I am currently needing advice with regards to CRM software for our dealership, we have something sort of close but very antiquated, that said, I thought that I understood the functionality of said software however I may have been sort of blind to it... My question(s) to you all is simple, for anybody using a CRM that they are happy with or would like to change a few things with their current software, please advise me on the following...

1-Integration with sales, service, and other departments (seamless functionality)

2-Ease of use for incoming/outgoing email, phone etc...(leads, follow-up etc..)

3-Smartphone friendly with regards to email response

4-A reasonable cost


I would really love for some input with regards to the above, tell me how it works..How does one use it? Pros/Cons etc etc.... Thank you

I am only in the infancy stage of building a case for the D.P of my store, so that he can see the benefits of said software... This is not an invitation for countless phone calls or sales reps from companies that offer CRM software to hammer me... Please advise me within this forum only!!!!!!

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@ Linn:  Good luck with that effort.  The cloud is here.  Higher Gear has tried, unsuccessfully, for many years to make the argument you are making.  If you manage to pull off a change of any significant size or direction away from cloud computing nationally in dealerships, I'll buy you and your SO dinner anywhere in Houston.  On me.

Like most things awry at dealerships, it's not the technology.  It's the process and mindset that are barriers to change and improvement.

Ok I am going to bed but I thought you should know that yes our dealers have acesss to Activity Reports from in the system and at the time of the hurricane several years ago we were only making use of one colocation. That experience opened our eyes so to speak. Our SOP has changed since then and will continue to be improved.


And in closing I thought you might enjoy a press release from last month. The only dealerships we would ever log into in front of another dealer would be ones that have given their permission for us to do so but as someone else pointed out on here it is much smarter to have a dummy site with dummy data.

January 18, 2012


You may have recently learned that many automotive vendors and independent third party marketers have built their business model around sharing/selling your customer information. Dealerships across the country have unwittingly allowed access to their customers' most sensitive information, including but not limited to: Name, address, email, VIN, contract rate and term, as well as aftermarket products purchased. These Trojan Horse tactics are a direct assault upon your customer base and ultimately the Blue-sky of your franchise.


Imagine a competitor across town, or a public dealer group that knows virtually everything about your customer. For example, they are aware that your customer is 16 months into a 60 month contract; paying 7% interest, purchasing service and gap products. How difficult would it be to target that customer for new backend products? How grateful will your customer be when those nice people call and save them $1,500 by selling them a warranty that you could have sold? They are aware that your customer's current payment is $325 per month, with only 5 payments remaining. How grateful will your customer be when those same nice people save them $25 per month on a brand new car that you could have sold?


We challenge you to take immediate action and review your existing agreements with any vendor with access to your customer information. Question your relationship with any CRM company, Inventory Management company or Third Party Lead Provider that states they have the authority to aggregate, share or sell your information to an affiliate or third party! You should "red-flag" statements within your agreements that are similar to this actual excerpt from a CRM vendor's current Dealer Agreement:


Customer hereby grants to   (Vendor XYZ) and its Affiliates a perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty-free,   irrevocable right and license (i) to use, copy, perform, display, distribute   and modify the Performance/Transaction Data in any manner or medium, now   known or hereafter developed, for 
  (Vendor XYZ) and its Affiliates' business purposes, and (ii) to prepare   statistical analyses based on such Performance/Transaction Data   ("Statistical Data"), which (Vendor XYZ) and its Affiliates may use   to improve their services and may combine with other similar data from other   customers and disseminate and otherwise use in aggregate form.


We want you to know that CAR-Research XRM has not, and will not, share, sell or trade your private customer data, short of a government subpoena, or with your consent. CAR-Research XRM guarantees that your data is safe and will only be used (in conjunction with your efforts) to help you sell cars!


In closing, your bottom line, and ultimately Blue-sky, is being impacted everyday that you elect to share your proprietary information with the world. Take action today and contact CAR-Research XRM to discuss our Data Safeguard Guarantee. For 17 years and counting, we are the Gold Standard in the CRM industry.


Patrick Kelly

President and COO

CAR-Research XRM



evel 3 Communications, Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) is a premier global provider of IP-based communications services to enterprise, content, government and wholesale customers. Over its reliable, scalable and secure network, Level 3 delivers integrated IP solutions, including converged, data, voice, video and managed solutions to help enable customers' growth and efficiency. Level 3 operates a unique global services platform anchored by owned fiber networks on three continents in more than 45 countries, connected by extensive undersea facilities.
Linn Boyd said:


No pissing contest, why not explain why you had ANY downtime when others didn't 1001 Texas, 1301 Fannin, Cyrus One along with others in Houston while yours did? Then you say the benefits of colocation, what about RAW access logs? You put this out there, then avoided them lets discuss them. Can your dealers see each time that your people have accessed your data, has it been audited by a qualified third party? 



Thomas Dean said:

Listen nobody needs a pissing contest here. This post was asking for help and you are way off subject. Besides Level 3 is not the cheap route and as I said they are a backbone to our countries internet. More than any other company why do think they were chosen by NBC and the NFL.

