1.      Stick with one vendor for managing I.T.

Think of services with a major cable company or Internet provider. It’s always cheaper when you bundle multiple services, like internet and T.V., and/or phone. This concept is also true when it comes to selecting an I.T. services vendor. Much like a Dr., you would not want a brain surgeon operating on your heart. This is also true when it comes to IT providers as well.  An I.T. company that dabbles in 20 different industries more than likely doesn’t understand the automotive industry or the specific needs and challenges that sales reps face daily. It is best to ensure I.T. vendors have the following:

  1. Fast response to service requests (under 1hr.) – This is crucial since every minute that a sales rep isn’t working is a lost sale. A network outage over 1 hr. could be the difference between making a sale or potential customer leaving to go next door to the competitor because they are tired of waiting on the paperwork to sign.
  2. Holding the I.T. provider accountable – Make sure that the I.T. vendor sticks to their end of the deal! Do they meet their agreed upon response times to service requests? Do you have all the documentation to run your company if they disappear tomorrow? How easily can you get a hold of a representative?  Is it just one I.T. person and if so what happens if they are no longer available or unreachable? Do you have a backup plan, list of passwords and procedures they followed?
  3. Knowledgeable in the areas you need the most – Are there constant issues that you keep having in certain areas that keep being pain points? Example: is your WiFi slow, and has it been an ongoing issue?  Do you have issues with printers or other devices that keep causing problems for everyone?  It might be time to have a fresh set of eyes take a look at your systems and perhaps suggest a solution your other I.T. vendor missed.


2.      Select the right DMS for your dealership

Dealer Management Systems (DMS)

Car dealer software known as dealership management systems (DMS), includes products that assist in the operations of automobile retailers. These systems keep track of the inventory, calculate costs, financing, checks credit reports, driver history etc.  Most importantly these systems offer tracking, warranty information and sales information, keep track of vehicle repairs and billing.  When considering the proper DMS vendor you should consider not only cost, but ease of usability, how well it integrates with other CRM software you are currently using, and how it can be utilized on your company websites.  All of these factors can help increase a sales team’s productivity and efficiency.


3.      Ensure you aren’t over paying for telephone services

Having a reliable telecom provider is crucial and can save or cost you money or productivity.  Selecting the proper Voice Over IP (VOIP) provider comes down to making sure the provider understands your needs and usage in addition to taking the time to correctly setup the VOIP  phones on your network to ensure high quality calls.  Always select providers that will go above and beyond for their customers after the initial sale is made.  This means that support for setting up the phones to work properly doesn’t fall on your hands and ensuring you always have crystal clear voice quality.


4.      Have a good site map of your systems to quickly resolve I.T. problems.

In case your I.T. provider drops the ball, it is always a good idea to have the following readily available:

    1. List of accounts and information on DMS and support contact
    2. Internet Service Provider Account Information and support contact
    3. VOIP Telecom account information and contact
    4. Web hosting and Domain Registrar
    5. Gateway and router login access
    6. Wireless Access Points access
    7. Knowing what antivirus your systems have
    8. Admin credentials on your network
    9. VPN settings

5.      Don’t just add technology, do it to resolve problems you have on hand.

Its easy to get caught up chasing the latest and greatest.  Switching to the next best DMS might seem like a great idea, but consider the learning curve your team will face in addition to lost productivity and sales.  Faster internet is great, but if you don’t have the existing network infrastructure such as firewall, wiring, switches and access points that can handle the extra speed,  it may not make financially. The cost of upgrading equipment should also be considered.

Allowing a sales team to bring their own devices to work might seem like a good idea, but ensuring that these devices are used primarily for work purposes instead of entertainment, such as YouTube and Facebook, can put a strain on the entire network and could prove to be difficult without proper infrastructure to handle the extra bandwidth.