what is automotive CRM

The journey of a prospective car buyer rarely starts at the dealership. Automotive buyers usually do all their research online, ask friends and family for suggestions, compare prices, shortlist features, and more online. Visiting the dealership is way down the road.

But as a car dealership owner, how do you identify, engage with, and win the trust of your prospective buyers, even before you meet them?

The answer is simple: Automotive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

But, there is always a dilemma.

An automotive CRM helps you manage, track, and convert prospective buyers through efficient lead management processes.

In this article, we will highlight how can it help you improve your dealership operations and build a more productive sales team.

But first, let us look at the definition of an automotive CRM.

What is Automotive CRM?

Automotive CRM is a tool used to streamline sales and operations, manage teams, and align internal processes to bring in more revenue. It helps dealerships, OEMs, and garages build organized processes like regular follow-ups, service reminders, and automated nurturing of leads to help them sell cars better.

An auto dealership CRM also aids with complete inventory and supply chain management by centralizing sales conversations, customer interests, and updated SKUs. 

Marshall Lager Presents his views on Automotive CRM Marshall Lager, Research Principle at G2 also shared his views on the Automotive CRM.

He said, “Automotive CRM helps the organization to identify and follow up with prospects, record their preferences, provide warranty service, and maintain the relationship post-sale until the customer is ready to buy again.”

Marshall added, “Once a customer is in the CRM system, they are part of a sales process that is designed to fast-track likely buyers through the sales pipeline. It also continues to entice more reticent shoppers with occasional contacts and tailored special offers.

Using an automotive CRM, you can achieve:  

  • Higher operational efficiency 
  • Optimal usage of financial resources 
  • Better customer experiences 
  • Proficient sales teams

Let us look at why you should implement an automotive CRM system at your dealership

Why Should You Implement an Auto Dealership CRM System?

As mentioned earlier, the journey of a car buyer requires multiple touchpoints. There are several stakeholders involved to finally make that sale —right from inventory management and financing to after-sales support and servicing requests.

Your team needs to be equipped to manage these varying customers and prospects at all times. And that’s where this system comes into play:

1. Drive context-driven conversations

Your automotive CRM captures buyer inquiries and information to help the salesperson engage better.

For example, Danny is 35 years old, soon to-be-dad, and is looking to upgrade from his old sedan. Now, if Alan from the dealership can see all this information right on his screen—don’t you think he’ll be able to help Danny with the perfect suggestion?

If you said yes, then you now understand the power of an automotive CRM.

2. Reduce your response times

There might be multiple channels that help you generate inquiries for your dealership—social media, ads, website traffic, dealership listings, etc.

With an automotive CRM in place, you can automatically respond to each and every inquiry with an email, text, or through messaging apps.

This ensures none of the inquiries go unanswered. The automotive CRM software is able to qualify inquiries whom your salespeople can interact with first, thus improving conversion rates.

3. Nurture and re-engage inquiries

Not every inquiry that comes your way is ready to buy from you that moment. It might take them another 3-6 months to set the financials in place or get prepared to make that commitment.

Here’s when your automotive CRM will remind them of the top-service dealership by engaging and interacting with them at regular intervals.

Let’s go back to the example we talked about before. Since Alan from the dealership knew that Danny is a soon-to-be dad, he suggests him to buy an SUV instead of a sedan. Danny backed out from buying the car since it was slightly over-budget. But, 2 months later, the dealership had an on-going offer on the SUV model, and they sent a text to Danny saying –

“Hey Danny, we have a rebate of $4000 on the model XYA SUV. Would you like to schedule a test drive?”

And that’s how Danny upgraded from a sedan to an SUV.

4. Improve conversion rates

Your automotive CRM has all the information, conversation history, interactions, opportunity, drop-offs, and more mapped to every inquiry to your dealership.

Car dealership sales is a fast-moving environment with multiple touchpoints. If your CRM is too complex or too basic, sales guys end up playing with the system more than doing the actual selling job. This is where a connected system like LeadSquared helps.

Anthony Lopez, Managing Partner, DSR Leasing

You get the power to analyse data, train your teams, and automate repetitive tasks. With qualitative insights, you can predict and improve sales journeys. As a result, the inquiry-to-conversion ratio will improve significantly.

Let’s look at how the automotive CRM improves your dealership processes step-by-step.

Streamline Dealership Sales Process With Automotive CRM

Here’s how you can use an automotive CRM to streamline processes for your marketing, sales, and after-sales teams to work more productively.

Automotive CRM to increase sales.

Automotive CRM Processes In Action

1. Lead Capture

Automotive CRM captures leads for your dealership from all your channels. Be it your website, social media, advertisements, even from offline channels. This centralized lead capture automation helps you avoid lead leakage for your dealership.

2. Lead Tracking

The software tracks every visitor, their interests and how much time they spend on a particular page. Consequently, you know your website visitors as actual people, instead of just “traffic.”

