CRM and Direct Marketing Form a Dynamic Duo
In the automotive industry, it has been commonplace for CRM providers and direct marketing companies to vie for your dealership’s attention, as well as marketing dollars, each arguing that they can help make a direct impact on your dealership’s bottom line. It is my opinion, however, that CRMs and marketing companies can (and should) work together, serving as a complement to each other’s services. They shouldn’t be pitted against one another vying for prime budgetary allocations.
While CRMs and direct marketers have often been positioned as competitors, each brings areas of specialty to the relationship. Instead of working against one another, each discipline can play off each other’s strengths to positively impact dealerships. When this collaboration occurs, the dealer will close more deals, attract and retain more customers, lower costs, increase efficiency, and maintain a competitive edge in today’s digital age.
To understand how these two separate providers can become a formidable duo, it is essential to understand exactly what each vendor brings to the table.
A CRM serves a vital role in the dealership’s day-to-day workflow. It allows the dealership to know and understand their customers by tracking data about them, their vehicle and their purchasing and servicing behaviors. The CRM tool is intended to support the following within a dealership: prospect and live-call follow-up, work plan organization, unsold prospect campaigns, showroom control, desking, and internet lead management. When used correctly in these roles, there is little argument as to how valuable the CRM tool can be!
And while many CRM tools offer a dealership the ability to market to their customers, retention-focused marketing is extremely demanding of a dealer’s resources—often at an added cost. Most general managers would agree that their staff and time are costly resources that should be devoted to customers walking in the door. Sales, service, and general dealership staff often struggle with the cumbersome creative process involved in executing a dealership’s marketing campaigns (new creative designs, list management, printing letters and stuffing envelopes, keeping track of branding and compliance regulations, creating texts and emails, etc.). Rather, a dealership’s personnel should be focused on doing what they do best: selling and servicing vehicles! While a dealership may have the best intentions in utilizing a CRM marketing tool, it may yield disastrous results if it does not have the time or appropriate staff to handle all levels of the direct marketing process.
While CRM applications may have services that allow a dealership to effectively run day-to-day operations, direct marketing companies allow a store to not only market smarter and more effectively, but also optimize your CRM. Marketing solutions are created to fully support the dealership’s marketing efforts. A complete lifecycle marketing solution is able to provide creative services, list management, customer suppressions, guaranteed compliance, and flawless execution with little to no effort from staff at the dealership. Additionally, with a marketing mentality, experience, and philosophy, a direct marketing company can provide consultation services and account management that can provide an unbiased, objective evaluation of campaign effectiveness. Experienced marketing specialists also review marketing results with dealership personnel to provide insights on how to optimize future campaigns.
What does this mean for dealerships, CRM providers and direct marketing companies?
Instead of choosing between your CRM vendor and your direct marketing vendor, optimize your CRM by allowing each party to do what they do best. Your staff can focus on the customers coming through the door and you can relax knowing your customers are being communicated to at the right time, with the right message, through the right channel. Ultimately you will have a dealership that runs more efficiently, is more effective at selling and servicing vehicles, and provides a better overall customer experience.
Brad Title is the vice president of sales and product vision for DMEautomotive. For more information, visit www.dmeautomotive.com.