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CRM and Social Media are totally separate topics…What the…!?

Wednesday I caught a Tweet from Alex Snyder on CRM “Why hasn’t CRM sold more cars”. I was glad to see someone writing about something other than Social Media and I even email that to Alex.
All the hype and I am not using that term in a bad way here, just as a description for the industries obsession with Social Media. Whit all the Social Media hype it was refreshing to see an article on something other than social media.

This was an excellent post and made some great points about what is required to make CRM systems and processes work in a dealership. I commented in this post that I was happy to see a post on something other than the Social Media hype and I got a couple of snide, but thought provoking comments from some guys who clearly had not thought their positions all the way through.

Comment one (The names have been left out to protect the not so innocent :))

What this post has to do with Social Media I have no idea so why anyone would anyone bring it up? Personal agendas always get in the way.”

Comment two

“Social Media is an entirely other topic, and it is not “hype” that can be ignored. It’s not 1984, and marketing a dealership or selling cars in the same way will lead to disaster.”

I started out just making a comment how refreshing it was to see something other than social media then as I answered comment two it started to become more clear to me how TOTALLY WRONG AND WAY OFF BASE THESE TWO GUYS ARE!

In 1984 when I started selling cars the first thing my sales manger asked me to do was compile a friends and family list this was the basis for what we called then “My book of business” – Now, hell Facebook will do this for you connecting you with people you friends and family you don't even remember. Your CRM system will quickly and easily allow you to categorize and reference them with a few mouse clicks.

I spent my days pacing up and down the “Point” looking to beat the rest of the sales guys to the ups, cold calling from the white pages and following up on “UP’s” from past “Point” engagements – now I can pull customers from my dealerships database and follow-up on them via phone and email. When I do engage them I can ask them if they would like to become a Fan of the dealership on Facebook to get updates on service specials, special fan pricing and updates on good vehicle buys and if they do then I can just post good information in ONE place to talk to hundreds if not thousands of customers!

I used the Clint McGee GO (Get Organized) System. There were Green cards for UP’s, Yellow Cards for Referrals and Pink Cards for Sold Customers. I would follow up with each based on the color but also based on Birthdays, Anniversaries and Spouses and Children’s Birthdays with cards and letters. What would I have given to be able to send an e-card and now even better than that post a Happy Birthday on their Facebook wall for all their friends to see, I would have killed for that!

Instead of spending countless hours cold calling on the telephone, what I wouldn’t have given to sit in front of a computer and update my Facebook customers the great things going on at the dealership and be able to help them with question there where others might have the same questions and can learn from others questions. To be able to Tweet when a great trade came in to a group of possibly interested customers that asked to be notified!

Now for 3 things that were very hard to do in 1984 that CRM and Social Media have made a snap and have tremendous value for customers and salespeople.

1. I always tried to help my customers with a ride to wherever they needed to go if they were dropping of their vehicle in service – now I would post my ride schedule on my Facebook page and ask customers to go there to notify me if they are going to need a ride or use of my demo. My god this would show the value of doing business with me and allow me to be of so much more service to my customers.

2. I would have posted several videos of basic vehicle operations, setting the clock, using the Bluetooth feature ect. So that my customers would have a video reference for basic operations.

3. I would email e-cards to my UP’s and Internet leads to be different from all the other salespeople they have talked to I would also search Facebook to see if anyone in my network knows them and ask for some referral help.

My god the more you go through this the more you realize that CRM IS Social Media, come on, you guys on Dealerrefresh that think these thing aren’t related you could not be more wrong. I also recall a blogger on DrivingSales making the comment about someone calling in SocialCRM “That makes me want to barf”… Please wake up, there will be a convergence of CRM and Social Media far before marketing will make any kina mark there.

CRM and Social Media…totally separate topics! Have you lost your mind?

Everything I have discussed here we did in 1984 just nowhere near as efficient as it can be done now, but clearly not a disaster.