3. Lead Segmentation and Distribution

Auto dealership CRM segments your leads based on your buyer’s interests, their location, their budget and then distributes them among your sales consultants. Your team receives a notification for the same.

This helps your sales consultants start the outreach process more quickly. 

4. Lead Scoring and Prioritization

In the background, the software will assign a lead score based on your prospect’s activity on the website. For instance, if they are seeing the pricing page, the lead score will be high. It will prioritize the lead accordingly.

This creates a streamlined sales process for your team and increases their efficiency.

5. Track Sales Conversation

For every lead, the software will track the entire sales conversation. It will then generate a report for the same. This report serves as a valuable input in understanding your leads.

It divulges exclusive opportunities for you to connect with your prospects, based on their specific interests. 

6. Dynamic Forms

In the first conversation, your sales team jots down every detail which helps them to understand your prospect’s expectations. Suppose, your prospect is interested in buying the Mercedes S Class. Your team will ask different questions to them when compared with someone who is looking for a lower-priced model.

Automotive CRM transforms this process into a targeted approach with dynamic forms. When the prospect shares his interests, the sales consultant will input it in the form. He will see only those questions that are formulated for that specific model.

It makes their work simpler and efficient. Now, sales consultants would not have to ask any questions that are unrelated to your prospect’s interest. This ensures that the team is working according to predefined parameters.

7. Multiple Follow-Ups

A successful sale requires multiple follow-ups. Your auto dealership CRM ensures that your team would not miss any of them. It alerts your team with notifications, emails and text messages.

With CRM, your team is well-connected to your leads for their entire journey.

8. Identify Up-sell and Cross-sell Opportunities

Post successful sale, you can also identify the cross-sell and up-sell possibilities. For example, if someone bought a car from your dealership. 

The auto dealership CRM will automatically notify the insurance team that they might be interested in buying insurance for the car.

9. Unified 360 Degree View

Since all these reports are integrated into Automotive CRM, you can easily track the complete buyer’s journey. This will help you in crafting future dealership marketing campaigns that can engage your prospects more effectively.

Now, let us magnify further.

Eliminate lead leakage with Automotive CRM   

Auto dealership CRM to capture leads

You capture many leads from your website, social media, events, and exhibitions.

In the conventional method, one of your employees assigns the lead to your showroom at the buyer’s location. Before assigning, he checks whether the car model is available there or not.

This is a tedious job and human error is always a possibility.

When thousands of leads are generated daily, manually assigning them is next to impossible. 

You might be wondering:

How can you ensure that there is no lead leakage?

Automotive CRM distributes your leads to different dealerships and showrooms automatically, based on your prospects’ interests, locations, and several other variables.

Simultaneously, the software creates tasks for your sales consultants. It informs them via text message, email and mobile app. This constantly keeps your team on their toes.

Which is great, isn’t it!

You can ensure that there are no such leads that are mishandled, or simply missed.

Your company can also view the overall reports of the leads that are assigned to different showrooms and dealerships in one place.

Intelligent Inquiry Distribution & Segmentation

Automotive CRM segment leads and distribute them

Segmenting and distributing your leads can be a real puzzler.

It is quite certain that you cannot use the same sales methods for all your leads.

Auto dealership CRM takes this burden off your chest. It converts more leads to opportunities with its targeted lead nurturing capabilities. 

Suppose, your prospect is interested in buying a car. You would engage him differently than someone who wants to buy a new part or an accessory.

After segmentation, Automotive CRM will distribute leads among your sales teams based on their availability, buyer’s interest, location, and several pre-decided parameters.

Now your sales team can loosen up and let the CRM worry about segmenting and distributing your leads.

Automotive CRM Captures 360-Degree Vehicle Buyer Interaction 

Auto dealership CRM captions all your interactions.

The software tracks every single activity and interaction with your prospects.

Phone calls, test rides, email or text interactions, or communication through any other channel – everything is tracked and recorded. You always know the status of the lead and direction of the conversation.

It provides you an excellent opportunity. It helps to move the conversation forward by understanding your prospect’s reactions.  

Understanding your prospect’s reaction is a small thing. But, small things are the ones that matter the most.

It allows you to connect with the emotions of your prospect and synchronize your methods accordingly.

Custom Lead Qualification & Prioritization

Automotive CRM customizes lead qualification

Next-gen automotive CRM examines every lead and assigns them a quality score. Your sales team can monitor this score and approach qualified lead first. 

With automatic prioritization, every effort from your sales team will have a higher possibility of conversion. 

You can define what a high-quality lead means to you (in terms of sources, car type, location of the prospect, etc.), and then prioritization happens accordingly.

Engaging high-quality leads will increase the probability of a successful sale. Now with a high conversion rate, your team would be brimming with confidence. You know it. A confident and efficient team is a boon for every business.

