Automotive Intelligence Serves up Engaged Customers

Consumers increasingly are going online to start their journey in buying a new car. But is your dealership positioned to harness that information and the digital breadcrumbs they leave behind to nurture interest and convert it to a sale?

Enter VinSolutions’ new Automotive Intelligence (AI), which offers insights on buying signals from consumers, engagement in the buying journey, and sentiment analysis that digs into what people are saying and what they mean. This next-generation CRM product gathers information on consumers that dealers already have relationships with, perhaps from an earlier car purchase or a visit to the service team.

“This product allows you to look at online activity among your customers to see who’s starting into the buying process,” said John Gerenza, VinSolutions’ director of sales for the Southeast US. “Connect Automotive Intelligence serves up consumers who are more engaged and more likely to buy a car in the next 30 to 60 days.”

The uptick is that dealers can cherry-pick those potential leads and focus their sales forces on supporting customers. Over time, AI’s built-in machine learning studies those engagements and experiences – in part by tactics such as analyzing key words in phone calls and texts between consumers and sales – to help refine the strongest lead. Information is delivered in real-time updates to dashboards, which managers can use to coach their salespeople and reward effective behaviors.

AI also interacts with other offerings in the Cox Automotive family, including Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, to capture digital engagement. Research shows that 68% of consumers do online research and preliminary shopping before they even contact a dealership.

“Automotive Intelligence allows dealers to meet their customers precisely where they are in their journey,” said Amy Norris, regional sales manager for the Mid-Atlantic, which includes Virginia. “Customers want to be known. It’s not enough now to just sell something. It’s got to be an experience – and AI can help you create that. What consumers dislike most is when they have to repeat their needs as dealers work to move that conversation along.”

For example, that online research can help a dealer understand what a customer might want to receive in value on their trade-in “There’s greater transparency, which removes some frustration in the process,” she added.

As with all VinSolutions offerings, AI can be purchased separately on a month-to-month basis. “Dealers can pick the tool they want to try and test,” Norris said. In today’s increasingly digital sales environment, “any tools that can convert online sales to in-store sales are not a not-to-have, they are need-to-have.”

Historically, dealerships have leveraged their Customer Satisfaction Index to gauge performance, which is essential to growing vehicle volumes from their manufacturers. These new digital tools allow dealers to get ahead of their online reputation and build consumer engagement in sustainable ways, she added.

Any dealer already using VinSolutions products can contact their representative to learn more about AI. Those new to VinSolutions should reach out to Amy Norris.