Automation is the name of the game in auto dealerships these days. Most companies are on the lookout for the best auto dealer software around. There’s no question that running a car dealership entails a lot of odds and ends. One way that a business owner or manager can keep on top of things is to use a good management system. The question now is how to choose the right software for the business.
What Is an Auto Dealer Software and Why You Should Use it
Most people are probably more familiar with the term dealership management system (DMS). However, DMS and an auto dealer software are basically the same. They’re both management information systems (MIS) that were designed specifically for the automotive industry. An auto dealer management software has features that help run the day–to-day operations of a dealership, including sales, finance, inventory, parts, service and administration. It can even handle analytics and marketing tasks.
According to Perq, there are a number of auto dealer software that a car dealership can use. The more important ones deal with inventory managements and finances. Dealerships can also invest in a website building software and a marketing software.
How to Choose the Best Auto Dealer Software for Your Company
There’s no question that the success of your dealerships rests on your choice of an auto dealer software. Unfortunately, the amount of DMS software out in the market today can make picking the perfect one a daunting task. Luckily, there are several things you can look for that will narrow down your choices:
- Software Uses Flexible and Adaptive Technology.
At the rate that technology, software, and gadgets change these days, it’s a good idea to choose an auto dealer software that the company can use for at least a decade. This means that you have to set a clear vision of where your dealership is now and where it will be a few years down the road. Hopefully, that vision entails a bigger business. If that’s the case, then you should consider whether the software you’re eyeing can go mobile, has a sound security system or is cost-efficient.
The advent of portable devices means that customers use their smartphones and tablets more often. This entails that your system has to also be ready for these devices and the software you choose should have a mobile solution already integrated. Security is also one key feature that your DMS should have, preferably one that utilizes both virtual and physical security controls. Lastly, your chosen system should not require you to shell out a huge amount of additional storage, power upgrades, and maintenance. While an in-house system can be affordable, a company can save more money with a cloud-based one.
- It Boosts Sales and Increases Productivity.
All that state of the art technology won’t matter if your dealer software isn’t designed to help boost sales. When you compare auto dealer software, check which one has efficient integration, beginning to end processing and intelligent workflows that will give you more control, increased productivity, and more returns by the end of the fiscal year.
- Software System Works in Real Time.
It’s very important that your system operates in real-time, whether it’s the Service feature or Showroom. Dealerships need data to be instantly and accurately recorded, as it can mean the difference between a successful sale and a missed one. Plus, not only can accurate data minimize costs and mistakes, it can also have a positive impact on the company’s customer service index (CSI).
- It Consolidates Dealerships, Schedules and Price Guides.
One way to boost productivity and make your auto dealer software optimally work is through consolidation. The best DMS would integrate every facet of the dealership into one centralized system, thus negating the need for duplicate work or third party systems. For instance, a system that allows what was changed in Showroom to be automatically uploaded in Parts & System syncs various aspects of the business and minimizes inaccuracy. And make no mistake, this benefits the whole company, as management can easily control the system and employees can go about their daily tasks more efficiently.
This also means that, ideally, the software has a consolidated scheduling tool and service pricing guide. It will certainly make your dealership more productive and efficient if you opt for a software which has the scheduling tools and price guides already integrated into the system. Choose a system where your technicians and sales personnel can see all the information they need in just one glance. Whether it’s the customer’s name and number, service history or current prices. Not only will this greatly reduce the amount of time service employees would spend looking for the customer’s relevant information, but an integrated price guide would also provide accurate price estimates, enhance related sales and even make your techs look more professional.
- Provider Has Same Vision and Goals.
The success of any business partnership entails that both parties have the same vision and goals. The same goes when choosing the right auto dealer software provider. When making your pick, opt for a provider that acknowledges the challenges and opportunities the company would face and allows enough wiggle room to address these issues the way you want to. It’s also a good idea to check the provider’s current clients. Do you know any of the dealers or customers? Consider whether the service provider also has a strong, positive presence in the market.
Aside from that, take a closer look at who would control your data. Make sure that you have the say as to which third-party groups can have access to it. You should also look into the provider’s billing practice. Some service providers inundate clients with six to seven pages of bills to cover hidden fees and charges. Pick a company that can provide a simple and straightforward bill.
Don’t forget to check what kind of customer service support the DMS vendor will be giving. Your software supplier should also provide excellent customer service support. Check how many hours before you can get the technical help you need. What experience does the support personnel have? Ideally, you want the vendor’s staff to be familiar with the industry, so you won’t have to resort to long explanations when you require help.
- System Allows for Third Party Integration.
It’s crucial to find a software provider that has the experience and the know-how to integrate with other key industry solutions. This ability to cater to any needs outside the dealer management system is important, as you’ll never know what your business would require in the future. Maybe you will need to integrate with a system that enables quick car history verification, or maybe you need access to a Sales Highway lead management system. There are a lot of opportunities that might open up in the future so your software provider should be able to aid you in integrating with third party applications.
- Software Has User-Friendly Interface.
The best auto dealer software is one that’s easy to learn and doesn’t need a lot of codes and keystrokes to accomplish simple jobs. Look for a system that’s menu-driven, with functions designed in a logical manner. After all, you don’t want your employees to take weeks to master the software. Consider this rule of thumb – if the worker knows how to read, then he or she should be able to easily use the DMS.
How to Compare Auto Dealer Software
Choosing the right auto dealer software to use is hard enough; making the switch from an old software to a new one even more so. Regardless of which situation the company is in, the owner, general manager or controller will undoubtedly have to consider several key questions, like whether it’s more costly or if it will have the functions they require. Will the system require a server on-site or should the company opt for a web-based solution? Will the new software be compatible with the company’s other systems? Management would no doubt consider lease terms, the system interface, as well as the reporting capability.
One thing that will make things easier when comparing the different software is to get input from the management staff. Having all the managers from the different departments to sit through software demos and asking for their opinion will make the decision-making easier. Some managers might come up with crucial questions to ask the supplier while others can ascertain whether the features would really fit in their department or not. Plus, getting everyone on board with the idea of using a DMS will also become easier if they have a hand in the decision-making.
There are admittedly a huge number of auto dealer software out today. Narrowing down your options can be challenging, but it can be done. Just be patient and put in the time and effort to assess the technology, features, capabilities and partnership options of each software provider and you’ll soon find one that will fit your needs.
So are you ready to use a good auto dealer CRM software? If you are, go to CrowdReviews.com and check out our reviews of the best auto dealer software out in the market today.
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