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5 CRM, Mobile Tools to Consider

Digital tools are getting smarter, faster and easier to use. The magazine’s tech expert breaks down five new tools that could revolutionize the auto retail business.

June 2012, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Brian Pasch

There were several showstoppers on display at the 2012 NADA/ATD Convention & Expo, as well as at the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC) that preceded it. Choosing the best of the best is definitely a challenge, but I’ve been able to narrow down my list to five companies you need to keep your eye on.

These tech providers showcased tools that speak to a larger trend taking hold in the industry: the evolution of CRM tools and today’s mobile drive. These companies are also winners of the 2012 PCG Spotlight Award, which my firm hands out every year for innovative technology and services.

The CRM Effect

There are several reasons why it’s a good time to be a new player in the CRM field: First, your interface and core technology will be able to leverage the latest programming techniques, which are being influenced by Apple’s iOS. Second, Internet processes and workflows at dealerships have matured, which means dealers understand the benefits of data integration, modeling and proactive event triggers.

And when you consider that many CRM platforms are running on core technology that’s more than 10 years old, you can see why newcomers may have a distinct advantage for a window of time.

1. VinSolutions: Speaking of core technology, VinSolutions has been preaching the benefits of seamless, end-to-end data integration for quite some time. They earned their position as market leaders with a state-of-the-art CRM platform, but new competitors are entering the segment.

2. Dealer.com: This company is one of the new players to emerge in the CRM segment. Its platform, developed under the leadership of Alex Snyder, former director of e-commerce for the Checkered Flag Group, was born out of the need for iPad and smartphone integration. In fact, all of the company’s solutions are housed in one interface. Even better, Dealer.com’s platform allows users to access those tools through a single iPad or iPhone application. The full production version is expected to hit the market this year. The demo version I received was impressive. What caught my attention was the app’s ability to leverage Apple’s iOS gestures, which simply means you can control what appears on your screen with a touch, pinch or swipe.

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