No matter what industry you’re in, software is the key to streamlining operations, boosting efficiencies and, as a result, increasing ROI. For example, more than 50% of top-performing companies in the U.S. have invested in a CRM system to drive sales productivity, according to a study by Forbes Insights and Brainshark.
While the challenges facing auto dealers are unique, software that’s specifically designed for the needs of the industry have moved it to the forefront as a must-have in a profitable operation.
Here are a few things you should know to select the auto management software that’s ideal for you.
First, understand the benefits
Software that meets the needs of a car dealer will take into consideration a number of functions, including providing you with reliable and timely information about your prospects, customers, employees, vehicles, and other products.
If your dealership offers repairs, you can seek out solutions that can assist you with managing those operations. It’s like having a virtual assistant for nearly every aspect of your business.
The benefits are far-ranging — from providing more personalized customer service to cutting down paperwork and boosting sales productivity.
Prioritize your needs
You could go all out and automate all aspects of your auto dealership but that could be too much too soon.
Even if you decide to invest in auto management software that’s comprehensive, focus on one area of your operations at a time. Unless you’re the exception, it’s likely that you’re constantly looking for ways to boost sales.
This is a great place to start. Identify the areas of your marketing and sales that are underperforming. Auto software can help you manage these aspects of your business more effectively.
For instance, is your sales team spending too much time sifting through leads? Are they trying to determine which ones are ready to buy within the next two to three weeks as opposed to those who may be “thinking about it” for six to 12 months?
The right software can help your team quickly distinguish between those who want to buy “right now” and those who want to kick a few more tires before making a determination. That alone could add up to significant savings in time as well as a boost in efficiency.
Explore the options
While some areas of your operations may immediately come to mind for an upgrade, it’s important to take into consideration those you may not be clear pain points.
Software solutions are available for the following areas: Time management, inventory management, scheduling, business management, marketing, accounting, parts ordering, and training.
There’s a good chance you already have some of these systems in place. Check to see how well they’re working for you. It could be time for an upgrade if you feel that those areas are underperforming — even with a software solution.
Training with vendors
When selecting a vendor to provide your software, make sure that the employees who will be using it are part of the demonstrations. It’s important to have user-friendly software that will actually get used.
While talking to vendors, discuss your goals. What do you hope to accomplish by purchasing auto management software? Review case studies of similar dealerships to determine the possibilities. Factor those into your decision-making process.
It’s also important to remember that software doesn’t work independently. You don’t just set it and forget about it. That’s why it’s critical to invest time and resources in training.
Your employees will need to step away from their day-to-day responsibilities (difficult, we know) to learn how to use the software, thoroughly understanding all the capabilities and features.
Also, most vendors will include fees for ongoing support and licensing. This support is instrumental to your success to maximizing the potential of the software.