Hope this helps,

Larry Bruce (@pcmguy)

Views: 133

Tags: CRM, Post-click-marketing, automotive, bruce, click, dealership, internet, larry, marketing, post, More…sales, sem, seo, site, web


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Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 8, 2010 at 10:18am
@Ralph: ADP is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy ahead of the game.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 7, 2010 at 6:22pm
@Larry and @Alex,

Today i was able to test drive a working model of a new CRM/LMT my team has been working on since early 2009 where we tasked them with communication integration with Facebook, Twitter DM and other social media communications channels as a supplement to email. We will be showing this new capability at NADA under the brand name of BuzzTrack III... It is pretty slick and basically uses the Facebook Connect API's to validate the Facebook email account and password of the user, then provides BuzzTrack's messaging capabilities using the Facebook and other social media messaging systems instead of, or in addition to email.

I have a question for anyone reading this; Have you ever used Blackberry Messaging? And if you have, do you believe that the amount of BB Messaging users is significant enough to warrant having it as another messaging channel within a CRM or Lead Management application?

As for relevance... I have agreed with Larry and Keith for far longer than i knew they had the stated opinion that social media is closer to CRM than to marketing... Ever since using to meet my wife in 1998 and then using LinkedIn in 2004 to communicate with Reynolds, Mercedes and Honda executives, I have been distinctly aware that the communication and networking aspects of social media make it function much more like the mission that CRM is tasked with, than being suitable for pure product marketing. When you then look at the "Public Relations" aspects, and blend those objectives with "Marketing Communications" (MarCom), you get a much more compelling ROI and value proposition for dealers from social media and reputation management than new or used car product marketing could generate alone.

On Monday and Tuesday i was in San Antonio with a 4 man film crew shotting two days of interviews with dozens of Ancira Auto Group employees who have sold cars, service and parts as an outcome from their social media participation... We will be showing the clips during our sessions at NADA posted in the ADM events section.

Comment by Larry Bruce on January 4, 2010 at 7:32pm

I have already started looking at he intergration points for CRM and social media. They are quite extensive. This will be a very cool thing. Thanks for the prop Keith, all the best.

Comment by Larry Bruce on January 4, 2010 at 4:25pm
@Alex, I don't know if I would describe it as a train wreck but it is an odd combination for a blog post and comments. In the end Josh and Ralph's reminiscing of the good ole car days, while they really aren't relevant to the post, this is a perfect example of how you can't expect to control the conversion, even in your own post.

As for this your article "Why hasn't CRM sold me more cars", that was a great post on the processes that have to go with any CRM system no matter who's you have.

However I will have to say that the more I dug into this subject of Social CRM the more convinced I am becoming that Social Media is more closely related to CRM than it is to marking and I think you and many others should start looking at how social media fit into your current CRM processes instead of looking at it from a marketing angle.

For the record no the comments that sparked this post did not come from Alex or Jeff we'll leave them nameless if you really have to know you can click the link above and find them in the comments, if you do yourself a favor and read the post.

Alex thank for the laugh on the train wreck analogy.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 4, 2010 at 10:02am
Larry, I agree 100% that social media is another customer relationship. I have been flabbergasted at CRM vendors' eyes glazing over when I try to get them to understand that. Sigh. from October is still where my thinking is.

Thanks Larry!

Comment by Alex Snyder on January 4, 2010 at 6:02am
I think I'm officially calling this a train wreck. CRM, Social Media, and Ralph Paglia's career (as interesting as it is) don't usually go on the same train.

I just wanted to clarify that the folks who enticed Larry to write this can be found in the comments of the "Why hasn't CRM sold me more cars" article on DealerRefresh. It wasn't Jeff Kershner or myself, as Larry's article, here, could be read. And Larry, I think the world outside of automotive is just as sick of hearing about all the Social Media hype too. It is an important piece, but the trend to discuss its importance might be coming to an end.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 3, 2010 at 11:59am
@Josh - LOL, I like your dad already! You have a lot in common with my two daughters, Sarah and Rachel who grew up in the dealerships I worked in. Like a lot of car guys in hose days, I married a beautiful woman I met while selling cars who was a lot better at partying and driving fast cars than she was at being a mom, so my daughters spent way too much time at the dealerships I worked in then was probably appropriate. By the time she was 9 years old, my daughter Sarah was better at answering the phones in the sales tower and getting customer names, phone numbers (home and work) along with the info on the car they were looking for than any salesperson I have seen since! She had learned to explain that she was the daughter of the manager in charge and was helping her father out while being off from school because it was so busy at the dealership and her dad was tied up showing a customer who just bought a car how to set the radio stations to their favorite ones...

