With 2017 approaching, the NADA conference is upon us once again — this time to kick off its centennial year. The association’s story began in 1917 when 30 dealers traveled to the nation’s capital to persuade Congress not to impose a luxury tax on cars. They successfully argued that the automobile is a necessity of American life, not a luxury. From that group effort, NADA was born.
Since then, NADA has experienced many major milestones along a timeline dotted annually by its industry conference, a place where dealers discover great things for their businesses. As a software vendor, we work innumerable sleepless nights to deliver new innovations to dealers, and we love every minute of it. NADA breeds excitement, and I can’t think of a better platform on which the industry can geek out together on what we love. Thank you NADA for a hundred years of service.
That being said, what better time is there than now to analyze and audit our operational business models to expose cracks in the cement. We all are aware of the economic good times, but it is no reason slack off our operational tech stack. It’s important to conduct your preliminary research on what is viable for your business and what potentially could be replaced with a newer, more efficient model. After all, technology ultimately enables us to do everything in half the time, at least. Can you even imagine waiting more than 10 minutes for your Uber? Yikes. Thank you, technology, for feeding rocket fuel to my attention deficit disorder and giving me the illusion that I can accomplish way more than I can. Obviously, tech investment is a heavy expense — how do you truly know if you’re getting the best return on your investment? Try to using the following guidelines during your evaluation process:
What does customer health mean to your tech provider? What measures does it have in place to ensure you are getting out what you put in? Again, technology should play a big part in this one. Make sure your software as a service (SAAS) vendors have monitoring systems in place to gauge your health. You wouldn’t go into surgery without an EKG, so make sure they have automated solutions to proactively reach out to you before it’s too late. Antiquated organizations use manpower to gauge health, which is very time-consuming and reactive in nature. Your provider should be in the know upstream regarding your KPIs — not the other way around.
Damn kids these days. If they aren’t able to just pick up your software and quickly use it from any device, you probably should be looking for a better solution. Whether consumer-facing tech like your website or internal solutions, your software must be intuitive and easy. Ultimately, the workflows and interfaces you deploy to your staff, prospects, and customers deliver experience. It is a defining component of brand on any level that can pay dividends. Technology has exhausted our level of patience, so it’s your job to optimize your experience. Choose wisely.
True Business Need:
There’s a ton of really cool stuff out there that we’ll get a healthy dose of at NADA. Make sure you analyze whether something new will truly be impactful to your business. Make sure the sales rep isn’t more effective than the tool itself. Keep these things in mind when selecting outlying shiny nickels.
Integration — Does it integrate with your current operational software stack? Too many branches are linked to utilization issues, as you can imagine.
Organizational Buy-in — Is it something only you dig? Can you get everyone on-board?
Functionality — I know this seems silly, but does it work in your live production environment? A shiny nickel may appear amazing in controlled climates such as NADA, but you should ask for pilot references, pilot quantity, pilot length, QA process, and how many are on with your scenario. You get the picture.
Hopefully these high-level objectives can help you weed through the NADA technology maze. I can go on forever about this stuff. Make sure you come by the DealerSocket booth (#937 and #1137) to chat us up. We have a deep staff with an amazing collection of knowledge that can help you on your quest for efficiency.