The automotive industry is one of the most technologically advanced sectors with constant innovations in automotive features, financing, servicing and other improvements in customer experience. Auto repair shops and dealerships need the right tools to support their growth and business success to keep pace with the rapidly evolving industry. One of the most vital tools for the auto industry is a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
CRMs help businesses keep track of their customers, identify sales opportunities, track leads, implement marketing initiatives and manage basic day-to-day operations. This guide to CRMs for the auto industry will cover some important features for mechanics and dealerships to be aware of when choosing a CRM. We’ll also discuss why using a CRM can help improve sales, productivity and profitability.
CRM for Car Dealerships
CRM systems for car dealerships are integrated software programs designed to help automotive businesses seamlessly manage operations. The features and capabilities of CRM systems vary depending on the provider. From end-to-end operations platforms to simplified contact managers, car dealerships have many different CRM systems to choose from. Which type of features an automotive dealership needs in a CRM system depends on existing systems and processes, but one of the most important aspects of any CRM system is its sales management functionality.
The sales team is the lifeblood of a car dealership. Sales reps need to constantly bring in a steady stream of new clients, as well as successfully cross-sell to an existing base of customers. Managing customers can be overwhelming, especially the more a dealership grows. Sales representatives need professional tools to help them keep track of their client interaction and find new and creative solutions for increasing their sales and closing more deals.
A CRM for car dealerships can help sales teams manage incoming leads, keep track of customer needs and appointments, target specific customer segments with new promotions and many other related sales and marketing functions.
CRM for Auto Mechanics
Similar to a CRM for car dealerships, auto mechanics also need tools to help them keep track of their customers. With auto mechanic shops, it’s essential to stay organized and keep track of customers, particularly their contact and account information, automotive needs and appointment history. In addition to basic contact management, auto mechanics can also use CRM technology to help grow their business.
The ability to contact customers about routine service intervals, upcoming repair and replacement needs or other related concerns can help mechanics stay in constant contact with their customers and drive more business. By leveraging CRM systems, mechanics can build relationships with their customers and continue to bring back a steady stream of repeat customers over the years to come.
Why a CRM Is Important in the Auto Industry
CRM software is an essential tool for virtually any industry, particularly businesses that manage multiple customers at once and want to grow their revenue. However, CRMs are particularly important in the automotive industry, which is a highly competitive marketplace.
Automotive businesses face a lot of local competition, and they’re also dealing with customers looking to make a big investment in their new automobile or the maintenance and care of their existing one. Being organized and professional help automotive businesses better serve their customers with this important aspect of their lives 一 their transportation.
Below are five reasons why businesses can benefit from an automotive CRM.
1. Manage Customer Interactions
Having a CRM for auto repair shops and car dealerships is essential to better managing customer interactions. A simple and easy-to-use database management system for managing all your customers’ information helps your business maintain a professional image and improve customer relations.
With an automotive CRM, you can keep track of essential information about your customers, including:
- Name and contact information, including telephone, email and address.
- Type of automobile they have or are looking for.
- History of repairs and servicing appointments.
- Upcoming servicing or trade-in needs.
Having all of this vital information in one database can help your team stay organized and provide a better customer experience.
2. Implement Marketing Campaigns
Automotive businesses require ongoing marketing to drive sales and bring a steady customer base. By leveraging automotive CRM features, business owners can implement marketing campaigns via email blasts to stay in communication with customers.
To generate repeat business, automotive repair shops and dealerships need to stay proactive with their customers, reminding them that your business continues to be available to serve them. A CRM can help business owners implement basic email campaigns that keep customers aware of their automotive needs and return to your shop repeatedly.
Using the information you collect from your CRM, you can identify leads that have gone cold and bring them back into your active pipeline. You can also tailor your marketing efforts to your customers depending on where they are in the sales journey. CRM technology gives you important insight so you can craft intelligent marketing campaigns that convert more customers.
3. Obtain Data Reports
One of the most essential benefits of maintaining a CRM in the automotive industry is the ability to pull data and reports from the database that business owners can use to grow their businesses or improve their operations. CRMs are excellent analytics tools that allow your team to track their sales numbers, including revenues.
Using the data collected by the CRM, sales teams and business owners can identify key information, such as:
- Peak sales times and seasons.
- Top performing products and services.
- The number of repeat transactions.
With this data and more, managers and business owners can make strategic adjustments to their operations to boost sales, increase productivity and serve more customers with tailored products and services.
4. Track Commission
A CRM for a car salesperson or sales team is one way to keep track of sales and calculate commissions. Integrated features in CRMs for car dealerships often include commission tracking. CRM databases can track sales and service orders and assign leads to representatives. At the end of each pay cycle, the CRM calculates the total commission payout for each representative, ensuring accuracy and consistency.
CRM users can pre-set the specific commission percentage and adjust it if operational policies change. This makes the CRM easy to use and update for sales teams for ongoing success. The ability to track commissions also helps sales teams set their goals and track their progress so they know what adjustments to make to achieve their monthly commission.
5. Streamline Operations
Ultimately, maintaining a CRM for shop owners and car dealerships is a way to streamline business operations. From storing customer contact information and informing marketing campaigns to tracking sales and commission and managing customer appointments, CRMs help business owners and managers become more efficient at managing daily tasks.
