Dealer Management Systems (DMS) have been the backbone of dealerships since the inception of automated systems and processes. Over time the footprint of the DMS has increased to cover basic Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) to allow for the integration of many back-office services and applications. In recent years there has been a demand to include simplistic customer contact management as the pricing of full Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have been prohibitive.
With the availability now of fully functional SaaS based CRM’s off the shelf at low per user price points, and many other low-cost marketing automation tools being accessible. Dealerships are now reverting to using their DMS for solely ERP services and investing in dedicated Lead management, CRM and marketing automation platforms.
What Are The Contact Lifecycle Segments?
1. Out Of Market Customers
Nurturing of customer and prospect contact information remains the domain of CRM applications. This allows for a coordinated customer contact plan and centralising of all marketing activity to ensure prospects receive clear and not conflicting market messages. The interaction between the CRM customer activity and marketing automation is based on customer interaction or engagement, and optimises marketing spend and effectiveness. Once a customer prospect is driven across a predefined threshold a Lead is created and passed to the in-market domain for Lead management.
2. In-Market Customers
For in-market customer lead management, time is the key factor in completing a successful conversion to a sale. The customer contact information including all collected background profiling data needs to be clearly made available along with the enquired-on vehicle or request. Based on the premise that people sell to people, the allocation of a lead to a sales agent needs to be efficient in order to allow for a timely first customer contact. Once in the hands of a Sales Agent it is important that there is a defined and adhered to digital ‘Road to Sale’ (RtS) process.
3. ERP Services
On the completion of a successful sale the customer journey must remain seamless as the management continues through the BAU business processes. This includes the completion of the finance and delivery processes and the ongoing service requirements being met. As the customer remains active and engaged with the dealership it is important that this information is in turn fed back to the customer nurturing process that is provided to ‘Out of Market’ customers.