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Keith Latman Creates CRM Think Tank Sessions at iMagicLab

Keith Latman Creates CRM Think Tank Sessions at iMagicLab

Keith Latman and His iMagicLab Team Create Customer Relationship Management (CRM) “Think Tank” By Assembling Auto Industry Thought Leaders, Innovative Dealers, Experienced Development Team Catalysts and Extensive Resources to Craft the Future of Automotive CRM…

 

On Thursday June 13, 2013 in the early afternoon Sean V. Bradley and I left the DealerSynergy offices in Audubon, NJ and drove down to Baltimore to participate in an iMagicLab hosted event and meeting.  Sean and I had both received invitations without knowing about the other. I had been at DealerSynergy to record video clips for training sessions within the soon to be launched Automotive Digital Training Channel. Before anyone accuses Keith Latman of grandiose concepts, I will unashamedly describe what emerged at iMagicLab on Friday as a “CRM Think Tank” session…

 

The attendees were an impressive mix of advanced CRM “Success Story” car dealers, consultants, thought leaders and experienced CRM developers that had previously worked for iMagicLab competitors. Sean V. Bradley and i rarely get excited about the same things when it comes to dealer management software and applications, but in today’s case we both saw Keith open the doors to a barn with an “I’ll be damned if that ain’t an actual Unicorn in there” look on our faces as what iMagicLab has created with their upcoming launch of CRMsuite revealed itself to our harshly critical inspection…

The founder of iMagicLab, Keith Latman and I have some colorful.. ahem, “history” going back a few years. When I spoke to him about it, he told me that knowing i would be closely looking for “flies in the ointment” is one of the reasons why he invited me… Wanted to get some seriously non-ass-kissing feedback from someone who knows CRM app development who would poke and jab at what he is getting ready to launch…

The reality of what happened during the iMagicLab CRM Think Tank discussions was that Joe Webb took enough carefully aimed shots at Keith Latman’s assumptions and dealership work flows that I was able to focus my questions on identifying many of the incredible number of data sources, algorithms, and (for real) artificial intelligence capabilities feeding a series of dynamic real time action items to be executed by dealership employees. All of which is being served up in a modular GUI that will most certainly replace the overwhelming frustration created by typical (and dreaded) “Daily Work Plans”, which define each user’s core list of daily action items, and is generated by most of today’s current crop of CRM systems…

I almost HATE to admit it, but Keith Latman and Chris Vitale got me more excited and eager to test drive the soon to be in limited release iMagicLab “CRMsuite” than I have been about any other CRM application in over ten years… At this point, getting me excited about the technical architecture of a CRM solution is nearly impossible, because our industry has been stuck in a CRM application rut for at least ten years!

What i saw on Friday was the iMagicLab team build out of a “CRMsuite” branded solution that delivers on Keith Latman’s radical new big data driven approach and system design. Every aspect of CRMsuite has the potential (if it actually works as shown) to provide digitally competent dealership teams with customer engagement capabilities far beyond what any other auto industry CRM development team has ever attempted to do… I believe that the iMagicLab CRMsuite may be capable of enabling dealers to deploy a radical new approach to customer engagement and communication.

The core activity generating engine appears to be designed to predict a series of communications and customer contact most likely to result in a sale based on empirical analysis of the customer’s information, activities and social signals. few observers may be willing to agree with me at this point, but i believe CRMsuite may trigger the equivalent of an arms race among automotive CRM developers and dealership suppliers.

The biggest caveat I sense are the questions around “can the iMagicLab team, led by Keith and his top managers sell, deliver, install and ramp dealers up on the CRMsuite at any significant levels of scale and dealer network penetration?”

I may be biased after 20 years of working on several CRM development, sales and implementation teams, but I see a lot of potential for dealer demand for CRMsuite to far exceed what the existing iMagicLab team has the ability to deliver and install… The limited sneak preview and deep architectural designs we saw at iMagicLab on Friday were THAT impressive!

