Change is the name of the game in the Automotive industry as it stands today – that’s the biggest takeaway from Driving Sales President’s Club in New York City this past week.  The general theme of all sessions and subsequent conversations both with industry influencers and dealer principals was that a major shift is coming for the industry and those that will be successful will figure how to ride that change – and do it quickly.

Change will manifest in a few places but the most important will be in how effective teams are built at the dealership – both sales and service.  Dealer owners and principals need to build teams that all share a “growth mindset.”

The old business model where business and marketing decisions were made on limited and incomplete data from CRM or single sources are gone.  Holistic data based decision-making will be what leads the way in success for dealerships moving forward. Are you developing a sound measurement strategy and looking at metrics that are based on how consumers interact with you online today?  43% of shoppers don’t send a lead before they show up to a dealership; how are you measuring their interaction with you?

The change and need for more data in decision making is driven from the increased focus on the consumer experience.  There has become an increased ‘sameness’ to some of the competitive differentiators – price, payments, product, fuel economy, inventory, etc. – and the place to really compete is within the sphere of the car shopper’s sales experience.

How are you creating an environment that creates the best consumer experience?  And then are you showcasing that experience online? Finally, do you have partners who want to help you better define and improve that experience?

Clearly the word of the year is CHANGE.   As an industry we will need to redirect our focus to changing the experience we provide consumers, the information we provide those consumers and the way in which we measure the impact of marketing investments.  It will be a fun year and we’re looking forward to working with you to navigate the changes ahead.