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The Future of Automotive CRM in 2021, and Beyond

Steve Roessler
March 23rd, 2021

We have all witnessed the big changes in the way vehicles are being sold and purchased recently. If the last year and first quarter of 2021 taught us anything, it was that your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is essential for keeping your dealership connected and thriving. But some dealerships still struggle with restrictive technology and dated processes.

Is it time to take a look at your CRM? Technology will continue to evolve with shoppers’ behavior, but one thing is consistent. Dealerships using CRMs want great adoption and a strong return on their investment. Finding the best CRM for your dealership can be a challenge. Ideally, auto retailers should choose a CRM designed to support existing processes that staff will consistently use.

Now is the time to think differently about CRM and reconsider customer shopping behavior. Below is a recap of things to consider from our most recent Ebook, CRM Best Practices: Change the Culture of your Dealership.

Keep it Simple

The relationship between you and your customers is the heart of every dealership. The best automotive CRM is one that supports store processes and makes tracking key metrics easy. A system with a simple User Interface (UI) that’s easy to learn increases employee adoption and reduces training needs.

Choose an uncomplicated system that’s flexible, effective and integrates with other dealership software. Next, set your goals or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Then, measure, evaluate and change them when necessary.

Embrace the System

Many dealers today are fighting to maintain the same level of profitability while doing more with less. It’s critical now, more than ever before, to think long-term about how your dealership CRM will scale and grow your business.

Simplicity, personalization, smart technology and support are the fundamentals of gaining future competitive advantage. Executives and Champions are vital to driving adoption and usage among front-line employees.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation

According to Deloitte Digital, “we are rapidly running towards a day when 100% of shoppers will be connected 100% of the time.” Dealerships must have a strong communication strategy implemented at all touchpoints in this new customer journey. This strategy enables dealerships to give shoppers what they want, instantly and effortlessly, thus shortening the sales cycle. Using AI with machine learning capabilities and automating processes helps your sales staff do their job faster, more accurately and more efficiently with fewer resources.


Mobile CRMs are no longer optional. Recent changes in our environment and shopping behaviors require dealership staff to lean on tools that allow for mobility, quick knowledge sharing and smart communications from anywhere at any time.

Optimize the Value Chain

Interested in centralizing data and making it more useful? Most dealerships say this is a priority, but many are unable to get a holistic view of their aggregated sales data due to dated technology and inaccurate reporting.

Blending CRM, AI and engagement strategies in one place gives dealerships a straightforward roadmap for closing immediate and longer-term opportunities, automatically moving them through the pipeline based on replies and actions. Dealers need a solution that allows them to monitor sales activities quickly, increase (productive) engagement, schedule appointments and sell more cars.

Hyper-personalized Conversations

Auto shoppers now have more choices than ever before. A modern, real-time engagement strategy is vital for dealerships to gain attention and convert prospects. From website tracking, personalized videos and texting to AI and internal communication platforms (like Slack), modern applications help dealerships work smarter, not harder, to accelerate lead conversions and sales.

By embracing these technologies, dealerships can learn more about shopper’s behavior and use this insight to engage prospects in more meaningful ways, which can have a real impact on the bottom line.

Social Media and Reputation

Over the last several years, social media has become an important part of the marketing mix, including reputation management. Seamless integration with Facebook Marketplace allows dealerships to expand their reach to get more listings in front of interested buyers and capture leads from anywhere, straight inside the CRM.

Reputation is everything. Building a solid online reputation is vital for dealerships to ensure they are trending in the right direction and keeping customers happy. Automated review requests and car buying experience postings help expand a dealership’s reach even further.

Immersive Experience

As digital retailing tools evolve and continue to provide an effective method to submit lower-funnel leads, dealerships can provide a much more cohesive, omnichannel experience.

Some modern CRMs have moved toward a blended, more immersive approach using live video streaming so dealerships can provide off-site customers a virtual showroom experience. This can include vehicle walkarounds, virtual test drives and begin the F&I process and much more.

Make it Happen

One thing’s certain. If you want to stand out in a crowded, competitive space, then you’ll want to focus on the next-generation CRM software designed with automotive in mind.

Click here for more information or download the full Ebook.

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