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How car dealer CRM puts you in the fast lane

Car dealer CRMs help dealers understand their customers so they can provide great customer experiences. Automate workflows, analyse data and close more deals.

How car dealer CRM puts you in the driver’s seat

Last updated January 18, 2023

An AutoTrader study found that 72 per cent of people find it appealing to buy their next vehicle exclusively online. The sales process may be changing but no matter what route customers choose, they always expect a seamless sales experience and great service.

Many dealerships have dealer management systems (DMS) in place, which are great for managing inventory and deals—less so for customers. But that’s where CRM software comes in.

A car dealer CRM is an organised system that allows dealerships to track leads, simplify processes, and manage customer interactions. But just like buying a car, deciding to implement a CRM is a big decision. So let’s look at some of the key benefits to help you decide.

Drive sales

73 per cent of leaders say there’s a direct link between their customer service and business performance, according to Zendesk’s CX Trends Report 2022. More than enough reason to shift your customer service up a gear.


CRM systems take the stress out of tracking customer interactions by centralising your customer, sales, and lead data. They keep everything organised, secure, and easy to access, which is exactly what you need to provide great customer experiences. Check customer contact details, purchase history, and service records at any time and never worry about losing sensitive information again.

You can also use your CRM to track leads and sales across all channels, e.g. online, over the phone, or walk-ins. View sales conversations and plan customer interactions in record time, and follow every deal from start to finish—all in your CRM. And why not make your life even easier by linking documents to specific customer profiles and segmenting leads based on what vehicles they’re interested in.


CRM dashboards are a lot like car dashboards: they’re full of useful information presented in a visual and easy-to-understand way. The difference is that car dashboards help you understand your car, whereas CRM dashboards help you understand both your customers and your performance.

Put simply, dashboards turn data into doing. They help you analyse customer data to gain useful insights like cross-selling opportunities. Use them to track important KPIs like inventory ratio and price to market to ensure your dealership is running smoothly. And don’t forget to harness real-time analytics and customisable reports for data-driven decisions.


CRMs give you all the comfort of an automatic. They can send out automated marketing messages like appointment reminders and special offers, automatically assign leads, and create follow-ups. Automating your marketing ensures not only that you send the right messages at the right time, but also that you’re not missing out on any sales. You can even generate quotes, create invoices, and record payments all within your car dealer CRM.

CRMs help you create targeted marketing campaigns based on analytics and customer data. But you can also take things further by tailoring your communications to different customers and customer segments, e.g. van buyers. This kind of personalisation is great for customer satisfaction and can help you close more deals.

Boost your service

Zendesk’s CX Trends Report 2022 reveals that 70 per cent of consumers make purchase decisions based on the quality of customer service they receive—a bootful of potential sales.


When it comes to dealerships, speed is king. The faster you can respond to leads, the more likely a potential deal. Fortunately, speed is CRM’s forte and automatic responses allow you to reply to potential customers immediately. Automating tasks also makes life a whole lot easier for your team by minimising clicks and streamlining workflows. So they can send emails, manage leads, and help customers find their perfect vehicle faster than ever before.

A CRM also makes it easy to see how your sales agents are performing. Cold, hard data helps create a culture of accountability. Plus, agent metrics can help keep everyone motivated. And don’t forget: CRMs make it possible for teams to collaborate from anywhere and on any device—a huge benefit when managing stock or dealing with customers on the forecourt.


CRMs help dealerships provide personalised customer experiences thanks to data-driven insights and customer-centric workflows. In practice, this means communicating with customers across all channels, e.g. email, social media, and chat. It means scheduling test drives in shorter times and sending automatic confirmation emails to potential customers. And it means more organised vehicle documentation and smoother vehicle handovers.

A CRM also makes it easier for you to keep your inventory and site fully up to date, so would-be customers can browse all your vehicles before they visit your dealership. What’s more, CRM tools help take the guesswork out of getting great reviews by collecting and analysing feedback. Because drawing on customer reviews helps you understand exactly what customers want and where you can improve.


CRM systems make it quick and easy to communicate with customers—anytime and anywhere. Your CRM can send automated reminders to customers about renewing insurance, servicing, appointments, etc. Your agents then receive notifications to follow up on these messages, and you can track how things are moving along. This helps reduce errors and ensures that nothing gets overlooked.

Your car dealer CRM tracks customer touchpoints across all channels to keep you in the driving seat. Regular interaction is vital for building trust, but personalised marketing is the premium model to keep customers engaged at every step along the sales journey. This means more sales and more happy customers.

That’s the theory, now let’s get to the practical. Here’s a great example of a company that used Zendesk to take control of its customer service.

Carsales case study

Carsales is Australia’s number one classified advertising network for cars, bikes, boats, and even farm machinery. The company has 15 unique brands and a customer service team of 90.

"The data and reporting have been absolutely critical. We couldn’t have done half of what we’ve been able to do without that data. It’s what drives change in our business."

In 2013, Carsales decided to centralise customer support for all its brands and customers.

The company used Zendesk Guide to create seven self-help centres with more than 700 articles. Carsales now sees just 200 tickets for every 6,000 keyword searches across all help centres. An incredible deflection rate of 30:1.

This freed up the team to focus on analytics and search for new ways to improve their service even further. Carsales now uses Zendesk to track key metrics like customer satisfaction and total time to resolution for even better support.

Read the full Carsales customer story

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