Internet Lead Management (continued)
Comparably, not using an ILM/CRM in today’s e-world is like using a bar of soap and a
wash board to do your laundry. An ILM/CRM is paramount in managing your classic and e-
business. Furthermore, e-business is morphing into day to day dealership classical business
and is more or less one in the same. Essentially, not utilizing an ILM/CRM is business suicide
and utilizing a poor ILM/CRM is like smoking unfiltered cigarettes, it is only a matter of time
before it takes you down.
    In the ancient world of 1995, when corporate e-mails did not exist, I used AOL to
    receive and work my leads. This was way before I even knew what Outlook was or for
    that matter, Microsoft.  AOL served its purpose, but it was really a less than desirable
    tool in truly connecting with my e-customers. In the ensuing years, as technology
    developed and the need for the functions of an ILM evolved, e-savvy dealers
    recognized that simply receiving e-mail requests and replying to them was not
    enough to sell cars online.
In the late 1990’s, I attended one of the country’s premier automotive sales trainer’s seminars. I asked him for Internet
sales tips. He replied, “What’s the Internet?” Today, that gentleman’s interactive presence is impressively upfront and
personal. The analogies are never ending in the utilization of Internet Lead Management / Customer Relation
Management. It further illustrates its importance.  Selling cars online without an ILM/CRM is the equivalent of walking
barefoot in a Wal-Mart parking lot, at noon, in August, in Phoenix. You can do it, but it is going to hurt like hell! More
pointedly, the same can be said for not utilizing a powerful and complete CRM.
Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved.
    An ILM does much more than receive leads from dealership web sites, third party lead providers and OEM
    sites. The truly outstanding ILM/CRM has actually evolved into a strategic selling weapon. The euphonic
    blessings of a great ILMT/CRM not only assist in selling vehicles online, but can sincerely move that prophetic
    sales needle that all dealers are straining their selling muscle to move.  

    Furthermore, today’s truly effective ILM/CRM maintain the ability to track customers from every angle and
    provides dealers the necessary tools to create and maintain lasting relationships with their customers. Utilizing
    automated e-mail follow-up, integrated email, video email, HTML Library’s, and interactive media messaging
    are only a few of the new directional lasers used to effectively reach today’s sophisticated car buyer.

    More succinctly, the ILM has morphed more congruently into a true one stop shop
    CRM tool. In essence, it takes the car selling process from the lot, to floor, to the tower,
    to the box, to delivery and then to follow up. Moreover, the telephony hybrids / e-mail
    innovation is surfacing as an e-mail and phone broadcast marketing system, all
    incorporated into one tool! The resounding affect of this one piece solution will go on
    to further the e-revolution that began in the mid 1990’s.

By Gilbert Chavez
E-Commerce Director/Planet Automotive
Gilbert has held the positions of E-Commerce Director, VP
Business Development, VP Operations, E-Marketing Director,
COO, General Manager, GSM and Internet/Fleet Manager.
Gilbert's expertise is in CRM, online campaigns, e-mail
marketing, BDC development and other managerial aspects
for dealer profitability. He is Currently E-Commerce Director for
Planet Automotive.
    Gaining and maintaining contact with prospective customers is the back bone of
    what every ILM/CRM must do.
    Moreover, it also acts as the main battle planning apparatus in attacking e-sales and prospecting
    to a dealer’s owner base. Their processes are constructed and formatted by and with an ILM/CRM
    and it can nail their processes down. Consequently, unlike the floor processes, they are in force
    and in place, even if the sales manager blows out.
The ILM fundamentals, like taking your leads from all sources, parsing them correctly, tying them to the lead
source, automated e-mail functionality, ROI calculating functionality, bulk e-mail capability, response time calculation,
and a wide variety of reporting functions, cannot be taken for granted. The dealership’s entire e-selling process is
determined by your ILM and its capability. I have said this before in print, but a dealer’s success and/or failure is
based on how well their ILM/CRM functions and of course who utilizes it. Additionally, dealership personnel must
grasp the tools of functionality immediately.
Getting dealership management focused on this incredible selling tool is difficult. Dealership management
focus on getting rides out today because that is how they get paid and that is how they keep their jobs. They don’t
have time to mess with high tech gadgetry; they have to sell cars now! However, it is the cut your nose off to spite
your face comparison.
    Instead of reinforcing failure they will enlighten themselves into a new realm of success by moving
    into a more modern sales theatre. The correlation between measured contacts and sales is a reality
    and not the hypothesized numbers that they get from their newspaper print rep or their advertising
    company.  That is why this technology scares the stuffing out of classic media companies.

    Preaching to the choir is easy when professing the gloried uses of Internet Lead Management /
    Customer Relation Management. As a kid I could only see Star Trek’s communicator as a fantasized
    appliance. Today that communicator is an extension of my hand; they call it a “Crack Berry.” The GPS
    device that I used to maneuver my company as a U.S. Army Infantry Company Commander, through
    the desert, fit into a large rucksack. Today, the same device, actually even better, would fit into the
    breast pocket of my BDU shirt.  The reality is that with ever increasing fervor the car business is going
    interactive and even just using the term “Internet Sales” is becoming outmoded. The progression of
    cable technology will bring our Internet, our phone, our TV, all into one box in our living rooms. Palm
    sized and smaller remotes will go with us everywhere that have multiple times the technology they
    currently possess. In reality, that is today, tomorrow’s destiny can only be imagined.
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