If you read our previous post on this subject, you may have wondered, “Why on earth would anyone be crazy enough to build a CRM in the automotive industry?” It is certainly a fair question. Well, **raises hand** we are the team crazy enough to take on the challenge. Inspired by the Steve Jobs’ quote, “The ones who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world are the ones who do,” we did exactly that—rebuilt our platform from the ground up. Now, we won’t claim or try to convince anyone that we are going to change the world, but we are confident that we are well on our way to making a significant impact on the industry we are passionate about—automotive retail.
While we are excited to showcase what we’ve built and how we achieved it, we think it is essential to start by explaining why we decided to bet the future of our company on rebuilding automotive’s newest CRM.1. FutureProofing Automotive
At ProMax, our motto #futureproofingautomotive goes far beyond a catchy tagline; it represents a call to action that resonates with our entire team. While we don’t claim to predict the future, we are well aware that change is a constant force in the automotive industry. Today’s fast-paced market demands modern, flexible, and agile software and tools to help our dealers navigate the ever-changing landscape.
Acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead, we took a bold step to stay ahead of the curve. By rebuilding our platform from the ground up, we aimed to demonstrate to our dealers—and ourselves—that our commitment goes beyond mere words and marketing speak.
This ambitious undertaking is just the beginning for ProMax. With a renewed focus on innovation and adaptability, we are excited to continue supporting our dealers as they face the dynamic world of automotive retail and the modern consumer head-on.
At ProMax, we are not afraid of change, we embrace it. And we are just getting started.
2. We All Rise Together—A Call to Arms to Other CRMs in Our Space
In our previous article, we outlined the "if it ain't broke, don’t fix it" mindset that's been holding back substantial progress in our industry, particularly in the CRM space. We're convinced that if someone could just demonstrate the power of a cutting-edge platform to dealers, it would ignite a chain reaction of innovation.
As an industry, we stand at a pivotal juncture. For years, we've been discussing the importance of improving customer experience and attempting to rectify our industry's image. And as of late, we've been contending with a barrage of external forces claiming to have a superior way to engage and support customers. But now, the atmosphere feels different—like we're on the brink of something monumental.
Even with that looming, it feels like many of our industry partners seem hesitant to go all-in, and honestly, they haven't had any reason to—until now. We view our platform's rebuild as a warning shot to competitors, although we won't name names.
Our mission is to be the David in a world of Goliaths, to reveal what a truly modern platform should embody and how it should function. We aim to not only enhance support for our dealers but also to rouse our fellow partners to take the leap they've been avoiding. We wholeheartedly believe that when we ascend, we all rise together, like a rising tide lifting every ship. The time for change is now.
3. Current CRM Technology is Holding Back Innovation in Our Industry
It's time to face the facts: current CRM technology is hindering innovation in our industry. As difficult as it is to admit—especially since we've been in this space for over two decades—we must call a spade a spade and confront the issue head-on.
Taking a closer look at a dealership's sales operational framework, particularly the software supporting it, reveals a classic hub-and-spoke model. At the core, or the hub, are the CRM and DMS, while the spokes represent the various third-party tools in a dealer's tech stack.
Over the past decade, there's been an explosion of innovation and growth in complementary automotive SaaS tools—think AI communication, digital retailing, programmatic marketing, and more. However, in nearly every case, these tools must interact with the CRM regularly and if the weakest link determines the strength of the entire chain, then it's clear that current CRM technology is that weak link. CRMs, once at the forefront of cutting-edge innovation, have now become the laggards, dragging down the industry's overall progress.
But there's hope: we believe if automotive CRMs embraced a rebuild, we'd witness a surge of innovation unlike anything seen in years, which was a driving force behind our decision to do exactly that. So, borrowing a line from Jerry Maguire, we ask, "Who's coming with us?!"
4. Integration and Collaboration is Key, and Acquisition Does Not Equal Integration
We believe that to propel our industry forward at the necessary pace, no single organization can do it alone. Rather, it requires collaboration among the brilliant minds in our field.
However, for this to work, we must unite as an industry and dealer partners, putting collaboration into practice, not just in theory. We need to develop products and strategies designed for integration, aiming to improve the whole. Historically, our industry has been notorious for its reluctance to collaborate and integrate.
Additionally, automotive software has a well-documented history of acquisitions and consolidations, with three or four central companies often involved. The most recent example being the wave of digital retailing acquisitions. The narrative behind these acquisitions typically revolves around creating an all-in-one, end-to-end retail platform—a compelling story, but one that hasn't come to fruition. Acquisition doesn't guarantee integration. While we're not suggesting that the intentions were disingenuous, the process is far more challenging than anticipated, and at the heart of this is where difficulty lies...
Legacy CRM platforms, which form the core of many conglomerate tech stacks, often hinder integration. Our ultimate goal in rebuilding the ProMax platform is to create a system that can easily integrate across the entire value chain of automotive retail. We hope others in our space will join us in this endeavor.
5. FTC Compliance Challenges Core CRM Functionality
Remember the buzz leading up to NADA 2023 about the new FTC ruling and its potential impact on our industry? Although the fervor may have subsided, we'll undoubtedly need to address this issue sooner rather than later.
It's not an exaggeration to say that this ruling could revolutionize the way we market vehicles, present figures, and negotiate deals. If it's going to change everything within a dealership, it'll certainly transform the landscape for dealer partners as well, with CRM providers and their associated desking tools at the heart of this shift.
Dealers are known for, and take pride in, their agility and adaptability, but legacy software platforms often struggle to keep pace with change and this case is no different.
While the first four points drove our decision to rebuild our platform, the timing of this ruling was a stroke of luck. As we were in the midst of developing our platform, the news of the eventual ruling broke, allowing us to consider the necessary support for dealers based on the information available.
Though further details about how dealers will need to adapt are still forthcoming, we're confident that we've built a solid foundation to ensure compliance in the modern marketplace and thanks to cutting-edge technology, our platform offers the flexibility to respond to any new developments on behalf of our dealers.
In conclusion, our industry takes pride in its ability to be nimble and agile amidst constant change. There was a time when CRM technology led the way in innovation, but as these platforms age, grow larger, and become more rigid, it’s increasingly challenging for them to adapt on behalf of their dealers. We are not suggesting that all CRMs fall into this category—in fact, there are some we genuinely admire. However, for a significant portion of the market, this is undeniably an issue. That is why we felt an immense sense of urgency to take a risk and build something new. Our hope is that others in our space will follow suit because we firmly believe that our dealers deserve nothing less.
Now that we’ve shared the reasons for our decision to venture down this path, we can’t wait to dig deeper into the results of our hard work. Keep an eye out for more updates, or if you are eager to see it for yourself, feel free to contact us for a live demo of Stack powered by ProMax!