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The Do’s and Don’ts of Dealership Data

To compete in today’s highly competitive automotive retail market, simply having access to customer data isn’t enough to identify, engage and win buyers. Dealers need to take a more intelligent approach to conquesting new customers and building customer loyalty.

Utilizing comprehensive technology and working with trusted data partners empowers dealers to take a more proactive approach. By identifying and engaging customers before they return to market, dealers can stay top-of-mind with prospects and ultimately win more customers with interactions tailored to each unique buyer journey.

To achieve this sort of sustainable success and long-term profitability, dealers need to prioritize data activation through strong integrations, without compromising data security or their customers’ privacy.

Based on our recent NADA webinar, this blog post will outline the do’s and don’ts for dealership data, including:

●  Activation

●  Integration

●  Security


DO: Invest in Data Quality

In the case of dealership data, it’s important dealers don’t prioritize quantity over quality. Having a rich database of leads and customer data is only valuable if those insights are accurate and actionable. The quality of your dealership data ultimately decides the quality of your dealership’s marketing efforts.

To avoid wasting time marketing to out-of-market, unqualified or otherwise “bad” leads, it’s important to ensure your dealership’s insights are:

  •  Accurate: Standardize how your team collects data and ensure managers are checking for accuracy. Automate as much as possible to reduce human error.
  • Complete: Look past siloed datasets like standalone equity mining tools in exchange for a more comprehensive approach.
  •  Consistent: Integrate your tools and datasets to automate the flow of information from platform to platform. This supports cohesive customer journey mapping.
  • Timely: Comprehensive, accurate and consistent data is only valuable if it’s relevant. Ensuring your customer data is robust and up to date is critical to your success.

DON’T: Rely Solely on First-Party Data

While your dealership’s CRM is an OK place to start when it comes to optimizing your sales and marketing efforts, this is just a starting point.

Your CRM acts as a reactive database, containing first-party data. First-party, in short, is the data that belongs to you and is stored in your:

  • CRM 
  • DMS
  • Other dealership platforms

This data encompasses various aspects ranging from customers’ purchase and maintenance history to their clicks and actions on your website.

However, once this data is entered, it quickly becomes outdated, necessitating reliance on third-party sources to ensure ongoing accuracy and relevancy. By layering in high-quality third-party data like demographics or financial insights, dealers are empowered to:

Read more:
4 Types of Automotive Data to Help You Sell More Cars


DO: Prioritize personalized customer communication

In today’s competitive market, taking a data-driven approach to dealership sales and marketing efforts is key to winning conquest customers, as well as proactively defending against customer defection. In a recent vehicle buyer study, 31% of respondents said the seamlessness of their customer experience influenced their last vehicle purchase. 34% said they would have bought a different car if their CX had been more seamless and personalized.

In the current automotive landscape, dealerships must prioritize personalization at every interaction with buyers. This includes:

  • Tailoring sales and F&I offers 
  • Providing personalized service experiences 
  • Maintaining ongoing communication to foster customer loyalty

DON’T: Lock your data away in a CRM/DMS

Without access to the data stored in your CRM, DMS and sales platform, achieving personalization in your dealership’s sales and marketing endeavors becomes an impossible task.

However, forward-thinking dealerships are capitalizing on the power of predictive marketing technology to unlock this data and prioritize their customer outreach, personalize their messaging and maximize their profitability.

To ensure seamless integration and identify any areas of optimization, it’s essential to evaluate your tech stack and ensure all components are aligned and working harmoniously. Similarly, fostering a culture of transparency and collaboration is crucial, as all partners involved should be willing to share data and insights to collectively support your overarching goals.

Remember, they are there to work for you, and transparency is the key to success from operations to personnel.


DON’T: Overlook the importance of data security

To safeguard your dealership from potential losses, it’s vital to recognize that knowledge is power. This awareness should extend to your entire team, encompassing all employees who utilize dealership tools that rely on customer data.

By ensuring that your team is well-informed and equipped with the necessary knowledge, you can enhance your dealership’s ability to protect sensitive customer information and mitigate the risks associated with data breaches or mishandling of data.

Similarly, it’s important you don’t assume your data partners are putting the same emphasis on data security.

DO: Partner with third-party vendors who go the extra mile!

There are a ton of questions you should ask your vendors to identify any data security risks. When assessing your data partners, start by asking:

  • Where is your data? ​
  • How is it being handled? ​
  • When are third-party vendors accessing it?​
  • ​Are they handling it the same way you are?​
  • ​Does the relationship overshadow their due diligence process?

If your technology partners do not prioritize the same level of data security, you run the risk of compromising your customers’ data, consequently jeopardizing your entire business. It’s crucial to consider the implications and prioritize robust data security practices when selecting your technology vendors or data partners. Start by asking questions such as:

  • How frequently do you update your data? How do you verify the quality of your data?
  • Is your data properly obtained? Which laws, regulations and industry guidelines do you comply with?
  • Was the data sourced from online or offline channels? If offline, what type(s) of match keys do you use to verify consumer identity?
  • Are your audiences sourced from “known” data signals? If you modeled your data, what was the objective?


Today’s complex automotive market requires dealers to sell smarter and take a targeted approach to identifying and engaging prospective customers. This is more than simply having access to customer data.

To truly understand their customers and identify all their available sales opportunities, dealers need to leverage comprehensive insights fueled by platform integrations and partnerships with trusted data providers.

Want to learn how Mastermind can help your dealership leverage a unified view of customer buying behaviors to fuel personalized marketing campaigns? Contact us for a free demo.