Later on, Rachel had this habit of just walking in on customers while we were working a deal and asking them to please but the car so her dad could take her out for something to eat... I never encouraged this stuff, it just sort of happened while they were in the maelstrom of the dealership daily activities...

When Rachel was an infant, I would set up her blankets and stuff in the bottom file cabinet drawer in the sales tower... She would be sleeping in their and I would have a note on the file cabinet that said "Do Not Shut Drawer - Baby In It".

When the girls were 4 and 6 years old, their mom took off and I ended up with sole legal custody... The rest of their time growing up included way too many days and hours at the dealership, many of them working at various jobs like answering phones, data entry, assisting the F&I Managers, some of whom became surrogate moms to my girls... I often wonder how much damage they suffered, but today they are both grown up, happy, healthy, married to men they both control and each has their own daughter...

Rachel became a computer whiz while working at the dealerships doing data entry... She taught me to use Google in early 1999 when it was still a Stanford University student project. She also turned me on to Napster in 1998 and in 1999 helped me fill up 4 twenty gig portable hard drives with music MP3's using 20 simultaneous downloading sessions on an Adelphia Cable connected bootleg cable-to-Internet box that hogged up most of the available bandwidth in the condo complex we were living in. I still have those 10,000+ MP3 tracks!

While in San Diego, there were many times that the Persian and Arab salesmen who worked for me would take Sarah or Rachel into their sales offices to help them close deals... To this day, both of my daughters remain sharp as ever, know BS when they see it and are for better at manipulating men then I would like them to be. Sarah is celebrating her 11th wedding anniversary in two weeks and her daughter, my granddaughter Alexis, turned 10 years old on December 27th... It seems like yesterday that Sarah was the darling of the F&I department at Kearny Mesa VW...

Rachel married a computer whiz kid she met online back in 2000 who was home schooled by his two parents who are both physicians, his father having emigrated from Lithuania when it was a Soviet Republic... This guy graduated from college when he was 17, after having started his own business at the age of 14, and now has a successful consulting practice serving Hollywood A list celebrities by setting up Mac networks, home theater systems, film review and editing software in their homes in Santa Fe, NM. Whenever they visit, the biggest problems we talk about is Rachel and her husbands issues with the IRS because of being self employed... I guess growing up in car dealerships didn't hurt either Rachel or Sarah too much, and I am sure you were not damaged to badly as a young boy either!

Comment by Josh Hixon on January 3, 2010 at 11:12am
I can't for the life of me remember what dealership it was. I know it was Mitsubishi when we were in Reno, Nissan and Honda in the San Diego Area. I know he quit from one dealership because he brought me in with him on his day off for a sales meeting, I was probably 3 or 4, I drew a picture for him and brought it in to show him. His boss yelled at me, he pretty much told the guy to F@*! Off and quit on the spot. Haha. He sold Tony Hawk a car before "Professional Skateboarder" would have been an acceptable profession :).

Comment by Larry Bruce on January 3, 2010 at 10:00am
I know Ralph I was jokeing :), I think it's great there needs to me more car guys in the world of these Car IT giants. Hopfully we can get some postitive things going.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 3, 2010 at 9:56am
@Larry - The only discussions in here about me have been about a couple of San Diego dealerships during the first third of my automotive career... The San Diego portion. We are still missing Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, my days with Half-A-Car and then Reynolds, Arizona and Courtesy Chevrolet, then the past 3 years with ADP... My REAL resume and history can be seen at

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