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The Cobalt Group Launches All-New Lead Manager Product

June 12, 2001

The Cobalt Group, a provider of e-business products and services to the automotive industry, on June 12 announced the launch of Lead Manager 2.0, a major upgrade to its customer relationship management (CRM) tool for automotive dealers.

Lead Manager 2.0 delivers a comprehensive set of new features designed specifically for automotive dealerships to help dealers efficiently manage all communications with their customers and prospects through a single Web-based application, according to Mike Martinez, vice president of marketing for The Cobalt Group.

"Cobalt's Lead Manager 2.0 is much more than a simple product upgrade; it's a complete overhaul that helps dealers better serve customers and improve closing ratios," Martinez said. "With the wide range of powerful new features in Lead Manager 2.0, dealers can improve their lead response times, track leads, ensure prompt and professional follow through with customers and prospects, and ultimately shorten the sales cycle."

According to Martinez, Lead Manager 2.0 can serve as a dealership's communications hub by empowering auto dealers to efficiently manage all communications through a single Web-based system. "Leads coming into the dealership over the Internet, by phone, or in person can be instantly assigned using new powerful rules-based and round robin lead distribution features," Martinez said.

Floor sales personnel, Internet managers, and parts and service staff can all utilize Lead Manager 2.0 through the Internet interface or have customer and prospect requests routed directly to their cell phone, other wireless devices, or e-mail. Lead Manager can be set up to automatically route leads to all dealership profit centers (new car sales, used car sales, parts, service, F&I) resulting in higher ROI (return on investment).

"Lead Manager 2.0 moves as fast as our sales department," said George Suggs, e-commerce director at Randy Hiley Mazda Volkswagen in Arlington, Texas. "It enables us to quickly handle our incoming leads from the phone, Internet, and walk-ins, and even work ahead to the next steps to help make sure we are following up with all our customers and prospects. It frees our sales personnel up to do what they do best -- sell cars."

Sales personnel can use Lead Manager 2.0 as their daily work planner to prioritize and handle sales opportunities quickly. Next action prompts, alerts to management and help functions ensure that leads will not fall through the cracks, according to Cobalt. "Lead Manager 2.0 can help build the foundation for long-term customer satisfaction and future marketing and sales campaigns by creating an integrated customer and prospect database," Martinez said.

With input from dealers and Cobalt's Dealer Advisory Board members, Lead Manager 2.0 has been enhanced with a number of powerful new dealer-driven improvements, according to The Cobalt Group:

-- Improved user interface reflects the way dealers do business.

-- Simple, intuitive main leads page provides daily work plan for sales staff.

-- Streamlined, one-click actions improve sales representatives' efficiency.

-- Immediate prompts to set the next action keep sales representatives on track.

-- Overall performance increase of more than 60 percent versus previous versions.

-- Dynamic rules-based and round-robin lead assignment functionality delivers the right lead to the person.

-- Alert capabilities enable dealership management to efficiently monitor all leads.

Dealers and manufacturers interested in Lead Manager 2.0 can find more information at www.motorplace.com or by calling 800/909-8244.

Cobalt has extended compulsory product upgrades to registered users of Lead Manager 1.6.

About The Cobalt Group

The Cobalt Group(TM), headquartered in Seattle, is a provider of e-business products and services designed to help automotive dealers and manufacturers manage their businesses online.

Cobalt's suite of e-business solutions includes Web services, Web site hosting, e-commerce applications, Internet-based customer relationship management applications, data management, and best practices training and consulting.

Nearly half of the nation's auto dealers use Cobalt's technology, including 8,950 Web services clients, and approximately 9,000 PartsVoice(R) (www.partsvoice.com) clients.

Cobalt's e-business products and services are endorsed by 14 automotive manufacturers and more than 50 of the 100 largest dealer groups in the United States. Cobalt is the only e-business provider endorsed by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

Cobalt operates MotorPlace.com(TM) (www.MotorPlace.com), an online business management and industry information resource for auto dealers. At MotorPlace.com, dealers utilize Cobalt tools to manage their Web sites, buy wholesale used vehicles through MotorPlace Auto Exchange, locate and market OEM parts through PartsVoice, purchase leads through Pick-or-Pass, and access industry information, news, events, and stock quotes.

Cobalt also operates DealerNet(R) (www.dealernet.com), one of the most widely visited consumer automotive information portals on the Web.

IntegraLink Corporation, a Cobalt company, is a provider of automotive data collection and reporting services to the automotive industry.

Cobalt has offices in Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Detroit, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; and Austin, Texas.

For more information, visit www.cobaltgroup.com or call 800/909-8244.

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