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Let’s Move Forward with Technology That Works Together

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NADA is the “big show.” The even bigger show will be the end results you and your dealership deliver in 2022 when your entire organization functions as one, cohesive unit, delivering next-level consumer experiences that drive real results for your business. That’s our goal, and I know that many of you are looking ahead to this new year with ambition and hope that your business—your whole business—will thrive, together. And that hits home for me and my team, because, for us, the whole is, and should be, greater than the sum of its parts

When one part of your business struggles, it’s hard to move forward. You’ve probably seen it over the past two years: the remaining departments are often unable to make up the difference, although it feels like you’re at risk of falling behind. The progress of your star players goes unnoticed and, ultimately, your consumer experience suffers. We all know how it feels when disconnected technology slows our business down. That’s why Cox Automotive has worked tirelessly to connect disparate solutions and fuel each innovation with first-party consumer data that delivers something unique for the future. 

I have never been more excited than I am today preparing for the NADA Show this March 10-13, and to see all of Cox Automotive present its unique innovations. I know for a fact that these solutions will give your dealership the ability to turn data into more deals, generate more leads and maximize your fixed ops revenue. I see our solutions delivering the ability to completely streamline your operations

But, beyond the almost overwhelming individual innovations at this year’s NADA Show, I’m most impressed—and I believe you will be too—with how our solutions work together and the results that they drive—with up to 49% more deals won1 and $115K more monthly revenue per year.2  

It’s a new year, yes. But it’s been a long journey for our dealer partners. I know that many of you have been in too many business meetings where “wins” have been counted, only to be discounted against this or that shortcoming. Let’s take a look at how these connected innovations help sync up your marketing, sales, service, and operations departments for more wins, more capabilities, and next-level consumer experiences.  

Driving Next-Level Purchase Experiences 

Can connected technology drive home a better process for “driving home” your next new (or new to you) car? I believe it can, and there’s data to back it up. Buying a new car is an exciting experience. But there’s definitely room for improvement.  

Could 2022 be the year that Cox Automotive’s dealer partners take consumer experiences to the next level?  

We know there are auto retailers who still sell 100% traditionally and others moving towards the e-commerce, or 100% online, model. We believe the industry is nearing the end of the first phase of its digital transformation.  

At Cox Automotive, we see this as a challenge we’re eager to tackle. Enabling personalized, connected shopping and buying experiences are what drive us every day.   

An overwhelming 81% of consumers have expressed a desire to do at least part of their car purchase online, and consumer satisfaction with car buying has improved with digitization—reaching 72% in 2021.3 Yes, there’s still room to close the gaps that exist. And with a full suite of flexible, digital retailing tools, I know our partners can serve all shoppers on any path, anytime, anywhere.  

Setting the Stage for Premium Consumer Experiences 

A new year is always a time when we challenge our teams to think about big picture ideas, removing the boundaries that so often restrict us at year-end. When we imagine delivering premium experiences for our consumers, we start to envision those standout experiences that separate the winning dealerships from the stagnant ones.  

I believe that we’ve made some meaningful enhancements to our foundational tools this year that are going to make your dealership websites more intuitive, make your marketing more cohesive and effective, and, with Accelerate My Deal and Cox Automotive Digital Retailing, your deal workflows will run even smoother.  

I encourage you to think big also: Take a look at your vendors and ask hard questions. There’s no easy way around it. Are your vendors (us included) making your workflows easier? The right tools and the right data are critical to providing premium consumer experiences. A true, meaningful partnership with the right partner must be at the core of every business decision made this year.  

Looking Ahead to the Next Challenge 

With everything your business has been through in the past two years, there’s still the unknown looming ahead in 2022. Economic uncertainty, inventory shortages, and increased competition may still test your resources at every turn. And yet, your primary goal continues to be maximizing your efficiency in sales, marketing, fixed ops, and operations. The next “big one” could come at any moment, and if any one of those touchpoints falters, it will all fall in your consumer’s lap. It doesn’t go unnoticed by me or my team. And I know that flexible, reliable, connected solutions are the only surefire way to deliver the security your business needs. 