Level 3 Selected by NBC and NFL to Deliver Super Bowl XLVI in High Definition



I hope Andrew and all of the other dealers much success in the coming year.


Good night!

Linn Boyd said:


Ahhh.... Which hurricane was that? See I was living in Houston at that time. The problem is that car-research.com picked a poor facility to host their operations in, I can name many facilites that didn't have a single second of downtime in that hurricaine including the one that I used to OWN! What about Katrina and data centers in New Orleans that didn't have a second of downtime. I was involved in those as well! Had car-research.com or any of its dealers done more DD then they wouldn't have had the hours of down time for a restore because they could have used active-active configurations, and/or a correct datacenter. Rather than doing that the correct way car-research and their customers went the cheap route! 


dealertrack has a good crm but for inexpensive try Frazer computing Its awesome for a small dealership. Post cars to your website and any other website you want. Everything else is self explanatory the only thing to remember with all crms is junk in junk out!


As a salesperson, I have been using this system for a little over 4 years.  It works great for follow-up, and it is reasonably priced. I have shared it with other friends in auto industry that have implemented it has individual sales people, and others that have put it in place for the departments inside of their dealership.

Click Here for the Information Link:  Once you click on it, watch the short "products" video, it does a great job of explaining it; and it will also give you a free account to try it out so that you can see it work.

If you have any questions, feel welcome to get in touch with me directly, or contact me through dealer elite.

Tobias Sedillos



I worked at a Honda Store for 3 years and we used iMagiclab.  I enjoyed how easy it was to use, and how effective for followup it was.  We had it for emails, html emails, video embedding, webcam video insertions, text, email blasts, appointment ratios, direct calling straight from the crm....they also had an autopencil that would push to ADP and a mobile app.

Thank you for the post.

At Quest Motor Group we use a CRM system called Kerridge. Its full intergrated and has massively benefited our citroen dealer essex.



Andrew I don't know what these other guys are arguing about as I'm just now joining the conversation. But about four years ago I went to run the Internet dept of a local VW store (Steve White VW Audi) and we quickly became #1 in the Carolinas that year. eLeadCRM had a lot to do with our success and they were also center to our overall grosses increasing as well. There's a ton of other VW stores on eLead as well and I'd be glad to send you any references. To answer your original questions:

1) all completely integrated in all depts, was a big reason we switched

2) this is of course the heart of the tool... we lived in it all day every day with all forms of communication, including text

3) easily done via "pager alerts" that will stop the clock and reply from your smartphone through the system

4) absolutely also a big reason we chose eLead and the month-to-month no contract model.

5) this is the biggest question, of course hardest to answer without seeing it. basically it's pretty obvious the whole system was designed by car guys, not gearheads, and it works in our language. Desking, ILM, data mining, Service prospecting, it's all there and more.

Like I said I can get you some references, but for instance two of the biggest groups Asbury and Sonic are 100% eLead so that's saying something. Hope that helps.

Mr Kappler,

I wish it was as simple as pick one and move on.  I personally believe that you need demo several before you make your decision.  Most CRM companies offer the similar services.  The one that is right for you depends on the personality of your store.  Are you heavy internet?  Do you want to focus more on sales or service?  A lot of CRMs are way behind on service.  Do you have a focus on sub prime?  Be careful of companies that want you to pay for a bunch of training.  If it is that difficult to learn how will it be for new employees down the road?  One thing for sure, a good CRM will propel your business and make your people more efficient.   Switching is painful so take your time making the right choice for your store.  Promax, HigherGear, Elead, Vin Solutions are the some of the bigger names.

Do not pick a CRM tool without looking at VinSolutions. Look at their websites also. We have used Vin for 5 of our stores over the last year and could not be happier. Our site converts visitors to leads (not phone calls or map views) at over 6%. Industry average is about 3%. Now count Sales Calls only and we get around a 9% conversion. The CRM tool is easy to use and learn and they have everyday online live training. Customer support is great and I have never been on hold for support for over 5 minutes. They also provide mobile sites as well as a mobile CRM tool. I have used over 7 CRM tools in the past and like Vin the best.

Take a look at Votena.  I'm back in retail after 10 years of selling CRM to dealerships.  I represented Votenza and can attest that Votenza's customers are enthusiastic endorsers of the program.  Our dealerships use Votenza with great success (top 10 Jeep nationally, top 5 Mitsubishi nationally,  # 1 Certified pre owned in the country). Based on our store's volume and the nature of our business, our sales team isn't really CRM focused.  We rely on Votenza to do the work.  The president of Votenza is Jock Freese.  He's a good guy - give him a call 757-576-4100. 

I find it interesting that you are endorsing a company that you left after one year in frustration because their CRM product was so complex it could only be utilized at about 20% of it s capacity. You said it was so difficult that you almost had to have a service rep in the dealership fulltime.   How does that produce enthusiastic customers? That doesn’t sound “dealer friendly” to me.


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