This year I attended the AED Summit and again spoke on the Topic of the Digital Dealership. Before going, I wrote in my last blog that I wanted to look at the impact of 2 influences on the equipment industry in my presentation. These influences are changing the landscape of the industry and all dealers need to plan for these changes. The first was the changing customer expectation of being able to work and communicate with their dealer through digital channels. This expectation has customers wanting to use websites, text messages, chat and others means to communicate, and the use of phone is almost dead. The second topic was the use of information in the dealership, specifically integration.
Information use at dealerships has been a long-standing topic of conversation, from print out reports to the use of metrics. Dealers collect lots of transactional data and turn it into reports and metrics. These metrics are presented to dealership team members who are supposed to use it to improve their performance and that of the dealership. Frankly, this is not an effective way to drive performance improvement in organizations.
Even fewer dealership go beyond metrics and reports by turning information into triggers (You can read more about triggers here). Triggers capture the information gathered in reports and metrics and create action. They either feed information into the right place for a person to take action, our automatically update systems.
But there is so much more data available outside our transactional systems……
At the AED Summit this year I had the pleasure of walking around the CONDEX and seeing how many information providers we have in the industry. Many companies collect information from the market and even from dealers to create large and valuable datasets for dealers to use in their business. These datasets include market sales pricing, rental rates, operating costs, auction values, finance costs and much more. This data can predict market trends create heat maps and guide decisions. During one of my many conversations with one of the companies we started reviewing their website. They told me dealers who subscribe come to their website to review data. So, I asked if anyone integrated the data. I was stunned to learn that not a single dealership customer, of theirs, pulled the data back into the dealership DMS or CRM.
Market data and so other sources of data have very limited value if they require you to log into a site and do manual searches or reviews. This way, the data’s value is defined only by the provider’s vision and presentation. Also, you can’t rethink what the data means and apply the analysis of the data to your day-to-day business operations or put it in the hands of people that it matters to.
In this case, the companies I talked to all have APIs available for integration. This means your existing systems can call a lot of data or a small amount of information and inject it into the right place. Here’s an example, in this screenshot from a DMS, we have a function used for setting the advertised price on machines going to the dealer’s websites or to some of the machinery advertising sites. By injecting live market pricing data into the screens, used by people in their daily activities, your team members can make better decisions. They are rewarded with better performance from their activities. The work required to get this integrated is usually small and is quickly paid back by the time saved looking this same data up on another website. Then the performance increases gained by being more accurate with your pricing is all profit.
Numerous other opportunities exist in our daily activities at the dealership. For example, market rental rates integration with the functions where users review and set Rental Rates in your platform. Even better, integrated where sales reps log their won and lost rental opportunities. What about Engagement data from email campaigns? Like data on opened campaigns integrated into your CRM so sales reps can see what their customers are viewing and interested in before they talk to the customer.
Today’s market leading dealership need to learn how to make use of the vast amount of information available to them. This information is more than nice to have or part of a quarterly review exercise. Leading dealers will optimize all their interactions and engagements by using the information available to them. These dealerships will be Digital Dealers, understanding the value of information, and in so doing get the most out of the huge amount of capital invested in their bricks and mortar operations.
Are you using the information you have available? Do you have an idea to explore? Connect with me on your preferred digital channel, even the phone.