The new solution is fundamentally redesigned and re-engineered for a faster, more flexible, and cohesive experience for dealers and their customers.
DALLAS, June 22, 2020 — DealerSocket, Inc., a leading SaaS provider to the automotive industry, today crossed another milestone in its drive to improve the clicks-to-bricks experience for dealers with the release of its next-generation Desking solution. Sporting more intuitive, easy-to-navigate workflows designed to prevent errors and reduce time to first pencil, the all-new Desking tool comes equipped with a robust calculations engine, flexible payment options, custom presentation capabilities, and seamlessly integrates with DealerSocket’s PrecisePrice digital retail solution.
The sleek new interface, which has been architected within DealerSocket’s award-winning CRM, gives the new Desking tool a uniform user experience with other DealerSocket solutions. The solution opens up a host of new opportunities to modernize a dealer’s road-to-the-sale process, and enhance save-a-deal and data-mining activities, CRM-generated campaigns, and remote deal-making.
“There are several critical storylines captured in this exciting launch of Desking. For DealerSocket, our next-gen Desking solution represents another critical step as we unify our suite of integrated solutions,” said Darren Harris, executive vice president and general manager of retail solutions at DealerSocket. “Then there’s what the tool can do for dealers from a clicks-to-bricks perspective. Yes, our new Desking solution allows dealers to reimagine their buying journey, but it also puts them in total control of just how far they want to go.”
The main advantage of DealerSocket’s new Desking tool is that it operates within the CRM as an in-app program, allowing dealers to seamlessly move between Desking and throughout the CRM to update a sales opportunity’s vehicle of interest, follow up with appointments, or send communications. That deep integration within DealerSocket’s CRM also means no pop-up windows for Desking and an efficient and easy process that begins with a single click on a sales opportunity to start desking a deal.
Once engaged, the Desking tool displays a calculations worksheet, customer details, and payment options on one screen. The latter views are collapsible when structuring deals using the calculations worksheet, which eliminates the need for mental math with smart fields within Desking that can calculate dollar value increases or decreases in MSRP, selling price, cash down, and rebates.
Users can then compare and present a variety of lease and finance options with different cash-down amounts, term lengths, and APRs, as well as view and adjust other deal influencers like doc fee, buy rate, and gross. Dealers can also take advantage of the following innovations:
- Deal History: Allows managers to desk multiple deals for a single customer without losing their work.
- Integrated Incentives: Locate and attach factory rates and rebates to a deal to meet a buyer’s desired monthly payment.
- Personalized Presentation: Allows dealers to customize which options to present to the customer and how.
“Especially in the digital environment, dealers need a platform that allows data to flow across a single ecosystem, and allows users to easily navigate software tools and features seamlessly,” said Alok Tyagi, DealerSocket’s chief product and technology officer. “Today’s release of our next-generation Desking tool represents another significant step toward delivering a simplified experience to our dealers, who now have a tool that allows them to create new opportunities.”
A case could be made that the most critical dealer tool throughout COVID-19 has been the CRM. So why isn’t it included in the digital-retailing discussion?
By Gregory Arroyo
It’s interesting how much attention the trade press has paid to digital retailing, especially when most dealers I talked to are quick to credit their CRM for helping them navigate this period of social distancing.
But I get it. The CRM isn’t the new shiny object like digital retailing is, and COVID-19 certainly reignited the digital-retail discussion. However, I challenge anyone to question the importance of appointment-setting during COVID-19, especially for dealerships located in markets where sales were limited to appointment-only. It’s an art that predates the CRM, but, thanks to that critical front-end tool, appointment-setting has become a science for some operations.
See, what often gets overlooked is just how often CRM providers update this critical tool. In DealerSocket’s case, the cadence is every two weeks. And the focus of late for DealerSocket is appointment-setting, with texting now a key component, thanks to dealer feedback.
Take the California dealership I spoke to in mid-April. Every internet lead received gets an initial opt-in text. If there’s no response within a few minutes, the following text message — one that garners a response 70% of the time — is sent: “We just received your internet request, and we have a few questions. Do you prefer a call or a text?”
By the way, that dealership logged 26,617 sent and received texts in March.
Then there’s Rashad Tillman, who manages a centralized BDC for a two-rooftop independent group in Southern California. With a keep-it-simple approach, he operates under the belief that a successful road to the sale requires five yeses from a customer. The use of DealerSocket’s SocketTalk texting tool usually accounts for two of those yeses, starting with the opt-in text.
“All we’re looking for is a reply. Once we get one, we’re in control,” Tillman says. And once a customer opt-in, the following text is sent: “We received your lead for the [make and model], which we have available. Do you have time today to test-drive the vehicle.”
“That usually results in a reply,” Tillman says. “I’ve been working with DealerSocket’s CRM for seven years now, and I figured out real early that texting is now the primary form of communication. So, we try to eliminate as much conversation as possible.”
In March, Tillman’s 20-member team sent and received 59,402 text messages through the CRM’s SocketTalk texting tool, with two members logging 2,900 sent and received texts for the month. Tillman notes that texting accounts for 80% of his department’s activity when working a lead, which is he says knowing how to configure DealerSocket’s CRM dashboard correctly is critical to making sure no opportunity falls through the cracks.
With DealerSocket’s CRM, managers don’t have to dig into the solution’s reporting tools to keep tabs on their team’s lead-handling activities. Merely creating a dashboard widget for web leads allows managers like Tillman to keep tabs on every opportunity and every text or email exchange. That’s where he says most managers go wrong. They have the talent and skills, but they resist to allow technology to augment their abilities.
In fact, the use of technology is how managers like Tillman are keeping their dealerships in the game when today’s car buyers are shopping more brands, more vehicles, and more dealerships than those car-buyer studies predicted they would four to five years ago. The latest data on that front comes from a study commissioned by Urban Science, which showed that the average car shopper is considering 2.6 brands, visits 2.5 dealerships, and submits, on average, three lead forms.
So, regardless of whether your BDC staffers or sales teams are selling appointments or demonstrating to customers a willingness to be shopped to win their business, converting a lead into an appointment requires a CRM-driven process that doesn’t end once the customer says “Yes.”
The best part of a CRM-driven appointment-setting process is you can automate every step of the way. In the case of DealerSocket, our CRM’s Campaign Manager allows you to assign your operation’s best word-tracks to a BDC staffer’s scheduled response to an inquiry, as well as automate appointment reminders, confirmation communications, and follow-up. Then there’s the CRM’s Business Rules automation tool, which allows managers to initiate activities such as vehicle prep and enrollment of customers into appropriate campaigns.
And that’s why I think the CRM needs to be included in the digital retailing discussion. Think about it: When the customer structures a deal through your website’s digital retail tool and submits the lead, guess where that opportunity lands? The question dealers need to answer is, what does the experience look like when it does.
Gregory Arroyo is the former editor of “F&I and Showroom” and “Auto Dealer Today” magazines. He now serves as senior manager of strategic content for DealerSocket. Email him at email@example.com.