Top 10 CRMs for Car Dealers & Auto Repair Shops: The Best Free and Paid Resources for Digital Customer Relationship Management

Sean Lund-Brown

Car dealerships and auto repair shops have a unique set of challenges that need to be addressed with customer service and managing relationships. While the nostalgia of the “good old days” of car sales and service might bring some fond memories, it’s not going to take your auto business to the next level.  

Fortunately, there is no shortage of available automotive CRM solutions that can streamline, simplify, and help steer your business toward a successful digital future. Some CRM platforms will focus specifically on customer relationship management, while others will be integrated as part of a total Dealer Management System (DMS). Furthermore, you will find industry-specific and generic CRM solutions that may deliver what you need. Which you choose will depend entirely on what you need.  

There are several considerations here, and the challenges are often what have kept many dealers and repair shops from adopting digital technology for customer relationship management and other day-to-day operations. Dealers and repair shops have a unique business operation. They are selling products and services, managing customers and vehicles, and dealing with a few different types of business transactions all in one. There are things like appointment scheduling, payment integration, customer information sharing across departments, and other factors where current methods fall short. (At Smith.ai, we offer several CRM integrations that can improve your dealership or auto repair business.)

Most CRM solutions will be designed to integrate with the rest of your technology stack. If they’re properly geared toward the auto industry, they will have a robust platform that features a variety of customer management tools, analytics, and data sharing resources so that everyone is on the same page. There are also some platforms that offer customizable, scalable solutions that can grow with your business (in both directions!).

In order to ensure that you get the perfect CRM for your auto repair shop or dealership, we’ve scoured the Internet to find the best of the best. Some of them are designed specifically for the auto industry, while others are general use platforms that happen to have favorable features.

Take note that these Top 10 automotive CRM solutions can be integrated with Smith.ai virtual receptionists to capture every possible opportunity when customers contact your business.

1. Keap

Keap software logo

Formerly Infusionsoft, Keap is designed for the auto business that wants a dynamic CRM solution within a single integrated platform that allows you to manage marketing, sales, customer relationships, and more. This platform combines the most important functionalities for modern business management in a format that’s ideal for small businesses.

With Keap, you will be able to segment contacts, track every customer interaction, send emails, and even run campaigns based on communication triggers that you can personalize for each customer.

You’ll enjoy value-added data based on parameters like campaign performance and ROI data, and the platform is accessible on all iOS and Android devices for remote convenience. Plus, you can integrate it with Salesforce, QuickBooks, Outlook, and other platforms that are already in your daily repertoire.

The features that you’ll love about Keap include:

• Free Option? No, but there is a 14-day free trial

• Price: Starts at $79 per month

• Integrate CRM with the rest of your business

• Use robust reporting and analytics to improve customer service

• Manage all aspects of the customer journey from one place

• 20+ available integrations with other software platforms

2. Freshworks CRM

Freshworks CRM

Freshworks CRM offers a unique opportunity for those seeking an AI-based platform that can manage all aspects of customer relationships. You will enjoy a 360-degree view of your customers, along with cloud-based software that is scalable to your unique business needs.

Although it’s not a dedicated automotive CRM, Freshworks does well to deliver a customer management tool that addresses many of the needs that dealers and repair shops have: customer integration from sales to service and back again, dynamic contact and scheduling options, and more.

You can even use the integrated email and phone tool to reach out to prospects in just a few clicks, allowing you to keep everything integrated in one place.

The important features to consider with Freshworks include:

• Free option? Yes

• Price: $29 per month

• Seamless mail and calendar integration with external apps

• Built-in phone and email platform

• Lead generation tools to surface high-potential leads with ease

• Easy management of the sales pipeline with Deal cards that handle every step of the transaction

3. HubSpot CRM

HubSpot Logo

Those who are looking for a dynamic, flexible, scalable solution will find integration with HubSpot CRM to be a breeze. This platform is unique and preferred by many smaller businesses because it is free, but it also offers a robust, easy-to-use interface for those who want to move into the digital world. You will enjoy plenty of tools that can be customized to the needs of your repair shop or dealership.

