In our Automotive Industry Trends Series, Jessica Geutner (Vice President, Strategic Customers) and myself Ognyan Vasilev, (Automotive Industry Business Development Lead) are sharing our point of view on what is changing in the automotive industry. 

 

We focused on 3 areas: 

  • Customer-engagement - creating a meaningful and personalized relationship with customers through the channels they prefer

  • Dealer engagement - Close alignment between dealerships and OEMs, enabling fast-moving decisions and real-time collaboration. 

  • Employee centricity - Equipping employees and partners with the right tools to stay informed, become more productive and collaborate effectively.  

Initiatives to enhance employee, dealer and customer engagement have long been at the top of the digital agenda for automotive companies, and current circumstances have only emphasized the need to address these topics. To excel in this constantly shifting modern landscape, companies need to do more than just plan a return to their old practices, they need to evolve, future-proof and re-imagine their businesses to prepare it for the next normal.

 

Let’s explore the areas one by one. 

 

Employee engagement: Making a remote workforce work for you

Many employees haven’t been adequately prepared for working from home, so effective communication is paramount. Not only do employees need to be kept in the loop regarding the latest developments and operational changes, they need to know what to expect in the future. But effective communication is only half the battle – a workforce also needs the infrastructure to work remotely and collaboratively. 

Tools like Quip will allow employees to stay engaged as a group, with real-time collaboration via documents, chats and spreadsheets. Community Cloud, meanwhile, is a great way to facilitate communication both internally and with external organisations, while Chatter offers a social media-like environment where employees can share ideas and connect with the rest of the team.

A remote workforce offers the chance to adapt new digital technology, break down silos and connect teams. Businesses that use this opportunity to bring transparency to their communications, boost morale and unify their workforce will emerge stronger and more prepared for the future.

 

Dealer engagement: Navigating the new normal

As dealers pivot to adjust their demand planning based on OEM inventory and potential delays, making decisions quickly becomes increasingly important. Collaboration and clear lines of communication are crucial, so developing a virtual collaboration strategy and introducing a real-time platform like Quip is a great way to maintain engagement.

In the face of crisis, dealers may have to reduce their workforce, so routing the right leads to the right dealers is more important than ever, as is having the right data to drive those decisions.

Car dealerships have long been a heavily physical business, but digital transformation is opening up promising avenues and shining a light on new opportunities. Digital commerce solutions aren’t just the future, they’re the new normal, and integrating dynamic tools such as Lightning Scheduler and Community Cloud can help businesses successfully navigate the current climate.

Check out this B2B Commerce demo for more tips on transforming your future.

 

Customer engagement: Making that crucial connection

With many dealerships closed to the public, customer engagement has gone completely digital: customers expect businesses to meet them on their terms and on their preferred platforms. For businesses well-versed in leveraging data analytics to build a 360° view of the customer, this idea of a 24/7 captive customer is a dream come true – they don’t have to wait for the customer to shop, they bring the shop to them.

But for companies that haven’t yet brought their personalised communications to scale, or aren’t able to successfully engage across emerging touchpoints and varied channels, there’s plenty of work to be done. 

Even established brands are just now discovering the benefits of using emerging analytics and business information technologies, as can be seen in the case of a renowned UK auto manufacturer who recently doubled its unique Tableau users. The company found that the platform allowed them to more easily break silos, dig deeper with data visualisation, and make their analytics transparent across various teams. 

Tableau is so easy to use that their employees now create customised dashboards across a range of departments, turning a hefty percentage of their workforce into private data analysts. One executive estimated that the analytical opportunities provided by Tableau have led to savings in the tens of millions. 

This kind of forward-thinking and implementation of new technologies can transform a crisis point into a fulcrum, and a static business into a future-proof one.

 

Building resilience and preparing for the next normal

At Salesforce, we support our Automotive clients to drive employee-, dealer- and customer-centricity along three stages. 

  • First: stabilizing the businesses (including mitigating short-term risks and ensuring operations continuity). 

  • Second: getting back to work safely (including planning and orchestrating the return to the workplace and communicating these to customers). 

  • The third stage is about: accelerating the change and growth in the “new normal,” i.e., transforming faster and becoming more relevant to customers than before the crisis.

 

Join the conversation on building resilience and preparing for the new normal in automotive sales through the Leading Through Change Virtual Series!