Automotive, Education, Insights

How to Get the Best Auto Dealership Management System

By Alex Vorobiev - Mar 12, 2020

What does a good DMS (dealership management system) do for you? Well, we’ve come a long way from rudimentary Excel spreadsheets and confusing printouts. Today, the best dealership management software can unify disparate data from across your dealership – or even dealership group – into clear and useful dashboards or readouts.

For reference, here are nine of the best-known DMS providers:

• Reynolds & Reynolds
• Dealertrack
• CDK Global
• Auto/Mate
• Autosoft
• Dominion VUE DMS
• DealerBuilt
• PBS Systems
• Quorum

Okay, so maybe you already knew all that (but if you didn’t, we hope it was helpful). What you may not have known is exactly how
powerful a good DMS can be
, especially when implemented and utilized properly. A DMS isn’t just about consolidating your P&L or tracking your inventory; it’s about making even the most complex, confusing, and hidden data into simple and actionable insights. Are you getting that from your DMS?

To understand what you can and should expect from your dealership management solution, let’s look at five of the key features available to dealers today:

1. All-in-One Dealership Management System

Nobody should have to juggle multiple logins just to get through a single day at the dealership. The best DMS options use a single login portal to manage all the various functions they provide, which can and should include everything from parts & service management to sales prospecting capabilities and accounting integration. You’re more likely to use all the innovative functions if they’re readily accessible.

2. DMS Live Alerts

Good information is important, but it can’t help you if it arrives too late. Not only do premiere dealership management systems provide tailored and specific insights, but they can also push critical notifications and reports via messaging or even mobile app alerts. Make the right decisions at the right time.

3. Intelligent Dealership Reporting Tools

If a mountain of spreadsheets was all you needed to run your dealership, you wouldn’t need a dealership management system. Simply providing you with the numbers isn’t enough; a good DMS needs to analyze, interpret, and present your data in a way that allows for quick and intelligent decisions.

4. Mobile DMS Access

You aren’t always at your desk, but you always have your phone. The most advanced dealership management systems allow you to access your data through a mobile portal, meaning you can make critical decisions from your desk, your couch, or the top of a roller-coaster (if that’s your preference).

"Getting easy access to information is critical. A lot of systems make you jump through hoops and host all your data, which just adds more steps. Most of the industry run off those old MS-DOS programs, which are simply incompatible with many user portals and systems a dealer employee uses daily. That leads to a loss of efficiency, as data has to be manually entered in multiple systems. A good DMS should integrate with OEM portals, credit approval portals, etc.. The name of the game nowadays is transaction speed, and being held up with an archaic DMS could be the difference between making the sale and not."

Matt Moro | Former employee at PBS Systems and current Motoinsight client success manager

5. Open DMS Platform

This may be the most important feature for any software or system you implement at your dealership. Proper integration with third-party apps and software ensures that your DMS can keep getting more useful with time, and it leaves your options open for other kinds of digital tools down the road.

Even the best dealership management systems can’t handle everything your dealership needs. That’s where other solutions like website providers and digital retailing platforms come into play.

What’s digital retailing?

You know what a website is, and (we hope) you already have one for your dealership or group. You probably also have a DMS setup; a digital retailing platform is what connects those two. Look at it this way: your website gets buyers interested in the cars your dealership has to offer, and a DMS helps you track the sale and manage the related inventory. But what turns that online shopper into an in-store buyer?

READ: What is Digital Retailing, and How Will it Affect Your Dealership?

These days, it’s not enough simply to build a website and wait for leads to roll in. Car buyers are choosing their dealership before they ever arrive at your door, and this decision is based on your website. “Digital retailing” is the technology that turns your VDP into an online store. Shoppers can build a deal, save their progress, and bring it with them to your dealership.

By using a digital retailing tool to elevate your website, you’re effectively extending your in-store purchase process far out into the digital landscape, and engaging your customers earlier than your competition. More than that, you’re filling in the gap between your website and your dealership management system, creating a continuous experience for every car buyer.

You’re ready for the best DMS available, so why not fill it with awe-inspiring numbers? That’s what a digital retailing platform does for your dealership: more leads, better closing rates, and more sales.

Andrew Tai is the CEO and co-founder of Motoinsight, but his influence extends far beyond the company. A contributing columnist to The Globe and Mail and a prolific speaker, Andrew is a recognized authority on digital retailing within the automotive industry. Connect with him today to learn how your dealership is going to change, or see the future yourself at motoinsight.com.

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