HubSpot CRM includes contact management, deal tracking, task and activity schedulers and tracking, marketing tools, sales and services tools, and more. Advanced tools and solutions are available for those who upgrade to a Sales Hub plan.

You will have full team visibility, the capability to store up to 1 million contacts and vendors, and access to the HubSpot community for support and assistance. And, if you need more, you can create a custom bundle of paid solutions that start at just $50 per month, per hub.

The best features of HubSpot include:

• Free option? Yes

• Pricing: $50/month for starter subscription

• Customizable bundles for CRM, marketing, sales, and more

• Dedicated HubSpot support when you choose a paid plan

• Access to consulting, CMS, and other services from HubSpot, a leader in digital marketing

• Robust customer data tracking and analytics

4. Oracle NetSuite CRM

Oracle Netsuite Logo

For small dealerships and BHPH brands, a tool like NetSuite CRM by Oracle offers cloud-based solutions that are scalable and designed to cater to several different industries. Small auto shops and dealerships with service centers enjoy this platform for its plug-and-play functionality and easy user interface—less employee training means less downtime.

NetSuite connects dealers and repair shops with tools for customer data management, partner relationship management, sales force automation, and more. Analytics make it easy to get a complete top-down view of the business or break out metrics into more specific reports.

Plus, there’s even a handy iOS app so that iPhone users can extend the functionality of their automotive CRM by taking it with them wherever they go. Interdepartmental integration is seamless and scalable, and it can be integrated with other software tools like Salesforce to create a dynamic tech stack.

The features that set NetSuite CRM apart include:

• Free Option? No

• Price: Base $999 licensing cost, $99 access per user

• User-friendly interface

• Automated workflows and site integration features

• Prioritization and organization of leads

• Impressive reporting tools and analytics dashboard

5. Salesforce CRM

Salesforce Logo

If your dealership or repair shop wants the backing of one of the biggest providers of CRM and other digital solutions, Salesforce CRM is the way to go. This platform features scalability and cloud-based access.

With Salesforce, you will be able to grow revenue, manage customers with valuable customer data insights, and customize the sales cloud and customer management features to meet your exact needs. Salesforce can also integrate with your other software tools to create an integrated tech stack for total dealership or repair shop management.

Salesforce is customer-focused and offers pay-as-you-go models for convenient and affordable pricing. If you’re just starting out, the #1 CRM in the world should definitely be on your list.

The best features of Salesforce CRM include:

• Free option? No, but there is a free trial

• Price: Starts at $25 per month

• Opportunity and contact management tools that make customer management easy

• Email integration

• Seamless workflows and sales forecasting tools

• Total contact management with dynamic reporting and analytics

6. DealerCenter

DealerCenter Logo

DealerCenter is one of the most focused auto industry CRM platforms, so if you’re looking for dedicated tools, this one should be on your list. It offers impressive features like automated classifieds, reputation management, and a robust dashboard with reporting and analytics for each aspect of your operations. This integrated dealer management platform includes Digital Marketing, Digital Retailing, and a full suite of analytics and reporting tools.

When you integrate DealerCenter into your dealership, you’ll be able to prequalify customers, engage and convert online visitors, manage all digital marketing and classified listings, and more.

This platform brings a lot of self-service features to the forefront, making it easy for everyone in the lifecycle to access customer information and take their role in the next part of the transaction or journey.

DealerCenter is known best for:

• Free option: No

• Price: $60 per month for the DMS

• Integrated finance tools and services

• Online conversions and lead qualification tools

• Pre-built reporting templates and tools

• Monitoring and analytics for sales and service to customer relationships, employee management, and more

7. IDMS by DealerSocket

DealerSocket Logo

IDMS by DealerSocket is a full-service Dealer Management System (DMS) that includes a robust CRM platform. DealerSocket is designed by auto industry professionals for auto industry pros, and it includes a unique set of tools and resources for customer relationship management. There are separate workflows and solutions for each aspect of the automotive process, from sales to service to repair appointments and more.

The CRM in the platform offered here features a service scheduler, custom reporting, vehicle lifecycle tracking, and a unique web-based inventory management platform that is designed especially for BHPH (buy here, pay here) and independent dealerships.