Field Sales Tracking With Mobile Automotive CRM

Auto dealership crm to track your field sales consultants

Now, let us say a person has shown interest in a certain model of a car. He wants a test drive. Your field sales consultant provides him a test drive but, the prospect did not buy the car. Why? What went wrong? 

Did he come for a test drive but was not engaged properly? How would you identify the problem, and put an end to it?

A completely mobile Automotive CRM addresses this problem in the most practical way! 

Salesperson can use the Automotive CRM app on their mobile. They can ensure that every inquiry is tracked and recorded. 

Let us take a situation.

A prospect has come in for a test drive. Now with his mobile Automotive CRM, the salesman checks in with the time and location.

GPS will then track the route of his drive and will finally note the end time. Your prospect’s digital signature and comments can also be uploaded to verify the ride.

Hence, the headquarter can easily track how many test drives were taken and how many were converted into sales.

If not converted to sales, what was the reason? Comments given by the prospects will be a solid answer to this. 

Now you can easily assess the areas that need to be improved and can increase your conversion rates accordingly.

Improved Opportunity Management & Revenue For Your Dealership

Identify opportunities for up-sales and cross-sales

Repeat sales are important – they give you high retention rates and CLV. You know this already. But, how do you actively increase them?

You do it with Signals.

Your next-gen automotive CRM would actively identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and alert your teams of the same.

Marshall Lager Presents his views on Automotive CRM Marshall shared a very interesting thought.

“A good car can last ten or twenty years, or even more, so why do consumers replace them every four or five years — or even more often? “

“New cars keep getting made and sold because of the power of marketing. That means coordinating campaigns in multiple channels to keep prospects coming in.”

The CRM Software notifies the sales team when there is a possibility of an upgrade. Salespeople can then engage the buyer and check whether they want to upgrade their vehicle.

Suppose, your team sells a vehicle. Now, Automotive CRM can also notify the insurance team to engage the buyer with various types of insurance. This is a cross-sell opportunity that you cannot miss.

Automotive CRM makes sure that you don’t miss it!

Automates service reminders to customers and consultants

Automotive CRM helps you maintain a long term relationship with your buyer

After a successful sale, it is important to maintain the trust of your buyer. This will help you to maintain a long term relationship and hence more opportunities will arise to make future sales.

You can maintain this relationship by engaging the buyer with vehicle maintenance schedules. Automotive CRM will notify the buyers with reminders of their upcoming servicing dates, automatically.

Your sales consultants will not have to call every customer for a service reminder. Now, if the service date is missed. CRM will alert the sales consultant to follow-up with the buyer and check the status.

Build better relationships with manufacturers, OEMs, and partners

An auto dealership CRM not only helps you enhance conversations with potential buyers, but also with manufacturers, OEMs, and other partners. Right from onboarding them to tracking inventory, leads, and referrals provided by them—everything can be maintained and managed on your CRM.

Run Marketing Communications on Auto-pilot

Whether it is confirming a test drive booking or sharing vehicle brochures with your prospective buyers, the auto dealership CRM can send out automated communications across multiple channels like email, WhatsApp, and text.

Improve conversion rates and response times by setting up robust marketing automation across various touchpoints in the buyer journey.

LeadSquared: An Automotive CRM Software to Achieve Higher Sales Efficiency

Improve the sales and operational processes for your car dealership with LeadSquared’s Automotive CRM Software. It will help you realize your ambition of getting high bookings and sales with a fraction of the effort that your teams are currently putting in all while keeping your prospects engaged and buyers happy.

An auto dealership CRM also gives you the ability to build custom processes that help you scale your business faster and with lesser breaks in the sales process.

We conduct sale events from time to time, where the number of leads becomes 2x and 3x. We have faced no problems with our sales processes even at that scale.

Vaibhav Ghiya, Senior Product Manager, Bikes24

Take your car dealership sales to the next level. Book a personalized demo here.


1. What do auto dealerships use CRM for?

Auto dealerships use a CRM to capture, manage, and track communications with prospective buyers, partners, and distributors. The CRM also helps them manage dealership inventory and run marketing campaigns to nurture buyers.

2. What are the benefits of an automotive CRM?

The benefits of an automotive CRM include –  
1. Drive more revenue and conversions 
2. Context-driven conversations 
3. Reduce prospect response times 
4. Nurture and re-engage with prospects

3. What to look for in an auto dealership CRM?

Here are a few must-have features in an automotive CRM for a dealership –  
1. Complete lead management system [inquiry capture to automated distribution] 
2. Marketing automation [omnichannel communication and drip campaigns] 
3. Inventory and partner management [Seamless partner and inventory onboarding and tracking] 
4. Advanced analytics [complete drill-down of team, channel, and dealership performance] 
You can look at how LeadSquared’s Automotive CRM helps you take your dealership to the next level.

Want to see LeadSquared in action?