Meet 3 Automotive Technology Professionals Leading the iMagicLab CRM Think Tank

Keith Latman | Chief Executive Officer

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Tom Harsha | President of Auto Division

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Chris Vitale | Vice President of Sales

via Keith Latman Creates CRM Think Tank Sessions at iMagicLab – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Automotive News Cites December Sales as Momentum Builder Going Into 2013

Automotive News Cites December Sales as Momentum Builder Going Into 2013

 

As most people know, or at least hear about whenever car sales are bad, the auto industry is “Cyclical” by nature. This is usually used to describe how the business of auto sales are often subject to the ups and downs of various economic and systemic pressures…

Usually, we hear about the cyclical nature of the car business when it is used to describe problems.  Welcome to the part of being in a cyclical business that is exhilarating; the ride back up!  Of course I know we have been on the upside for at least two years now, but for the first time since the recovery started we are seeing VERY STRONG action on the part of consumers.  With many economists calling for over 15 million new vehicles to be sold in 2013 and used vehicles at record demand levels, it is simply a GREAT TIME to be in the car business.

I wanted to share some excerpts from Jesse Snyder’s article in Automotive News where the case is made for activity in December generating sales and demand momentum going into 2013.  Combined with the normal spring and summer hot selling seasons, I have little reservation that many dealerships will be setting all sorts of sales and profit records during the first half of 2013.

So, it is time to put on your selling shoes and get ready to improve productivity on the part of yourself and your team.  Most dealerships are still staffed at recession levels for their customer facing and support teams.  This is not going to work. For dealers, if you want to get your market share when total sales are rising, your sales team has to generate more business.  This market is going to reward the dealers who build up there sales and support teams with additional market share.  For the dealers who do not act like entrepreneurs by anticipating and building out to their staffing needs IN ADVANCE based on a 16 million SARS, they are going to be left in the dust by those who do.

Take a look at Snyder’s article excerpts below and start making plans to build out your organizations and their staffing levels so you can handle more sales and profits.  the ROI on properly trained employees is never better than when we are in the upward trending part of the auto industry’s cyclical patterns.

Automotive News cites strong December sales as building momentum for 2013

  – Excerpt from Automotive News article
The U.S. seasonally adjusted annual sales rate was 15.4 million, the second straight month above 15 million and a performance that created momentum for 2013.

A strong December helped push 2012 U.S. light-vehicle sales to 14.5 million units, up 13 percent from 2011 and the highest volume in five years.

Automakers sold 1.4 million cars and light trucks in December, 9 percent above a strong year-earlier performance. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate was 15.4 million, the second straight month above 15 million and a performance that created momentum for 2013. The spoils were shared unequally. Volkswagen Group continued to surge as its namesake brand posted a 35 percent gain, also finishing the year up 35 percent.

The two biggest automakers, General Motors and Ford, lost market share with their single-digit percentage gains for the month and the year. Japanese rivals Toyota and Honda scored the biggest share gains. And Honda’s Acura brand dealt a prestige blow to GM’s Cadillac.

Although he doesn’t expect 2013 to match the double-digit gains of the past three years, Toyota Motor Sales President Jim Lentz said low-cost financing, fresh products and U.S. population growth will keep the industry going.

“We see continued economic stability [this] year with modest growth,” he said. “We expect the auto industry to remain at the forefront of an improving economy.”

Jesse Toprak, vice president of TrueCar.com, also expects 2013 auto sales to hit 15.5 million, a 7 percent gain.

“December finished a year of very healthy recovery on a high note,” he said. “As long as the financial markets are steady, auto sales will be OK.”

Some of the highlights:

Boosting volume but losing share

In a strong market like 2012’s, it’s hard to match the overall industry’s 13 percent growth. The eight biggest automakers all posted higher sales in 2012, but only four gained market share.

The market share winners: Toyota Motor Sales, up 1.5 share points; American Honda, 0.8 point; Chrysler Group, 0.7 point; and Volkswagen Group of America, 0.5.

The biggest share losers in 2012 were General Motors, down 1.7 share points, and Ford Motor Co., off 1.3 share points. Nissan North America lost 0.3 of a share point, and capacity-constrained Hyundai-Kia Automotive fell 0.2 of a point, ending its string of U.S. gains.

