In the latest installment of the annual Power 300 issue of Auto Remarketing, we go behind the scenes with some of the leading companies in the used-car space and their top executives with a few Q&A features.
First up is Jill Whitehead, senior vice president of operations at Dominion Dealer Solutions.
Auto Remarketing: What have been some of the changes to the DealActivator platform, and what were the goals of those changes?
Jill Whitehead: For almost a decade, DealActivator has been the leading data-mining provider in the automotive space, earning several awards in the process. This is because one thing has remained consistent: DealActivator allows dealerships to make the shopping experience personal by better connecting with the end consumer via one-onone communications. And, Dominion remains focused on building a stronger and more profitable relationship between the consumer and their dealership. That being said, DealActivator has gone through many improvements to enhance prospect communication and management.
DealActivator Version 4 was launched in April 2018 and has successfully been implemented in multiple dealerships. One of the biggest values of DealActivator Version 4 is its focus on the consumer journey. This shift in perspective allows the dealer to focus more on customer need without sacrificing the ability to identify aged units on their lot that they can fit with new prospects.
AR: Given that DealActivator is an equity-mining platform, what are some of the top auto finance/loan trends that have the most impact on a dealer’s ability to find consumers in an equity position?
JW: Equity mining is one of many functions available through DealActivator. One of the main financing trends that impacts the dealer’s ability to upgrade a consumer into new vehicles for an equal or lower payment is the length of the consumer’s loan term.
If the term is long, it takes a longer time for the consumer to get into an equity sweet spot. For consumers who pursue a lease financing option, lower residual value is a trend that would impact dealers because the lower the residual value of a vehicle, the longer it would take the consumer to get into an equity position.
Low residuals also make it harder to stay in a positive equity position. Consumers who have a lower APR impact dealers margins because they narrow the wiggle room that a dealer has to lower consumers’ monthly payment.
In a relatable situation, dealers use DealActivator to identify prospects entering the service lane so that they can offer appropriate alternatives to high-dollar RO’s. We’ve found that consumers who are coming into service for a major repair are often willing to upgrade their vehicle rather than complete service.
DealActivator can give dealers valuable information about those service customers who may be interested in trading their vehicle in for a similar vehicle without paying that high repair cost.
AR: Dominion Dealer Solutions has such a wide array of platforms that tackle different and specific areas of a dealership’s operation. What are ways the DealActivitator team utilizes its peer platforms in the Dominion Dealer Solutions family?
JW: As of July 2018, DealActivator is now integrated into Dominion’s Vision CRM, allowing for users to identify in-market shoppers with the Priority Page, without the need to switch to another tool. DealActivator in Vision threads Dominion’s ‘3T’ logic throughout Vision to allow for smart engagement that leverages Vision’s business intelligence to have better conversations with equity prospects.
By ‘3T logic’ I mean that DealActivator is the only CRMbased data management soft ware that allows dealership users to match a consumer’s vehicle and ownership experience bytrim, tier and term. Basically, the strength of DealActivator’s real-time matching of dealership inventory to the prospect from trim to trim, tier to tier and term to term, partnered with the intuitive knowledge of Vision CRM creates a highly personalized experience for the shopper.
Unlike any other CRM system with built-in equity solutions, Vision includes three key features: 1) the DealActivator Priority Page improves processes to empower sales reps and managers to save time identifying equity leads; 2) the Inventory aspect targets the best vehicle match for in-equity customers, pinpointing the exact vehicle that qualifies as no money down and possibly lower monthly payments; 3) loyal service drive customers are easily targeted with the DealActivator’s Service feature integration within Vision.
Lastly, Dominion’s account management team is highly regarded by our customers. Each of our account managers are trained in multiple products in order to provide our dealerships with informed support across our product line. Our dealership performance managers anticipate dealer need and can facilitate multiple product integrations and deployment.
AR: What are some projects on the radar for the DealActivator team?
JW: DealActivator Version 4 and the integration with Vision CRM has kept the team busy, and we have steadily increased the marketing functionality within DealActivator. We have initiated additional training with the AM teams to ensure they can provide excellent triage support not only for our DealActivator product, but also for our Vision product.
Stay tuned for some big announcements about how we are developing this soft ware in accordance with market and consumer trends