For many people, buying a car is a rite of passage, a symbol of newfound freedom. For those with physical limitations, access to the right vehicle is more than a symbol — it’s the key to a vastly improved quality of life. MobilityWorks has staked its claim in the automotive industry as the largest dealer of wheelchair-accessible vans in the United States. But the people who work for MobilityWorks don’t measure success by the number of cars they sell. They prefer to count the number of lives they’ve improved.
MobilityWorks built its business around helping customers find wheelchair-accessible vehicles and other mobility solutions to fit their individual needs. But the company faces the challenge of getting the word out in a niche market that comprises less than 0.5% of Americans. People don’t think about buying a vehicle with a scooter lift or deployable ramp until they need one. When the time comes, though, would-be buyers of accessible vehicles require more than a showroom and sticker price to make good decisions; education, training, and community are important parts of a sales lifecycle that often extends to a full year.
Jeff Smith, director of information technology, has seen a change in the demographics of his customers in only three years in the accessible vehicles industry. Americans as a population are getting older, and they also expect better quality of life as they age than previous generations did. “People don’t want to sit in the house and watch TV. They want to live as normal a life as possible,” Smith said. These lifestyle changes are driving growth across the industry. As such, MobilityWorks is seizing this opportunity to expand — the company is the largest dealer of accessible vehicles in the U.S., having doubled in size over the last two years with 57 locations in 20 states. But as Smith pointed out, most auto-industry technology platforms aren’t built with his company’s unique needs in mind.
Increased flexibility, decreased cost
When Smith and his team set out to find a technology platform that could handle their sales needs, they evaluated leading auto-industry dealer management systems (DMS) but knew they needed something more. “We’re a niche solution. We don’t just put mud flaps on a car,” he said. “Our clients may require a variety of mobility options to be added to a vehicle to make it usable for their individual needs.” Most DMS platforms aren’t designed to handle this level of customization on every transaction. Smith also wanted a system that could handle — or at least integrate with — MobilityWorks’ growing marketing needs.
At first, Smith considered Salesforce, but only as a marketing engine to “bolt on” to a DMS. He put out a request for proposals and received some eye-opening price quotes. Then he came across DealerTeam on AppExchange. “DealerTeam was a new company, but I was impressed by its industry knowledge and integration with the Salesforce platform,” Smith recalled. “I quickly found out that it could do more for less than the big auto dealer management systems.” DealerTeam created and implemented a Salesforce-based solution that cost Smith one-tenth of what one of the leading DMS companies quoted him for first-year rollout costs. The system affords Smith and his colleagues much more flexibility to track client needs and add functionality on the fly as MobilityWorks grows.
MobilityWorks now runs a Salesforce solution that includes Sales Cloud and Pardot along with DealerTeam. Smith started by implementing Sales Cloud for his commercial sales team, who sells accessibility solutions to nursing homes, schools, and government facilities. He said remote team members had been tracking activity “with a whiteboard and one Excel spreadsheet synced across 20 people” on weekly conference calls. This led to problems with bad data and inefficiencies throughout the sales process. Today, commercial sales uses Sales Cloud to manage all quotes, manage price changes, and gain full visibility into pipeline and metrics via customized dashboards. Early results are quite promising, with reps winning business in as little as 10 minutes that would have taken a full day or two on the old system.
The company’s lead-generation process also got a much-needed overhaul courtesy of marketing automation from Pardot. Launched in MobilityWorks’ Chicago business center in April 2015, Pardot replaced a single email inbox that was gathering 500 emails a day — 400 of which Smith estimates were spam. Today, leads generated via the company website flow through Pardot into Salesforce, yielding a much higher rate of qualified leads. Pardot also gives company marketers access to real-time metrics, something most automotive digital management systems can’t offer.
Efficiencies that create room to grow
In less than a year using the Customer Success Platform, MobilityWorks has reaped tangible benefits. Commercial sales reps are winning business faster with the help of Sales Cloud’s centralized management of deals. Lead generation from the MobilityWorks website results in more qualified leads and less spam thanks to Pardot, which enables scoring prospects based on actions taken and repeat visits, creating drip campaigns, and more automated functionality. Pardot’s Wistia connector also lets MobilityWorks’ marketing team track video marketing efforts with real-time performance data. And, going with DealerTeam from AppExchange saved the company tens of thousands of dollars right off the bat versus comparable auto-industry systems. MobilityWorks has plans to continue its growth over the next three years. Smith sees Salesforce as an integral part of that plan, enabling the company to launch new locations quickly and keep all of its vital records on one scalable system.
“I’m going to have to onboard new users and locations quickly and efficiently as MobilityWorks continues to grow,” he said. “But our corporate goal is to provide a mobility solution to everybody who calls us or comes through our door. That’s what Salesforce is going to help us do.”