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Running a dealership is a complex operation. You need the right mix of people, strategy, and tools to make the machine run smoothly. When it comes to tools, few are more important to a dealership’s success than a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms
CRMs help dealers track and organize leads, deals, and customers. Whether someone calls, emails, or walks onto your lot, your CRM helps you follow up with a deal until it’s been closed. CRMs also remind you when to reach out to existing customers for follow-up appointments and upselling opportunities.
Dealers have a lot of options for CRM platforms. So many, in fact, that it can be hard to know where to start. We’re here to help.
In this guide, we’re going to compare two popular CRMs: Selly and DealerCenter.
Now, we’re obviously a little biased when it comes to which CRM is best for used car dealers. However, we will layout the following information as objectively as possible to help you make the right decision.
For more information about automotive CRMs, check out our Ultimate Guide.
Selly is an automotive CRM and Internet Lead Management (ILM) platform built specifically for used car dealers. We know that used car dealerships are very different from franchises, which is why we give you all the features you need—and none you don’t—for a fraction of the cost of competitors.
Selly empowers you and your salespeople to build strong relationships with prospects and customers. Never miss a follow-up task by setting reminders and automating email sequences. Selly also keeps you compliant with TCPA regulations by keeping all text messaging and voice calls on the platform and not in sales people’s personal phones.
DealerCenter is a conglomerate of dealership tools owned by West Lake Financial. Their suite includes CRM, DMS, Digital Marketing, and financing tools. All of DealerCenter’s products have positive reviews, but they try to be a closed ecosystem, meaning they don’t integrate with many other tools. For example, if you wanted to use their CRM but keep your favorite DMS, it would be impossible to do.
Let’s jump into the comparisons, starting with CRM features. For an even comparison, we’ll look exclusively at DealerCenter’s CRM - not their other tools. However, we will discuss the integrations for each platform.
Used car dealerships need a modern CRM that is cloud-based, mobile-optimized, and flexible for the unique needs of each dealer.
Let’s take a look at some of the key features used car dealerships should expect from their CRM and which ones Selly and Dealercenter bring to the table.
Selly’s CRM can be used across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices, and because it’s cloud-based, your team can seamlessly switch between whichever device is handy. Selly’s CRM also boasts impressive mobile functionality (which we’ll delve further into later) that’s made possible by this cloud-based functionality. Dealercenter’s CRM is cloud-based as well but is dependent on having their DMS.
Both CRMs feature industry-standard features like in-app calls and SMS text templates. They also allow you to record both inbound & outbound sales calls to help improve team training. These features not only help streamline interactions between you and your customers, but between your team members as well.
While Dealercenter’s CRM includes basic features like adding a fresh up, communication is an area where Selly’s CRM really shines. Customers can text you right from your website, and will also be automatically routed to the appropriate salesperson when they call your dealership.
Your dealership depends on internet lead providers like TrueCar and Autotrader to ensure your sales staff stays busy with fresh prospects. Fortunately, both Selly and Dealercenter’s CRMs include an intuitive dashboard that allows you to view key performance metrics from third-party lead providers in real-time. Selly’s lead analytics dashboard allows dealers to track: attribution, sales cycle length, and ROI not just from 3rd party lead providers but for other sources including off-line campaigns like mailers.
Email is one of the most important tools available to help maintain and strengthen your relationship with new and existing customers. Both Selly and Dealercenter’s CRMs let you set up automated email responses which help your team save time and ensure your customers receive a prompt response. They also give you the ability to create mass email lists and custom email workflows for your sales team.
We mentioned it earlier, but Dealercenter’s CRM has a helpful feature where you can create leads and customer profiles using caller id. This can be incredibly useful for your sales staff when they’re off the lot and need to save a customer’s information quickly.
Selly’s CRM includes a similar, but more robust patented feature called “Selly Notes Pop”. Dealers sometimes take calls on their personal phones, where they might not have the prospect’s information in front of them. If the phone number is in your Selly CRM, then Notes Pop will automatically pull up information on the deal, including name, vehicle interests, and notes from your last interaction.
As useful as your dealership’s CRM is on a desktop, you can bet that your sales team will be using the mobile version just as often, if not more. This is the feature where we see some of the biggest differences between Dealercenter and Selly’s CRM.
The mobile version of Dealercenter’s CRM includes driver’s license scanning, customizable notifications, in-app SMS and email messaging, and appointment management.
In comparison, Selly’s mobile CRM includes the same features plus in-app calls, language localization, and the Selly Notes Pop.
The onboarding process can make or break your dealership’s CRM implementation. Here’s the secret: Every implementation should be tailored to the unique needs of your dealership.
Selly’s CRM caters to the needs of dealerships, with training being no exception. Selly’s training is hands on and personalized for your dealership. They start with an activation call where an experienced CSM learns your dealership's processes. Afterwards, they train management and finally the sales team, done on separate calls. Lastly, the CSM will make sure your dealership is using Selly and getting the most out of your CRM investment.
Used car dealers need a CRM that helps you get your work done, not one that adds to your workload. The easier the CRM is to learn and use daily, the more likely your team will be to actually use it.
Dealercenter’s CRM is certainly easy to use, however, as just one of many products that they offer, their sole focus is not building a CRM but rather a suite of products.
Selly, on the other hand, offers a streamlined CRM without the range of extra products. This allows for a more straightforward user experience without sacrificing on features - which means your team will be able to effectively use the platform to boost sales.
Selly’s CRM comes with a long list of dealership integration partners, including Frazer DMS, Automanager DMS, and tons of others. Dealercenter features a “closed ecosystem. For example if you have Frazer DMS you cannot integrate with Dealercenter’s CRM system. That means you have to double type the same information into two systems. Selly CRM, for example, integrates bidirectional with Frazer DMS so you can sync in real time inventory and customer data.
While Selly and Dealercenter both offer their CRMs at price points that most used car dealers can afford, you’ll want to take a closer look at what features are included based on price.
Dealercenter’s CRM starts at $65/month. However, this is only their basic tier which doesn’t include the whole set of features listed above. For access to all of their CRMs features, you’ll need to upgrade to their Pro option which comes in at $199/month.
Selly’s CRM starts at $110/month, but this gives you access to its full range of features without needing to upgrade.
One thing is clear: whichever company you end up going through, your dealership needs a CRM to thrive in today’s marketplace.
Dealercenter is an option for dealers looking to source their CRM, DMS, and other dealership systems from the same company. While this may be an easy option for dealers wanting to score an all-in-one platform it may cause issues down the line with their lack of integrations and being “stuck” in their closed box.
On the other hand, if you’re a used car dealer looking for a CRM that was developed with your needs in mind, then Selly CRM is for you. It includes the features your operation needs and doesn’t charge you extra for the ones you don’t.You’ll also have access to onboarding and training that was carefully developed to make sure each team member understands how to best utilize the platform to increase sales.
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