What is The Difference Between a DMS & CRM – Do You Need Them Both?


If you’re working in or around the automotive sector, you will have undoubtedly heard the acronym, DMS or Dealer Management System.

What is DMS?

Traditionally, DMS (Dealer Management System) is a software platform automotive dealers use for managing their vehicle inventory, customer information, credit reports, and printing paperwork.

A DMS in many ways was considered the “back-end” part of running a dealership, and as such, the software was often overlooked. Out of date, cumbersome platforms creating a love-hate relationship for dealers and their DMS systems.

What is CRM?

On the other end, CRM, or Customer Relationship Management is a software tool used to manage a company’s interaction with current and potential customers. It uses data analysis about customers’ history with a company to improve business relationships with customers, focusing specifically on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth.

Customer Relationship Management software has fast become the hub of most businesses, providing everything from sales management to customer support to marketing automation.

In today’s market, automotive CRM software provides a scope of features and functionalities significantly larger than DMS systems of old, positioning automotive CRM’s as the operational dashboard or omnichannel for dealerships.

Features include:

  • Inventory Management
  • Parts & Services Monitoring
  • Sales Processes & Deal Management
  • Leasing & Financials
  • Marketing Processes
  • Contact / Data Management
  • After Sales / Upselling
  • Grouping of Sales Teams / Locations
  • Client History
  • Customer Support

Do you need them both?

So the question then arises, will the DMS become a secondary platform; a plugin to the integrated CRM dashboard?

If one were to compare the time of configuration, as well as associated costs of each of the above processes, against an integrated CRM platform – the answer would likely be yes.  

CRM (integrated with an existing DMS) will provide dealerships, not only a superior operating system but also assist them in taking a major step forward in productivity, customer service and ultimately, profitability.

Would you like to know more about how a CRM could fit your automotive business? Click here for more information.