Two-year share reversals

But over a two-year period, comparing 2012 to 2010, four automakers show a reversal of form. Last year both Toyota and Honda regained share they had lost after natural disasters in 2011, but they’re not back to normal. Over two years, both are down 0.8 of a share point.

And while Hyundai-Kia and Nissan lost share last year, they’re up compared with 2010.

BMW tops Mercedes in luxury race

With an aggressive lease pull-ahead program, BMW brand handily outsold Mercedes-Benz in December, wining its second straight U.S. luxury brand title.

In 2012, BMW sold 281,460 light vehicles and Mercedes-Benz 274,084 (excluding Sprinter commercial vans). A year ago it was BMW by 2,715 units.

Lexus, the best-selling U.S. luxury brand from 2000 to 2010, boosted 2012 sales 23 percent but again finished third with 244,166 units.

Acura outsells Cadillac

Acura moved to fourth place in U.S. luxury sales with a 27 percent gain in 2012, dropping Cadillac one spot to No. 5 as its volume fell 2 percent.

Luxury segment sales rose 13 percent to 1.6 million in 2012. The smaller luxury brands kept the same positions as in 2011: in order after No. 6 Audi were Infiniti, Lincoln, Volvo, Land Rover, Porsche and Jaguar.

Camaro tops Mustang

In a pony car shootout, the Chevrolet Camaro outsold the Ford Mustang by 1,396 units. The tally: Camaro, 84,391, Mustang 82,995. In 2011, the Camaro won by almost 18,000, but its volume fell 4 percent last year, while Mustang sales jumped 18 percent.

Subaru, Mazda up, Mitsubishi down

Subaru of America posted a 9 percent December gain and finished the year up 26 percent higher. Lower-volume Mazda surged 22 percent in the final month to push its 2012 total up 11 percent to 277,046 units.

But Mitsubishi was off 18 percent in December and 27 percent for the year.

Volvo ekes out a 2012 gain

Volvo Cars North America finished the year up 1 percent with 68,117 sales – with all but 69 of the 877 unit increase coming in December.

F series, Camry are top truck, car

Best-selling U.S. truck: it’s the Ford F series again. On the car side, it’s the Toyota Camry, again. Both enjoyed healthy gains: Sales of the F series jumped 10 percent to 645,316; the Camry soared 31 percent to 404,888.

Another silver for Silverado

Chevrolet’s Silverado pickup, meanwhile, held on to its rank as No. 2 seller among all vehicles, thanks to a late surge. After trailing through 11 months, the Silverado recorded 50,699 December sales to 31,407 for the Camry. That was worth a silver, at 418,312 for the year.

You can reach Jesse Snyder at jsnyder@crain.com.

Read more at the source: www.autonews.com/article/RETAIL
Winners and Losers
% change in sales among major brands from Dec. 2012
Winners Dec. Winners 12 mos. Losers Dec. Losers 12 mos.
1 Porsche 61% Fiat 121% Mitsubishi -18% Mitsubishi -27%
2 Fiat 59% Smart 92% Lincoln -12% Lincoln -4%
3 Smart 40% Scion 49% Kia -10% Jaguar -2%
4 BMW division 39% Chrysler Division 39% Jeep -9% Cadillac -2%
5 Volkswagen division 35% Volkswagen division 35% Jaguar -8%
Top selling light vehicles

    Dec.   2012
1 Ford F series 68,787 Ford F series 645,316
2 Chevrolet Silverado 50,699 Chevrolet Silverado 418,312
3 Honda Civic 33,118 Toyota Camry 404,886
4 Toyota Camry 31,407 Honda Accord 331,872
5 Ram 30,211 Honda Civic 317,909
6 Honda Accord 29,428 Nissan Altima 302,934
7 Honda CR-V 25,733 Ram 293,363
8 Toyota Corolla/Matrix 24,679 Toyota Corolla/Matrix 290,947
9 Nissan Altima 23,966 Honda CR-V 281,652
10 Ford Focus 22,604 Ford Escape 261,008

