SAN FRANCISCO -- DealerSocket, a leading provider of customer relationship management software to dealers, bought website company DealerFire last month because customers wanted web services too, said DealerSocket CEO Jonathan Ord.
"We were losing deals because we didn't have a website" product, Ord said during an interview at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here last month.
About 1,000 dealerships use DealerFire's website products to market to customers digitally, show inventory and interact with the factory, Ord said.
Those capabilities fit naturally with CRM software, which identifies customers and sales prospects for sales and service, then is used as a platform for marketing to those prospects via phone, text, direct mail or other digital medium.
Ord said DealerSocket paid cash for DealerFire. He declined to reveal details.
DealerSocket has 4,000 franchised dealerships and 500 independent used-car stores that use its CRM software, Ord said.
Of DealerFire's 1,000 website customers, only a third are also DealerSocket customers, he said. So DealerSocket can seek CRM contracts with the other two-thirds, while pursuing website and CRM business nationally, he said.
DealerSocket is one of four finalists to become the sole CRM vendor at FordDirect, a joint venture of Ford Motor Co. and its dealerships.
Being selected would give it a major endorsement to offer CRM software to Ford Motor's 3,200 U.S. dealerships at a discounted price, Ord said.
As dealerships look to do business with fewer vendors with comprehensive product portfolios, DealerSocket intends to seek more acquisitions, Ord said.
He said the company is doing due diligence on four possible deals, but he declined to name the targets.