Chris Stott, the founder and managing director of SalesMaster, tells AM why real-time data is crucial to running a connected dealership.
Are there still dealers who don’t see the merit of data?
I think dealers are definitely aware of the value in their data, it is just a very manual process to correlate relevant and accurate information at the right point.
When you look at new and used vehicles, demonstrators and courtesy cars, before you even entertain special offers and other incentives, there are so many data sources required to make decisions.
Having all the data at your fingertips is a game-changer. We see great engagement right across the business when on-boarding new customers. One of our dealer groups has already logged more than five million searches in SalesMaster to help them locate vehicles for customers.
How do you win new business?
The UK motor industry is definitely becoming more inventory-led, with increasing stock levels, and there’s a genuine appreciation for real-time and accurate stock information in a controlled platform, which can be shared across a dealer network – something, obviously, that cannot be achieved with spreadsheets.
We are able to present SalesMaster as a proven solution to maximise efficiency and boost sales. As a result, we are now seeing a significant increase in in-bound inquiries, and larger groups (such as Lookers and Inchcape) have adopted our system group-wide.
Does signing a major client, such as Inchcape, have an immediate impact on the number of inquiries about your products and services?
Definitely. Also, we are now providing divisional solutions to 80% of the AM100, which is in itself an endorsement of
the system. By default, the more exposure you have to the bigger groups means greater awareness among sales teams. There’s also a credibility factor. If you make a big group signing, that breeds its own message for the next discussion we have with another retailer.
What is the typical approach by a new customer? Would they, for instance, initially sign up to StockBook, then take FleetBase at a later stage?
As new vehicle stock is often shared between fleet and retail, we do see an overlap between those two products. If we on-board FleetBase within a
dealership, this usually creates an introduction to the retail division, where
we can demonstrate the benefits of StockBook – and vice versa.
How many dealers and manufacturers now use SalesMaster products?
From a dealer group prospective, more than 500 sites use our platform in the UK. We also have a direct relationship with Volkswagen Group, which implemented SalesMaster for multiple stock initiatives across its brands.
Your site suggests that most customers will compromise on their spec, rather than wait for a factory order. Do you think sales staff always make it clear that such a trade-off exists?
It’s really hard for sales teams to get to real-time stock information about which new vehicles are available for immediate delivery, so it is easy to revert to the default position of simply placing a factory order.
SalesMaster’s ‘smart search’ allows sales staff to easily filter for any vehicle attribute, including multiple factory options, colour, factory status and
dealership location. Staff can save the information, and the search will then run automatically every day, so they can get back in touch with the customer when the vehicle does become
What does the rest of 2019 and beyond hold for SalesMaster?
Later this year, we will introduce StockBookPro, providing an array of additional functions; including two-way DMS integration, enhanced data capabilities, advanced video and image integration, and a more powerful reporting
Naturally, we want to continue the scaling of our core offering, and reach out to more dealer groups and OEMs, but we will also be introducing new marketing and sales channels, to support our customer interactions with both media partners and leasing companies.
We are also celebrating our 10th birthday this year. We’ll be holding a series of social events with customers and staff, and also have several marketing and social media campaigns planned. Ian Halstead
- The AM magazine version of this article incorrectly published the picture of someone other than Chris Stott. We apologise to SalesMaster and Chris Stott for the error.