Top selling cars

    Dec.   2012
1 Honda Civic 33,118 Toyota Camry 404,886
2 Toyota Camry 31,407 Honda Accord 331,872
3 Honda Accord 29,428 Honda Civic 317,909
4 Toyota Corolla/Matrix 24,679 Nissan Altima 302,934
5 Nissan Altima 23,966 Toyota Corolla/Matrix 290,947
6 Ford Focus 22,604 Ford Focus 245,922
7 Chevrolet Cruze 21,230 Ford Fusion 241,263
8 Hyundai Sonata 20,826 Chevrolet Cruze 237,758
9 Toyota Prius 20,040 Toyota Prius 236,659
10 Ford Fusion 19,283 Hyundai Sonata 230,605

Top selling light trucks

    Dec.   2012
1 Ford F series 68,787 Ford F series 645,316
2 Chevrolet Silverado 50,699 Chevrolet Silverado 418,312
3 Ram 30,211 Ram 293,363
4 Honda CR-V 25,733 Honda CR-V 281,652
5 Ford Escape 20,131 Ford Escape 261,008
6 Chevrolet Equinox 19,551 Chevrolet Equinox 218,621
7 GMC Sierra 18,710 Toyota RAV4 171,877
8 Ford Explorer 17,244 Ford Explorer 164,207
9 Jeep Grand Cherokee 17,121 GMC Sierra 157,185
10 Toyota RAV4 14,351 Jeep Grand Cherokee 154,734

Source: All data shown is provided by Automotive News

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

5 Tips To Grow Your Business by Grant Cardone – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

5 Tips To Grow Your Business by Grant Cardone

Whether you are a salesperson in a car dealership, a supplier to the auto industry or consultant, Grant’s guidance is relevant and key to your success and ongoing survival.  This video is definitely a recommended “watch” and a great use of 3 minutes and 19 seconds of your mental focus and attention!

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Bankruptcy Good for Auto Industry per TrueCar’s Scott Painter – Automotive Marketing

Bankruptcy Good for Auto Industry – TrueCar’s Scott Painter 

Many thanks to Rob Fontano for the YouTube link to Scott Painter’s interview by Bimbo, er, Bambi Francisco (me bad).  I am sorry, Bambi, but when you try to add color commentary about the auto industry, as if you know something about it, you sound like an idiot.  Now, I am certain Bambi has never sold cars for a living, but HAS SHE EVER ACTUALLY PURCHASED A VEHICLE?

Because, her inane commentary indicate complete auto industry ignorance at a level that makes her unqualified to interview somebody like Scott Painter.

via  Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

TrueCar – Banned YouTube Video

TrueCar – Banned YouTube Video

WARNING: This is the same video that TrueCar forced YouTube to delete in their attempt to squash the message it contains… Watch this clip while you still can and before the army of attorneys that TrueCar uses to suppress America’s Free Speech constitutional rights are successful in their “Mob Enforcer” style of witness suppression yet again!

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

The 5 WORST Questions to Ask a Phone Up

The 5 WORST Questions to Ask a Phone Up

Melissa Roberts, has written a great article that will help all of us to stop making the mistakes that cost dealerships a lot of money in lost sales and service profits from not handling phone calls properly.  Sometimes, knowing what NOT TO ASK can be as, or more important than knowing what to ask.  Too many people in dealerships are fumbling these opportunities to do business that come through the phone.  As a marketer, it pains me to see so much interest from customers get driven away from people saying the wrong things, and asking inappropriate questions when people call the dealership.  Check out the entire article with the 5 things you should never ask people over the phone by using the links provided…

via The 5 WORST Questions to Ask a Phone Up – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Is The Road to the Sale Obsolete? by Jim Ziegler

Is The Road to the Sale Obsolete? by Jim Ziegler

Jim Ziegler: “Average People with great processes will produce incredible results.”  You can’t manage a high-production dealership with an army of ‘Prima-Donnas’ all doing their own thing without structure or management. Use the link provided to read Jim Ziegler’s article and post a comment for Jim to read…

 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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