Article

The Skyland eCRM Experience: No Strategy Is Complete Without The Right Tools and Marketing

March 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Daymond Decker - Also by this author

You may have heard the old adage: behind every successful man, there is a good woman. Dick Seidenspinner, General Manager, Skyland Automotive agrees whole-heartedly but in his case it’s two women. Skyland Automotive Owner John Parker and Seidenspinner know a good thing when they see it. With a new digital marketing strategy in place, the newly developed business development center at Skyland Automotive in Asheville, N.C., is thriving under the direction of colleagues Libby Glenn and Anita Hollar.

“We have been having an awesome amount of hits to our site – about 1,600 unique visitors per month generating up to 350 leads,” explained Glenn, the Internet sales coordinator, who receives and processes the Internet leads. Assistant BDC Director Hollar works diligently pulling analytical reports on working and dormant leads, scheduling daily work plans, and leasing.

Skyland Chrysler Jeep Mercedes Mitsubishi Mazda has been serving the needs of North Carolina for over 70 years, providing customers with a buying experience that consistently satisfies their needs and expectations. In the automotive world of CRM, the term “relationship” applies to all possible interactions between the customer and the dealership throughout the complete sales process. Let’s face it; the Internet has opened a whole new paradigm for building relationships, from sales to service. Who better to handle relationship building than a highly skilled team equipped with the incredible power of e-commerce and the Internet? A well-trained staff of Internet specialist is crucial to a successful BDC, but that’s only part of the marketing solution at Skyland.

In keeping with their high standard of customer service excellence and meet the growing needs and demands of their customers, Parker and Seidenspinner made the decision to invest in the future of the dealership online. On the advice of their DMS provider, Skyland partnered with BZ Results to design and implement a new digital marketing solution, complete with all the tools, training and automotive marketing expertise needed to take this multi-franchise dealership into the world of Internet marketing. Things haven’t been the same since. Nevertheless, no strategy is complete without the right tools and marketing technology.

The Virtual Dealership
The nucleus of the success of the BDC at Skyland is the technology and effectiveness of their new virtual dealership, www.SkylandAutomotive.com. “Our old site was kind of ordinary,” stated Glenn. “We now have a new high-impact virtual dealership that allows our customers not only to look at inventory, but to interact with it.” Through the benefit of technology, Skyland’s customers are able to take a spin on a multi-media enhanced virtual test drive, view and research inventory, and get immediate responses to any questions they may have.

All departments of the dealership are reaping the benefits of the new Web site. “Our virtual dealership is professional in appearance and gets the customer involved—from helping customers get pre-approved financing to getting values on trade-ins and much more.” added Glenn. Through the online credit applications, customers can enter information conveniently from the privacy of their home, cutting down on the amount of time that the customer needs to spend at the dealership. It also allows the Skyland staff to immediately present the customer with the right vehicle to meet their needs.

“We have a virtual service & parts department on our Web site where customers can schedule an appointment, buy parts or simply view our service menu. With our old Web site, customers were not able to figure out how to do this,” explained Hollar.

Marketing
Marketing the new site is a crucial ingredient to the success at Skyland. The dealership utilizes a combination of search engine optimization (SEO) and advanced search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns to achieve top placement on the most popular search engines. The women explained that customers can type in “Jeep Asheville” and easily find their top-ranking Web site. However, the marketing doesn’t stop there. Skyland markets the virtual dealership everywhere possible, including in seasonal and promotional campaigns. The duo added that the BDC utilizes, BuzzTrak, for e-mail marketing campaigns, sending out birthday cards and automated e-mails prior to and after the purchase—all with great customer feed back.
   
With www.SkylandAutomotive.com as their main lead generator, the highly interactive design of the site takes care of converting traffic into leads, making their process much easier with the help of their fully automated CRM system. When a lead comes in, it is automatically logged into the proper places, and contact is immediately attempted via e-mail and/or by phone. If the staff doesn’t contact the potential customer, the system reminds them and sends out follow-up e-mails, keeping Skyland in touch with the customer until an appointment is set.

With a 21 percent closing ratio on Web site leads generated, Skyland’s BDC staff does an incredible job setting appointments and satisfying customer expectations. If the appointment fails to show, Libby personally calls them to find out why and to reschedule. That information is then placed in the system and another e-mail is sent out to stay in touch with the customer. The automation helps them to stick to their commitments and to ensure that less people ‘fall through the cracks.’ The BDC is very effective with their CRM. “Our customers are pleased when we call to make sure they are happy with their experience at Skyland,” added Hollar.

The management and BDC team realizes that the Internet is the way of the future. Skyland is committed to being No. 1 by continuing to honor their mission to provide customers with a shopping, buying, service and ownership experience that consistently satisfies each individual's need and exceeds their expectations in a comfortable, supportive environment. In addition, the Skyland team makes sure that everyone is aware of their commitment to customers and the strong relationship between dealer and customer that the dealership is known for.

Vol 5, Issue 2

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