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What’s the Difference for Your Dealership? Ever wonder about the difference between your CEM and CRM?  What are the specifics of each, and how do they benefit your dealership—both individually and when strategically positioned to work together? 

At first glance, it’s easy to think they’re synonymous, and while they have overlapping features, there are definitive differences that make each ideally suited for individual aspects of your dealership’s business.  Respectively, they are powerful tools, however, when your dealership uses them together to their full potential, they can be the catalyst that drives you toward a healthier bottom line and a broader and more loyal customer base. According to Gartner, Customer Experience Management (CEM) is “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.”  Successful Customer Experience Management is a strategy that requires both process change and powerful technology.  In short, CEM is about getting to know your customers and collecting data and information from various touchpoints and, in turn, analyzing that data to get greater levels of engagement. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a database of customer information that allows a company to easily access and view interactions such as conversations, emails, requests, products purchased, and specific customer solutions.  Used as a tool to manage and analyze consumer actions and interactions, the goal of a CRM is to improve business, drive incremental sales, and retain customers by continuously tracking and compiling pertinent shopper information.

Who Benefits From CEM and CRM?

It can be argued that Customer Experience Management (CEM) is a relationship-building tool that functions highly effectively on the marketing side of your business, while the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool functions effectively for your sales professionals.  While the CEM seeks to build well-rounded customer relationships and provide personalized experiences throughout every buyer journey, the CRM remains focused on collecting and organizing useful data and serving it up to your sales professionals in a way that will help them successfully leverage consumer insights and gain valuable sales leads.  With both a strong CEM tool, as well as a CRM that’s capable of housing and organizing up-to-the minute shopper data, your dealership can be a sales and marketing powerhouse, leading the marketplace in consumer insights and shopper intelligence. Just like you want everyone in your dealership to work together as a team, that’s what you want from your CEM and your CRM as well.  When you are able to provide the best in Customer Experience Management, coupled with a CRM that gives you the most insightful views of your consumers, you’ll win in the marketplace every time.

What CEM Technology Can Do

With the right CEM technology, your dealership can leverage the reach of your entire organization and engage consumers like never before.  By using the power of social media to create and build authentic relationships with your audience, you’ll be able to broaden your reach and effectively impact your dealership’s bottom line.  While traditional selling techniques may be less effective—with the average cold call appointment rate sitting at approximately 2.5%—digitally-driven sales are skyrocketing.  In fact, a recent study shows 72.6% of salespeople who used social selling outperformed their peers. Additionally, powerful and well-rounded CEM technology will enable you to engage your audience throughout the buyer journey, stay up-to-date with customer feedback and reviews, as well as tune in to potential shoppers entering the market.  When you interact with your audience by providing quality content, interaction, and feedback of your own, you’ll create lasting relationships that position your dealership as a marketplace leader, and in turn, a top choice when it’s time to lease, purchase, or find a quality repair and maintenance destination. By getting your employees in on the action and encouraging their engagement, you’ll not only see an improvement in workplace morale and participation, but you’ll enjoy their extended online reach as well.  Your employees are an extension of your brand, and when you empower them—and even incentivize them—to engage and interact with consumers on your behalf, you’ll create even more visibility for your dealership.

What CRM Technology Can Do

By utilizing a great CRM tool, you’ll be giving your sales team the power they need to fire up their numbers and reach the right customers at right time—with valuable information that gives them an edge in the marketplace.  Your CRM is full of useful information, and when your professionals are armed with knowledge that includes things like past sales, current online shopper searches, in-market customers, price ranges searched, and even shopper equity status, they’ll be able to conquest even more customers.  When you implement powerful tracking and tagging tools, you’ll have up-to-date consumer insights, allowing you to manage leads and opportunities and drive impressive sales numbers.

CRM and CEM Working Together

When your dealership allows the information in your CRM to fuel its driven sales professionals to dig deeper and utilize the valuable information that’s available, you’ll realize you’re able to provide a more individualized level of customer care.  Combined with an excellent CEM tool, you’ll be able to overlay a more personalized experience and build consumer relationships, leading to increased satisfaction, brand loyalty, and increased sales. While the CRM and the CEM provide different results for your dealership, you can benefit from what each has to offer.  Utilize the sheer volume of data available via the CRM to delve into customer interactions and experiences, thus enabling your sales team to have an inside track when it comes to shopper preferences; and leverage the relationship-building power of a quality CEM tool to help you create meaningful connections.  By utilizing the best of both tools, your dealership will come out on top with leads, sales, and loyal customers.

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Tags: Automotive, CEM, CRM, Customer, Experience, Marketing, Social, Technology


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Comment by Wayne Hogan on January 8, 2016 at 8:26pm

Well said Joe "First off, I LOVE the fact that you are talking about CEMs as if they are commonplace when most dealers haven't heard of them, and barely use their CRMs right in the first place." 

Proper use of the CRM is vital and most often it is not utilized to provide for access to the the CEM realm. I see this every day and the author hit it right on the head utilizing what is already available it just needs to be operationalized! 

Comment by Christine Floreno on January 4, 2016 at 4:30pm

It really is important for dealerships to know what their goals are and invest in the right tools specific for those goals. Also there are some existing platforms right now, such as TapCars, that can provide digital classifieds and merchandising solutions for local companies doing business online. 

Comment by Joe Webb on January 3, 2016 at 2:02pm

First off, I LOVE the fact that you are talking about CEMs as if they are commonplace when most dealers haven't heard of them, and barely use their CRMs right in the first place.
I agree that the right tool allows you to develop long-lasting relationships with clients, featuring triggers for service, events, insights into behavior, and more.
My question is... wouldn't this philosophy of a CEM be best if it were an actual CRM of its own. Two solutions/portals for dealers have proven to be very difficult to gain adoption and utilization.

Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on December 30, 2015 at 3:42pm

Great info here :)

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