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We are currently looking to find a new website provider.  We have BZ Results at the moment that handles our lead management, and then also ADP CRM.  The two do not fully integrate together and it is so frustrating, also they are switching to the Cobalt platform and after listening to demos, don't think they have exactly what we are looking for.  We are not very impressed with BZ or Cobalt.  We have started reseaching but its hard with all the companies out there.  What are other dealerships using and what are you happy with?

One thing that is frustrating is that our contract switchover to Cobalt is happening soon, otherwise we'll dropped, which would be fine, but we still will be under our ADP contract for our CRM for another year.  So we have to stick with them until later, so right now we just need a website, but in another year, will be looking to find another complete CRM provider that integrates with our lead management.  Should we switch to the FORD website for just a year and then investigate further then?  Start a relationship with another lead provider?  How will that work with our CRM through ADP that we have to keep in place for another year?  HELP!!!!!!!!!!

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Mandi

There is a great resource that rated the 45+ website companies that serve the automotive community, which is the 2011 Automotive Website Awards whitepaper.  You can get a copy of the 160 page research book by visiting http://www.automotivewebsiteawards.com.

The website lists the winners, but if you want the research behind the winners, you can get a copy of the book.   You can order the book by calling Carrie Hemphill at 908-601-6475.

Before you give up on Cobalt, make sure you get a demo on their new Flex website technology which allows greater flexibility of design elements on the website.  

When selecting a new website provider there are many factors that impact a new partner?  Here are a few discussion questions that you need to have with yourself prior to contacting new companies:

  1. Are you a high maintenance customer?  
  2. Have you outlined your support and training needs clearly?
  3. Do you desire a dedicated account support representative or are you ok with a support line?  
  4. What are your expectations for first call resolution?
  5. Are you willing to replace your CRM system if the website vendor had an integrated solution?
  6. Do you want this website provider also to provide your mobile website technology?
  7. Do you want the website provider to run your display and paid search campaigns?
  8. How important are website analytics and website activity reports to you?
  9. Do you want a customized theme or are you fine with an OEM approved design?
  10. How long are you willing to sign a contract for the new website provider?
  11. Do you care if the website is eligible for Co-op funding?
  12. If this new vendor could also assist with IRM and Social Media, is that important?

The more you outline your needs and expectations, the better prepared you will be when talking to potential partners.

I hope this helps..

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting

Mandy,

Sorry to hear of your frustration. The current integration between BZ Results Lead Management Solution (BuzzTrak) and ADP CRM is limited to passing various activities and events from BuzzTrak to ADP CRM.  The intention of the integration is to have customers work leads in Buzz Trak until the point of sale and then work the customer in CRM.  By the sounds of your post this does not meet the needs of your current dealership process.

We at Cobalt/ADP have been listening to customer feedback like yours and are excited about the release and on-going enhancements planned for our new Lead Management solution - ADP Lead Manager.  Lead Manager includes single sign-on through the Dealer Command Center that gives you access to your ADP/Cobalt Website, Analytics, and Lead Management tools.

With the new ADP Lead Manager we have also improved the integration with ADP CRM.  This improved integration now includes bi-lateral communication between Lead Manager and ADP CRM on a number of different event types and activities that take place during the nurturing phases of a lead.  My team here would be happy to give you a more in depth demonstration of the new integration to see if it meets the needs of your dealership process, and of course to gather any additional feedback you might have.

Respectfully,

Joshua Eubanks

Product Manager, Lead Manager

ADP Dealer Services, Inc

You should take a look at Dealerfire:  We have used them from the  beginning; very helpful and quick to resolve any changes that you want.  They are in Wisconsin.  We have just switched CRM's to Vin solutions.  CRM is great but didn't want to leave Dealerfire as our webisite provider.  Transition to Vinsolutions CRM was very easy and resolved any issues of Vehicle inventory following into the templates.  Hope this helps.  Our website is www.ingramparkmazda.com  or www.ipacauto.com.  They also have our mobile site as well.

 

Brian has made a great post.  Those are some great questions.  My opinion is dish it out with you CRM until the contract is up.  Certainly, take a look at the Flex website technology to keep an open mind.  If that does not impress you then start looking to consider your other options.  Your Ford website is mandatory so make sure that is properly optimized but your other site can be any choice.  My suggestion is that when looking for a website provider, think about how much support interaction you will need.  The smaller companies have better support then the huge companies.

Mandi:

Not unlike many other retail categories, automation of the online process is always a frustration.  Varied platforms that don't integrate properly, technology heavy solutions that require significant manpower and capital resources, and in the end the struggle to evaluate exactly the value provided.

If you look at major retailers in other sectors you'll find even some of the largest have 1-2 people who manage the entire online functions.  They depend on creative companies to do their website design, and they internally do the SEO/SEM/SMM work (it doesn't take that much time, I promise).  They use a single software product that provides a full suite of management tools (fully integrated into their CRM), and they're done!  In our category there are a number of tools that can provide everything you require.

I'd be happy to have an offline conversation with you and assist you in working through this process from a process direction.  I don't want to sell you anything . . .it's just we've made this way more complicated than it has to be.

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