Many dealers look at a new year as an opportunity to implement technologies that promise to transform their business operations, overhaul processes, and drive higher sales and revenue. It can take a heavy toll on staff, your back office, and operations. I know, personally, from speaking to our partners that the past two years of quick pivots and digitization have taken a lot of work from every team member at your dealership. I also hear, from many of you, that you’re using more tools than ever to implement unique strategies across sales, marketing, inventory, accounting—which has only elongated the process for your buyers—in order to stay ahead of forecasted disruptions. 

I understand. Your success depends on efficiency gains from connected and coordinated systems. You deserve reliable connectivity between your best-in-class solutions. And you should be able to run your business your way.

Having a partner in your corner who understands your unique goals can protect your dealership from taking on unnecessary costs, improve operational efficiencies, pinpoint future bottlenecks, and help your staff get the most out of the technology. 

Having a flexible partner in your corner is not just a ”nice-to-have;” it’s essential.  

Looking at Data to Deliver Success 

Everything is connected and we’ve looked at a lot of connection points: marketing, the buying process, building premium experiences, and even surviving the next ”big one” through operational efficiency. But I would be remiss if we didn’t touch on data.  

As you define what success looks like for your sales team this year, we believe delivering next-level consumer experiences can only be achieved through integrated, data-driven technologies. The data doesn’t lie.  

Could a well-connected sales process result in higher performance from your sales team? According to one study, Up to 65% of sales reps’ time could be spent on non-revenue-generating activities.4 The reason? Siloed and difficult-to-use technologies overcomplicate their workflows, making simple tasks and processes inefficient. Certainly, the data indicates poor job satisfaction, but eventually, the customer satisfaction rate suffers as well—91% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase only after a positive customer service experience.5 

The good news is that our integrated technology solutions are backed by the power of Cox Automotive and exclusive, first-party behavioral data from Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, and Dealer.com. And with that rich data, your sales team can identify shoppers who are 15 times more likely to buy.6 Without data to deliver success, your sales team suffers—wasting both their time and the shoppers’.  

Improving the Service Experience with Innovations 

Lastly, we need to talk about your service experience. Why? There are $214 billion in service market share up for grabs this year.7 It’s a bit of an understatement to say expectations on your service experience have increased recently. So, too, have the pressures facing your team. And along with those expectations and pressures, your business is facing unprecedented staffing challenges, inventory challenges, and more.  

I know that with all these expectations on your team, you may be wondering where the silver lining is (if there still is one). And, I promise, there is. At Cox Automotive, we see huge opportunities for connecting your service department to profitability gains through fully integrated and comprehensive functionality.   

In fact, many dealers will profit this year through powerful, innovative technology that connects the entire service experience. I know that our connected solutions can and will deliver upon the increased expectations of your service department by delivering a full journey for your consumers that provides convenient appointment bookings, self-service check-in, online approvals, and payment solutions that your consumers are primed for.  

You already know how to deliver a great experience through your service lane. Now, through innovative technology solutions, you can connect with your consumers at each point of the process, boosting trust, operating with transparency, and, ultimately, earning more revenue for your business—up to $110 per repair order8

This year, achieving connectivity is possible through unrivaled, exclusive consumer data. It’s already happening.  

And when your marketing, sales, service, and operations are all in sync, you win.  

By Lori Wittman

Sources:  

1. Dealers with Xtime, VinSolutions, Dealer.com, and Dealertrack have an average lead close rate of 18.6% compared to industry average of 12.5% (amounts to 49% better lead close rate). All performance metrics based on dealers’ aggregated performance from 1/2019 – 8/2021. Dealer performance comes from VinConnect database. 

2. Dealers with Dealer.com, Xtime, VinSolutions, Dealertrack DMS and Autotrader generate 19% more leads per month and are seeing approximately $115k more in monthly revenue on average than other dealers. All performance metrics based on dealers’ aggregated performance from 1/2019 – 8/2021. Dealer performance comes from VinConnect database.  

3. 2021 Cox Automotive Digitization of End-to-End Retail Study 

4. Forbes, Why Sales Reps Spend Less Than 36% Of Time Selling (And Less Than 18% In CRM).  

5. Salesforce 4th Edition State of the Connected Customer 

6. VinSolutions Connect Automotive Intelligence Data predictions for 30 days prior to purchase in Aug 2020–Feb 2021  

7. 2021 Cox Automotive Service Industry Study 

8. Xtime Data Analyzed December 2019-November 2020. 

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