However, things can get in the way of this – such as compliance responsibilities or ensuring that sales and F&I processes are both effective and consistent. Barriers to success can also include the perennial problem of how to integrate the multitude of dealer F&I systems into a single coherent approach.
Under the leadership of managing director Andy Shuter, Frontline Solutions, the F&I solutions gurus based in Wakefield, has spent the last 10 years developing and fine-tuning software and systems that not only address these common issues, but consistently demonstrate that it is possible to achieve substantial and sustainable increases in process efficiencies and overall profitability.
This month sees Frontline Solutions move things to the next level, with a new website, brand refresh and a powerful message to take to the industry. With investment in new key staff and systems, Frontline is perfectly positioned to assist car dealers with the F&I/sales challenges they currently face.
‘Until now, Frontline Solutions has been mostly recognised for providing the award-winning DealTrak123 system,’ Martin Hill, national sales manager at Frontline, explains. ‘However, the company offers so much more than just this one solution.
‘We also provide business critical systems to more than 80 per cent of the motor finance brokers in the UK, as well as being the first company in the UK to provide innovations such as credit screening for both web and showroom customers.’
Hill continues: ‘The future will continue to bring challenges for the industry with regard to maximising every sales opportunity. Frontline is helping hundreds of dealers across the UK improve their efficiencies with their lender and broker partners.
‘Our technologies and systems act as a central ‘‘hub and spoke’’ model, allowing a dealer to have one central system that seamlessly connects to their chosen F&I providers. This feature alone has saved our clients countless hours of wasted time re-keying customer/vehicle data into a multitude of different systems.
‘One client was using 24 different systems throughout their sales process, each system with its own log-in details and passwords! We have helped them reduce this burden by more than 50 per cent. The added advantage is that in many instances we are also capable of integrating manufacturer finance schemes into our systems, resulting in an even more rounded solution.’
Hill outlines one recent development that illustrates how keen Frontline is to lessen the dealer burden of multiple systems.‘We recently integrated the Aviva Driveaway Insurance solution into our DealTrak123 system. This allows a dealer to register and apply for the Driveaway policy without having to re-key customer or vehicle information. ‘Again, it’s one less system for the dealer to have to enter data into.
‘The client list is impressive – from top 100 groups such as Bristol Street, Stoneacre and Perrys to used car supermarkets such as Car Shop, The Car People and Trade Centre Wales. However, Hill is keen to stress that the benefits of working with Frontline are available to all sizes of car dealer.’
The benefits scale up or down very well,’ he explains. ‘We have clients that sell thousands of vehicles a month, and clients that sell just a few. The important point is that the issues faced by all car dealers, regardless of size, are consistent.’
Many dealers use a Dealer Management System or CRM system. The providers of these systems can now take advantage of Frontline’s ‘Rosetta’ service, which allows all of the features and benefits offered by Frontline to be seamlessly integrated into the DMS/CRM system. The effects are transformational.
‘Dealers that use these DMS/CRM systems will experience incredible functionality within an interface that they are already familiar with. This means that there is less resistance to change, and the system is more easily incorporated into the dealer’s business processes,’ Hill explains.
‘It is now no longer the case that a dealer has no option when it comes to choosing the look and feel of the DealTrak123 system. If they wish, they can totally customise the look and feel of things using the Rosetta service.’ With dealers looking to maximise lead generation (especially finance-related leads), Frontline is keen to share its successes in their area.
‘Creating a seamless lead generation process between the dealer’s website and the showroom is an area of crucial importance,’ Hill maintains. ‘We can assist dealers with ways of generating genuine leads from their website where the customer can be credit screened without leaving a footprint on their credit file.
‘This functionality, in conjunction with automatic filtering rules that are built into our solution engine, allows a customer to be forwarded to the lender more likely to accept the finance proposal. This means that Frontline will also be assisting clients with their obligations under the Consumer Credit Directive, as they will be able to demonstrate that they have systems and controls in place to ensure customers are treated fairly.’
The benefits of credit screening are also available within the showroom, via either the DealTrak123 system or the Rosetta service. The screening service is easily incorporated into any sales process, and is backed up with in-depth management information to monitor effectiveness.
The future looks bright for Frontline Solutions, with growth into new verticals such as the leisure industry also in progress. The emphasis on holistic solutions, backed up with a deep understanding of the issues faced by dealers today, will continue to set Frontline apart from other businesses.
‘We are not just a software house providing off- the shelf systems,’ says Hill. ‘Frontline will utilise their 10 years of experience to provide clients with F&I solutions that are not only tailored to the way they sell cars, but also draw on our expertise in areas such as compliance, process improvement and sales.’
As with any initiative, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So do the solutions provided by Frontline really add a genuine return on investment? The answer, explains Hill, is a resounding yes. ‘Many of our clients are willing to act as testimonials for the positive impact we have on their businesses.
‘We have case studies and metrics that demonstrate substantial bottom-line gains, all backed up with real-time management information.’