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CRM WARS!!!
In the last three weeks, I have had more customer requests to change the email address connecting my network websites to their NEW CRM tool than ever before. The CRM providers (Vin, ADP, ReyRey Higher Gear and others) are more active and competitive than ever before. Is it the Chicago area or everywhere. Who is winning? Why?

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Steve, I don't know because I'm in the Chicago area.  But we switched to VinSolutions a year ago and I like the software a lot.  We dropped about 6 companies when we switched to VinSolutions and achieved greater integration.

CRM is going Open Source, eventually.  You will see solutions outside the automotive industry that will easily adapt to each dealer.  Google is one of them.  For the same reason Droid has been a success, solutions are becoming more prevalent.  CRMs that handle social communication should be the focus.  Those CRMs are popular outside the automotive industry.  Very few are within.  If the CRM creates great communication on a social media level and builds a network of trust for the dealer (with accurate follow up and continued marketing), it is effective.  Only those CRM companies that can bring the future will survive.  That takes more imagination.  I hope they fight their wars with that kind of weapon.  Otherwise, they have already lost.

 

Jason Manning 

Hey Jason, thanks for sharing your insight. Can you give me an example (outside of the automotive industry) of CRM's that are popular? AND/OR how they are better from an operations standpoint?

Steve,

 

Take a look at this case study where Chevrolet uses SugarCRM in Colombia:

 

http://www.sugarcrm.com/crm/customers/gm-colombia.html

Hi Jason, Is that intuition you're using or do you have information that makes you believe CRMs will go open  source?  I really never thought of that. I'd like to know your reasoning.

 

 I think CRMs are moving toward total integration of a dealers software solutions, and that would include your Social Media, but also DMS.  We're halfway there already.  Android is open source but it takes developers to put out a product that appeals to the consumer (in this case, dealers).

No intuition here.  I use that with customers.  CRMs are already Open Source (and Social).  However, if you only looked inside the automotive industry you would've never guessed.  Look at SalesForce.com, SugarCRM.com, or Zoho.com, not to mention Google as well.  There are plenty of developers that will customize those CRMs for any dealer.  In that way, there are no "Dealer Leaks" that I am against (sharing dealer data with vendors through affiliates, partners, subsidiaries etc).  Competitive and Intelligent business owners are customizing their own systems (mostly outside the automotive industry, of course).  They are using their Imagination. 

 

When dealers see their abilities to branch out on their own, they will thrive more.  I worked for Carmax.  They have their own custom CRM and inventory systems.  They thrive on data that is not used by mainstream dealers.  Customized CRMs will produce the best results for each dealer in each market with each individual business plan.  Custom CRMs that are Open Source have the ability to grow and adapt faster to each individual business (and customer).  Just think about all the ways you'd like to change or improve your current CRM.  Maybe not even now, but certainly in the future.  Do you want to wait in line for a change?  Do you want to share your new method with the rest of your competitors?

 

Think of all the ways Google and Facebook have changed over the years.  Google customizes their own systems, don't they?  That's why they have Google+, right?  They are in control of their own system.  Facebook is the same.  They design and control their data inhouse.  Dealers must do the same.

 

Just Do It Right (with Open Source)

Jason Manning 

Open Source CRM

Because there are a lot of smart people outside of Silicon Valley

The Sugar Open Source Project and Community are at the heart of our mission. Creating an 'architecture of participation' where users from around the world can help to build a higher quality, more useful product is a superior form of development than the traditional Silicon Valley model of a few product managers dictating what features the world needs. The open source model embraces the world outside of Silicon Valley instead of keeping it at arm's length.

When we started SugarCRM, we hoped there was a better way to build and sell enterprise software. Now, years later, that hope has turned into confidence. There is always a better way.

Better Way to Build and Distribute Software

In an industry dedicated to improving customer relationships (CRM), it is interesting that proprietary software vendors spend between 50-70% of revenues convincing customers to buy their product (sales and marketing) and less than 10% of revenues actually making better products (engineering).

We thought there was a better way. Why not write our product in public and distribute it through an open source license? Individuals and companies would be free to evaluate and use Sugar Community Edition without restriction. If users decide they want advanced functionality, professional support and product extensions, they can engage with SugarCRM when they are ready for a commercial relationship. This Commercial Open Source model shortens the costly and time-consuming enterprise sales cycle while allocating more toward engineering (almost half our company is part of R&D). It also makes for more successful deployments because customers do not experience the 'bait and switch' sales model of proprietary vendors. The commercial open source model requires putting your product in front of your sales force, which means having a fast, intuitive application that is easy to learn, use and extend.

 

 

Here is the complete article:  http://www.sugarforge.org/content/open-source/

 

Amazing how much money is spent on convincing businesses to buy CRMs, versus development of the CRM for the customer's benefit.  Alarming to me.

 

Jason Manning

The puppet-master behind the CRM wars is another set of initials, DMS.  Reynolds' RCI is an expensive, and perhaps restrictive, business toll for that DMS.  Unfortunately, changing DMS is like a head translpant . . .

Very true Keith, which brings me to my next point.  Are we following the DMSs or are they following us.  We have a need to move forward.  Maybe we should be looking for a DMS that can reduce our costs and provide us with custom service as well.  That's an area that is wide open in my opinion.  Our future is full of change.  I see an Open Source DMS in our future as well.  When I see the Droid Operating System closing in on Apple, I know Open Source is our future.  It may take an investment in a 20 Group to make it happen for their respective dealers, but they've been working together for awhile anyway.  Why don't they take the next step?  Why are they talking about their past?  Why don't they just invest in their future, control and secure it?  Share the expense and reap the rewards.  Open Source would allow this.  We're already organized to do it.  Sign a contract together and move forward.

 

Jason Manning

Jason, that's very interesting information.  I was aware of SalesForce but not the others. I will check out the link.

Keith, Reynolds was on my mind the whole time I was reading. A CRM must be able to communicate with Reynolds, which we use.  And that doesn't come cheap.  As always, the devil is in the details. 

Are you getting all this Steve?

 

Yes, the RCI is about $100k, and they are going to require it (or already have?).  RCI is how vendors now interface with Reynolds DMS; a CRM without a DMS interface is less attractive, and in some cases is unusable.

 

There is more going on than I thought. VERY interesting for sure!

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