The pricing of this platform is based on size and feature, with current starting prices around $750 a month for a full-service integration of the platform that features 24/7 live support, form printing, lease management, service department integration, and plenty more.

Although there’s a lot to love, here are the key takeaways:

• Free option? No

• Price: Starts at $750 per month

• New car and used car departments kept separate

• Website integration

• 24/7 live support for dealers

• Buy-Here-Pay-Here platform and tools available

• Robust total dealership management from a single platform

8. ELEAD CRM

ELEAD logo

If you’re a fan of the integrated dealership management solutions, ELEAD should be on your list. This platform is designed specifically for use by those in the auto industry, with dynamic dealership management solutions that include separation of inventory by new and used, integrated service scheduling and deal tracking, and more.

This all-in-one CRM platform is designed to help brands tailor strategies and conversations to the needs of the customer. The dashboard makes it easy to view and manage customer data and you can integrate this platform with other tools in your tech stack to maximize your dealership operations.

ELEAD prides itself on the one area where dealership platforms often struggle: service. The service workflow makes scheduling appointments and keeping customer data connected easier than ever. Plus, it’s cloud-based, scalable, and offers customized communication tools.

The key features to know about ELEAD CRM include:

• Free option? No

• Price: Subscription-based, custom pricing

• Instant customer contact options

• Automatic lead reassignment

• Omnichannel communication solutions

• Template library for customer contact, forms, and more

• Driver’s license, and VIN scanner

9. Pipedrive

Pipedrive logo

Pipedrive is designed to drive growth and customer satisfaction, with communication tracking, lead management, and more. You will be able to eliminate busywork and get rid of redundancies once and for all with this dynamic platform.

The CRM includes AI that can provide valuable insights and help streamline operations, along with robust metrics that will help you measure performance with ease. Plus, there are mobile apps and integrations for several programs and other software tools.

What sets Pipedrive apart is its ability to customize the entire workflow, including data fields. It also offers a mobile app for users on the go, and it can be more than “just a CRM” if you integrate the tools effectively.

The features of Pipedrive that work for the auto industry include:

• Free Option? No, but there is a free trial

• Price: $12.50 per month

• Dynamic lead generation tools and tracking

• Streamlined operations

• Seamless integration with existing platforms and dealership software

10. Agile CRM

Agile CRM logo

Agile CRM is a platform designed to make it easier to sell and market like a Fortune 500 company, even for the “little guy”. For those who want an all-in-one solution with next-generation could-based functions, this platform delivers quick, mobile-ready, and easy-to-use tools.

Are you looking for an all-in-one CRM that handles sales, marketing, service, and all other aspects of your customer relationships and management? Agile CRM includes features like contact management, deal tracking, appointment scheduling, and more.

Plus, it’s all integrated with a built-in marketing platform and service features like a help desk, knowledge base, and customer feedback analysis.

If you think Agile CRM is for you, consider these features:

• Free option? Yes

• Price: Paid plans start at $8.99 per month

• Deal Tracker to track the milestones of each customer deal

• Dynamic follow-up via email, phone, social media, and more

• Automate your sales, marketing, and service for consistency

• Cloud-based for easy scalability

Smith.ai integrates with CRM solutions and more

With all of the solutions that we have discussed, the ability to improve your customer relationship management starts with figuring out which of these dynamic solutions is going to deliver all of the improvements that you need.

In addition to having total customer relationship management at your fingertips, Smith.ai will ensure that you have 24/7 call support for your customers, outbound calling solutions, and virtual receptionists that can even handle scheduling and appointment setting for your automotive repairs, service appointments, or even sales appointments.

Our goal is to ensure that you have all of the solutions that you need to deliver the ultimate customer experience, and at the least amount of expense and hassle to your business. Whether it’s taking customer feedback from phone surveys, answering customer questions, or even handling all incoming calls, we really can help take your customer service to the next level.

Contact the team at Smith.ai today to schedule a free consultation via email: hello@smith.ai. You can also check out our plans and pricing over on our plans and pricing page, or give us a call at (650) 727-6484 to ask questions or discuss your needs.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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