy Manasse is the owner of DealerUps and they are both "friends" so if you want a last minute no nonsense comparable just ask and I will contact them for you - or you can look them up on ADM.

After all, what are friends for!
I would agree on being careful about extending a DMS contract when buying additional services from a DMS provider. I know dealers who have ended up in 25 year contracts this way.

The best contract is no contract.
It's a separate contract and they are coming in at @$1300 for the whole package with nothing upfront. Budget is a key factor and the owner would only change if his monthly expense stayed the same with no $$$ upfront!
It's a separate contract and they are coming in at @$1300 for the whole package with nothing upfront. Budget is a key factor and the owner would only change if his monthly expense stayed the same with no $$$ upfront!
Mitchell, what are the most important features you are looking for in a new CRM?

1. Internet lead functions
2. Showroom management
3. BDC functions
4. Service follow up
5. Sold follow up
6. Desking functions

... what type of functionality are you looking for?
1. Internet lead functions
2. Showroom management
3. Service follow up
4. Sold follow up
5. Unsold Follow Up
6. Email Marketing
Reynolds & Reynolds still provides one of the best DMS systems out there today. But CRM moves way too fast for a giant to move quickly. With Reynolds you get locked into a long term contract that leaves you hand cuffed to technology changes that happen quickly. As an example we just produced the 1st fully integrated mobile piece with DealerUps and I was told it was going to take them over a year and a half to develop and they did not see the cost benefit. 3rd party vendors life line is staying ahead of the curve, that is not the big companies concern. Details: Email blast become cumbersome if too large, you have to do smaller batches, Once lead is assigned person you lose visibility of quick response times, unless you load yourself up with alerts. Not the easisest for sales people, but not the worst I always tell people CRM's are like video games, they are all slow until you get used to using it. Then you go from Level 1 to Level 5. #1 issue is ongoing training with the big boys. Example: We train all new hires, you will not get that with Reynolds.
Hey Guy,

I agree, and I made your point in my reference to the contract obligations tied to an integrated R&R platform and the fact that the changing landscape of technology for the DMS as well as the CRM suggests that you may not want to put all of your egss into any one long term basket!

The "leverage" that R&R has applied to limit access to third party providers may work for them but it doesn't work for the customer who is made to feel like they won't play well with others so you need to stick with them - or else! In any case, I suggest that you "cut to the chase" and either contact Mitchell directly with an integrated solution and a "best shot" proposal or even post some examples of your platform - which I know and respect enough to suggest it - for all of ADM to see since he is not alone and his question shold be answered for/by all of us.

After all, what are friends for!

PS: Are you coming to our FirstLook - Ad Agency Online POST party at the 7th Digital Dealer Conference in Nashville on Sunday night from 8 PM to 10 PM at the Rock Bar in the Hermitage Hotel - one block from the conference? If so, we can catch up there and then since we have a lot to talk about!!
Philip, as a side note we love First Look so keep up the good work!
Mitchell, as a side note to your side note - can you come to our party? After all, what are friends for!

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