With features like document management, business owners can store important files, issue quotes and invoices, manage parts numbers and numerous other essential operational items. All of this can be done from one central system without the need for paperwork. CRMs help teams save time and effort by improving productivity, avoiding errors and missed appointments and improving customer service.
How to Choose the Right CRM in the Auto Industry
There are hundreds of different CRM programs to choose from, ranging from feature-heavy systems to simple and intuitive databases that provide basic functionality. Many CRM systems are designed to be general programs that any type of business can use. Because of the auto industry’s unique needs, it’s important to look for CRM programs that accommodate the specific needs of an auto repair shop or a car dealership.
When choosing a CRM for your auto industry business, there are a few key factors to consider. From the types of features you want to the number of users you have to budget, determining your specific CRM needs is important before choosing a product.
Below are some of the top things to consider when choosing the right CRM for auto mechanics or dealerships.
When choosing the CRM in the auto industry, it’s important for shop owners and dealership managers to understand the different features available in a CRM and choose which ones are most important for their business. Some popular CRM features for the auto industry include:
- Automated reminders about service appointments, repairs or renewals.
- Management of vehicle servicing history.
- Email distribution about upcoming promotions, discounts and financing deals.
- Integrated notifications sent to sales team members, including follow-up and appointment alerts.
- Shop management tasks, including parts tracking and purchase order document management.
When deciding which features are most important for your shop or dealership, consider the future. Account for any future plans for expanding your team or locations, so your CRM is flexible enough to grow with your business.
Sales and Marketing
Leveraging the sales and marketing functions of a CRM is an important aspect of choosing the right program for the auto industry. Sales and marketing features in CRMs are critical to both auto repair shops and dealerships because they help drive repeat business and keep in touch with existing customers.
Some of the sales and marketing features you might need in a CRM for the auto industry include:
- Sending emails to your sales pipeline, including customers or leads.
- Launching email campaigns for seasonal auto needs, such as winter driving or spring tuneups.
- Tailoring sales efforts to customers based on their profile, including vehicle type or repair history.
When choosing your next CRM system for your auto repair shop or dealership, consider the level of sales and marketing features you need and how your CRM can support these goals.
Another essential consideration when choosing a CRM is your business’s existing systems and apps and how you can integrate them into a complete management system. Most small businesses use at least a few different software systems or programs to manage operations, including email providers, bookkeeping software and social media tools. The ability to seamlessly integrate existing platforms into your chosen CRM system can simplify the transition and maximize your ability to use the solutions cohesively.
When choosing your CRM, find out which third-party integrations are available, including:
- Email campaign solutions.
- Marketing products, like Hootsuite.
- Document managers and files.
If you have a particular software API you’d like integrated, be sure to ask your account manager about the available integrations with your CRM.
Number of Users
When choosing your CRM system, it’s important to clarify who in your organization will be using the system and whether they will need their own user accounts. For independent dealerships or self-employed auto mechanics, the simpler the CRM, the better. Smaller organizations may only require one user account, making choosing affordable and user-friendly CRM platforms easier.
When deciding which CRM system to go with, ask your provider about the number of user seats available standard with a subscription. Find out how much it costs to add users and whether you can scale as needed.
Maximizing budgets and keeping overhead costs low is essential to maintaining a healthy bottom line for small businesses. That’s why it’s important to choose a CRM system that fits within your budget and doesn’t provide excessive features that aren’t suitable for small businesses.
When shopping around for CRM systems for the auto industry, compare prices and the types of features you get from your investment. Contrast each CRM’s offering to the list of features you’ve identified as being your priority. Most CRM platforms have the option to pay monthly or annually and may have multiple tiers available to suit your budget.
Register for a Free Trial
When shopping around for your next CRM system for your car dealership or auto repair shop, consider trying a product demo before making an investment. With a free demo, you can test the software, try the features and decide whether the program meets your needs.
Using the CRM in a real-world scenario will also help you clarify which features you like and which ones aren’t as critical. A free trial will help familiarize you with the level of customization available with the CRM. Knowing ahead of time which options and features you can customize to your personal preferences is important in making an informed decision.
Choose Simple Sales for Your Auto Industry CRM
Manage customer relationships, close more sales and streamline your operations with a CRM system for your auto industry business. Choose Simple Sales CRM for an easy-to-use CRM designed to empower small businesses by increasing productivity and revenue.
With Simple Sales CRM for auto repair shops and car dealerships, you get essential features like:
- Contact management and interaction tracking.
- A sales and lead management and sales dashboard.
- Calendars for appointment tracking.
- Task management.
- Document management.
- Email and third-party application integration.
- Commission tracking.
- Reporting and analytics.
Simple Sales CRM is designed to be a simplified and streamlined system that’s intuitive, user-friendly and enjoyable to use without complicated features that auto industry businesses don’t need.
Discover how to customize the Simple Sales CRM for your business by scheduling your free trial. Register today to demo the Simple Sales CRM and begin improving your customer service, sales and operations for business success. Learn more by taking a product tour and see how other businesses are using Simple Sales to improve their sales and customer tracking.