Case Study

CRM Assessment: Keeping Dealers Competitive and Responsive 

Can The Right Technology Be the Foundation of Success?


An international corporation and world-leader in their industry, this new client was seeing steady growth. The heart of their business was their 1,000 dealers across the country, who had been conducting sales, inventory, and project management with an in-house proprietary CRM for more than a decade. Was the custom CRM helping dealers work smarter in their fast-changing and competitive environment of inventory management and customer service?


This international corporation had been providing a custom-built CRM to all its US dealers for handling customer accounts, sales, and project and inventory management. Over more than a decade they had kept a dedicated staff updating, expanding and maintaining the software, and responding to dealer requests for enhancements. The cost of maintaining the custom CRM had been increasing, but there was an allegiance to this familiar tool. In considering another upgrade, the corporation decided to commission a full analysis of the current system to identify what was needed to support the dealer network and drive sales into the next phase of growth.

What’s the Current Status?

We were brought in as a consultant to do the analysis and ascertain the current status: What was the end-to-end functionality provided by the custom CRM? What functionalities were dealers utilizing most often and most effectively, and which features were difficult to use or not helpful in day-to-day needs?

Advisory services for technology and third-party assessments can bring focus and move you more quickly to a solution.

We met with dealers onsite across the country and looked at a range of issues including:

How the CRM was used by dealers.

  • Were all the capabilities being used?
  • What did they like and not like?
  • Did they think some features were lacking?
  • What was needed for business shifts that were on the horizon?

How was the CRM working for the corporate side?

  • What was the cost of maintaining the custom-built app?
  • Was there a commercial product /vendor that might serve the dealers’ needs?
  • How did the CRM stack up against an outside product in key areas?
    • Comparative effectiveness
    • Ease of use compared to the current CRM
    • Comparative cost

The Assessment Found...

The assessment found 12% of the most recently added features were not being used by dealers. Twenty-seven percent of dealers expressed a need for more training. Forty-six percent voiced frustration with the slow response to needed changes and enhancements.

On the corporate side, we found that the cost of maintaining the software had increased 15% annually for the previous five years. Staff with legacy knowledge of decisions and design were leaving the company in recent years, so upgrades were taking more time to execute.

Options were identified. Would it be best to keep the in-house system but institute changes in maintenance procedures? Could an outside vendor manage the in-house system, or should the company switch to an outside resource?

Success on Time

A decision was made to go with a major SaaS and move all dealers to the new system simultaneously.

This resulted in:

  • A savings of $120,000 a year in software development costs.
  • Improved dealer experience.
  • Improved customer satisfaction.
  • Increased sales by 8.4% in the first six months.
  • Lower inventory costs, and a savings of 11% in the first six months.

Changes in sales, inventory management, and customer service were expected to show additional improvements.

Embracing the change or need a hand?