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The Big Rigs Get Revved Up
With an updated GoldMine in the driver's seat, a Carolina truck dealership steers to unified customer information.
For the rest of the January 2008 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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The McMahon Truck Group, which operates three Mack Truck dealerships and a leasing company in North and South Carolina, had used FrontRange Solutions' GoldMine application for several years in its sales department, but rapid growth necessitated developing a more comprehensive CRM solution rather than using an application simply for sales force automation. "We were going from two shifts to three, becoming an around-the-clock operation," explains General Manager Don Krom. "We were adding 15 more technicians." The additions were due to increasing customer demand on the already-strained operations, Krom adds. "It was either [expand] or tell customers we couldn't do it. We're not in the habit of telling customers that." Krom had been happy with GoldMine's performance, but the auto group had two separate GoldMine 4.0 applications, each running two of the businesses. Krom was looking for something more robust to enhance customer relationships and build sales across the different dealerships as well as across the various departments within each dealership. "We needed a CRM program so that we could increase the speed with which we were servicing customers," Krom says. The group looked at Sage Software's ACT! and a few other CRM offerings, but chose instead to upgrade GoldMine to version 6.6, citing the application's flexibility, cost, and simplicity, and its ability to enable the group to manage sales from a centralized location. Other CRM-related activity went through a variety of nonintegrated applications, including a Lotus-based product, a customized Access database, and an application developed by a national dealer association. Now all transactions, including service-visit activity, leasing, and sales, are linked directly into GoldMine -- so instead of a marketing database, McMahon has a complete customer history. All the employees access GoldMine so there's continuity of awareness between departments, making the software an operational tool as well as a CRM system. Additionally McMahon's marketers use GoldMine for more traditional activity, such as email marketing.
Centralizing sales and service enabled the auto group to eliminate three managers, at a combined total savings of some $250,000 annually. By consolidating all parts and servicing information on a single solution, the auto group has increased service to its sales force by 14 percent and has enhanced customer service, according to Service Manager Joe Lossick. A client with a fleet of trucks might have several in for servicing at a time, but the legacy system didn't provide a good estimate on service time -- or notification that service had already been completed. "We used to keep everything on paper," Lossick says. "So when a customer called in to ask about a truck that had been brought in for servicing, we would have to find all of the information, then call him back." Additionally, the servicing department wouldn't know about new parts until the parts department called to say they'd arrived, meaning potential delays in notification and in using the part for repairs, Lossick says. The new, integrated system sends the service manager a pop-up notification as soon as a new part arrives. Krom expects to use GoldMine even more extensively in the future; McMahon has just begun using the software for targeted-blast email campaigns. Executives can select a filter -- such as territory, products, or service customers -- add all appropriate attachments (e.g., parts specs), and email those out to the appropriate list. McMahon Truck Group happens to be a beta tester for Mack Decisive, an application that enables customers to receive faster quotes, into which the group plans to integrate the abilities of GoldMine. For most dealers, quoting an engine replacement on a truck takes days due to the complexity of looking up all the parts and related labor. But the Decisive beta enables customers to obtain pricing information on the initial phone call. THE PAYOFF: By upgrading to GoldMine 6.6, McMahon Truck Group has:
  • eliminated a sales manager and two service managers for an annual savings of $250,000;
  • increased service to its sales force by 14 percent; and
  • expanded sales and service to a 24/7 operation.
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