AutoTrader.com anticipates visibility for trending and forecasting among benefits from its new system
REDMOND, Wash. — May 13, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that online automotive marketplace AutoTrader.com has selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM as its customer relationship management (CRM) system and anticipates a number of benefits from the new system, including visibility for trending and forecasting. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a fully integrated customer relationship management solution that works within Microsoft Office Outlook to help create and maintain a clear view of customers from first contact through post-sales.
Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com, with 2,000 employees, connects buyers and sellers. It generates revenues through partnerships with advertisers and more than 20,000 dealers. Its extensive sales force has been using technology based on legacy CRM software until making the switch to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
The new system will increase the ability to view the ongoing interactions between its sales representatives and dealers and make it easier to measure the success of follow-up efforts with customers.
"We needed a tool that was easily used, worked well out of the box, integrated with Microsoft Office Outlook, and would enable us to track contacts, customer interactions and opportunities without having to introduce a totally different application or platform," said Gib Finley, AutoTrader.com director of Sales and Service Technologies.
AutoTrader.com considered retaining its legacy system and looked at other off-the-shelf solutions before choosing Microsoft’s technology. "We zeroed in on Microsoft Dynamics CRM fairly quickly," Finley said. "We have sister operating companies using it, and we liked its integration with Microsoft Office Outlook. We also valued the Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration with our other Microsoft technology and its ability to roll out CRM to a mobile platform so our staff could use it on compatible mobile devices."
The company ultimately chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM for its easy method of tracking contacts, opportunity-management capabilities, sales-interaction functionality and flexible reporting. In fact, the organization expects to benefit in a number of significant ways from its adoption of Microsoft Dynamics CRM:
- Ease of use. AutoTrader.com found all the features it wanted in Microsoft Dynamics CRM right out of the box, an important criterion for its new software.
- Better visibility. Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables the company to view marketplace shifts and forecast accurately so it can find sales opportunities and address them much more quickly than before. Senior management can obtain a much better view of data than it could previously, viewing trending information and the analysis associated with it.
- Improved productivity. Microsoft Dynamics CRM eliminates the manual work with which the sales force had to contend, including collection of data and manually inputting the information to spreadsheets and documents. With data now centralized and automated through Microsoft Dynamics CRM, staff can focus more on customers and less on the legwork required to support each dealership. Mobile capabilities, with compatible mobile devices, will be more efficient than previous methods in which staff had to go to their computers to update their contacts and accounts.
- Improved reporting. With a central database, the ability to report on trending and forecasting and to know day-to-day where sales stand will be important improvements for the company. "Reporting is our differentiator," Finley said. "Armed with data and key information, we can best serve our customers."
- Time savings. The centralized Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution populates information automatically, is simple to update and is easy to access at every level to find up-to-the-minute data.
- Improved accuracy. The company will be able to streamline the naming conventions it uses, validating street addresses and contact information and storing the information in a central database. This system replaces the creation of spreadsheets by individual salespersons, a method that carries the potential for human error and data-integrity issues.
- Support for growth. Microsoft Dynamics CRM will provide a scalable system to accommodate AutoTrader.com’s growth.
- IT support and management. After implementation, Microsoft Dynamics CRM will free up time for the company’s IT department to focus more on reporting and providing abilities to sort by market and region.
To implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the company chose Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Tribridge, which was named the 2008 Worldwide Microsoft Dynamics Partner of the Year. "We’ve had previous engagements with Tribridge, and it provided a lot of expertise with quality people who understand the toolset well," Finley said.
AutoTrader.com will integrate its Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution seamlessly with its current Microsoft technology, which includes the 2007 Microsoft Office system, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Office Outlook and Microsoft SharePoint Server, along with Fast Lane third-party software to help support service-call operations.
"When management can gain better visibility into its pipeline and forecast, it can position the business for long-term success," said David Willis, vice president for Microsoft’s U.S. Dynamics business. "Microsoft Dynamics CRM integrates all the customer-related data in an organization to help focus its sales and marketing efforts, enabling it to take full advantage of emerging opportunities and improve satisfaction among current customers."
AutoTrader.com, created in 1997 and headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., is the Internet’s leading auto classifieds marketplace and consumer information website. AutoTrader.com aggregates in a single location about 3.5 million new cars, used cars and certified pre-owned cars from 40,000 dealers and 250,000 private owners and the site attracts about 14 million unique monthly visitors. Through innovative merchandising functionality such as multiple photos videos, detailed descriptions and comprehensive research and compare tools, AutoTrader.com unites new and used car buyers and sellers online to improving the way people research, locate and advertise vehicles. AutoTrader.com is a majority-owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. The venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is also an investor. For more information, please visit www.autotrader.com.
Tribridge is an IT services firm that delivers and supports technology, business management and core infrastructure solutions for organizations spanning diverse industries. Tribridge helps customers strategically leverage IT investments to become more productive, profitable, competitive and secure through proven methodologies, process optimization and industry best practices. Tribridge is dedicated to building a community in which organizations derive long-term business value from practical solutions that guarantee customer success and maximum return on investment. Headquartered in Tampa, Tribridge has customers, offices and team members across the U.S. and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2008 Microsoft Dynamics Worldwide Partner of the Year.
About Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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