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Opinion: Battle of the management systems - DMS v EMS

Mark Kelland, Dragon2000

Whether you are a large franchised dealership or a smaller independent garage, you probably have a DMS and/or Enquiry Management System (EMS) in place.

Most DMS can perform a whole range of tasks and are known throughout the motor trade industry as software that helps dealers manage their business more efficiently. In contrast, EMS are used by dealers to help make the most of all their leads, offering consistency and ensuring nothing is lost or overlooked, due to human error.

But have you ever wondered if you need two separate systems? Can you save time and money by having just one system?

In this ever increasing digital world, the key channels for leads are from websites, email and SMS, followed by traditional walk-in and telephone.  These leads need to be managed effectively to ensure a dealer stays ahead of the game.

A stand-alone EMS, enable dealers to effectively and efficiently manage all enquiries and requests electronically. EMS also gives quick and easy access to all enquiries and relevant information, including a record of all actions and interactions against an enquiry record, along with any attached documents.

A good EMS should effectively manage and convert sales leads, as well as manage ongoing customer relationships and staff performance. However, EMS simply can’t compete with the wealth of information a good DMS holds.

EMS rely on just dealing with new enquiries coming in, whereas DMS enables dealers to proactively target repeat business, from existing customers and uses the information held on prospects, customers’ current vehicles and popular vehicles, to make better buying decisions.

Having multiple systems means that staff are spending precious time re-keying information and this increases the potential for input errors. Having DMS as one point of data entry, means that data is only entered once. Having to update several systems can lead to data becoming out of sync as it relies on someone remembering to update it in more than one system.

DMS that are rolled in with EMS enable dealers to receive a new enquiry and log it as a prospect, including all their contact details and the source they came from. Dealers can view all prospective customers at a glance and access reports that can be generated on a daily basis to manage all contact activity, including follow-ups that are due and overdue; follow-ups that are completed; and any lost sales too.

Dealers may be using a DMS that doesn’t have a comprehensive CRM, or website integration, which has led them to look for a separate system to handle their enquiries. It would be far more cost effective and save sales staff a lot of time if those dealers looked to a DMS that offers all those features.

The DMS is the linchpin of a dealer’s business. Handling enquiries directly that come in from the dealers’ website, telephone and walk-in visits and being able to go through the prospect cycle to purchase, builds up the history of the customer.  This provides dealers with the opportunity to capture the servicing business and maintain the relationship with the customer, until they are ready to purchase their next car. Dealers should also be looking to DMS for finance expiry dates so customers can be targeted when they may be open to upgrading their car, placing them in the prospecting cycle once more.

Within a good DMS, customer or prospect interest on specific vehicles can be recorded against the vehicle stock records and this can influence future stock buying decisions.  Being able to record prospects’ and existing customers’ current vehicles as potential part exchanges, which can be appraised and valued within the DMS, enables dealers to match new enquiries to vehicles that could be sourced directly. Dealers can potentially line up deals, without having to stock the vehicle at all.

Dealers should look for a DMS that can manage enquiries from start to finish and that offers a robust CRM, allowing dealers to maintain relationships with prospects and their existing customers, to drive their repeat business.

Author: Mark Kelland, commercial manager, Dragon2000

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  • Justin Bieber - 23/08/2016 08:39

    This article is very weak and presumes a single DMS/EMS is possible. A lot of this is dependent on whether you are a single or multi manufacturer site. If you are a single site then a single, integrated application makes sense. If you are a multi site then you probably get given the manufacturer's DMS to use, so you end up with multi DMS and a single EMS to manage your contacts. Also, what if you only trade in second-hand cars, what solution do you recommend for this? Come on Tom, think it through next time.