NEW ORLEANS — Outsell formed and convenved its first customer advisory board (CAB) at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention and Expo. The technology firm also announced the launch of several new digital marketing tools.

Led by Outsell’s vice president of marketing, Valerie Vallancourt, with participation from Outsell founder and CEO Mike Wethington and other senior Outsell executives, the company's advisory board comprised of seven dealer customers of various size representing major auto brands. It will meet in-person annually and via telephone an additional three times a year.

One advisory board participant, Kristy Elliott, executive manager at Sunshine Chevrolet in Asheville, N.C., said, “The Outsell platform has become an integral part of our overall marketing process. I welcomed the opportunity to participate in Outsell’s customer advisory board, because it gives me a chance to network with peers from other dealerships, and to have an impact on Outsell’s product direction.”

“Outsell has an active customer success team that works closely with our dealers day in and day out to make sure we are in touch with their current needs and wants, but we didn’t have a format in which dealers could discuss challenges and solutions with one another,” said Vallancourt. “Our CAB provides that format, and that interaction among dealers will help Outsell to get a deeper understanding of what they really need from a marketing automation standpoint, so we can continue to be a valued partner.”

Last week, the company launched Outsell Social adds, an add-on to its flagship platform that was designed to help dealers engage customers via social media. Citing studies by Crowdtap, and GfK Automotive Research, the company’s analysts found that 87% of auto buyers research potential car purchases on social media prior to making a decision, and Facebook is the most popular social media network among car buyers.  

“Virtually every dealer we work with is actively looking for better ways to leverage social media to reach their consumers,” said Bryan Harwood, Outsell’s CTO. “We worked hard to come up with an easy-to-use solution that leverages data dealers may not be taking advantage of, combining it with Outsell’s predictive models to identify buyers, find them on Facebook, and serve them targeted, relevant offers. This is really valuable because often these are customers who aren’t reachable via traditional email campaigns.”

“While Facebook can be a great marketing tool for auto dealers, there has been a lack of easy-to-use tools to help them get started,” said Brian Pasch, Founder of PCG Companies. “Outsell Social Ads provides the structure, guidance, and analytics that dealers need to get measurable results from Facebook ad campaigns.”

At the NADA Convention, Outsell launched several new features intended to help auto dealers gain more insight into customer needs and deepen engagement:

  • Single Consumer View: An update to the Outsell platform was designed to offer a way for dealers to view everything they know about a customer in one place, including their current vehicle, service and sales history, and engagement with past marketing campaigns.
  • Automated Review Solicitation: Outsell Reputation Management is an add-on designed to give dealers the ability to automatically request reviews from customers and guide them through the posting process.
  • CDK integration: Outsell has been accepted as a CDK integration partner and is working on a certified integration with CDK’s dealer management system (DMS) with the goal of ensuring quick, simple and secure connections and data sharing.

“All these new enhancements are designed to help simplify the process of engaging consumers across channels and individualizing offers and content for auto dealers’ customers, including reaching customers via their preferred channel,” said Bryan Harwood, Outsell’s CTO. “Outsell makes auto dealers lives easier by helping them gain insights into customer needs and then send timely, relevant information designed to get them into the dealership for sales and service.”

Originally posted on F&I and Showroom