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Clancy Harrip
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Start-up offers car dealers simple & effective solutions to increase sales

By now, we all know that the automotive industry will see a radical change over the next few years. The technological innovations already being seen in new vehicles - such as autonomous safety features, all-electric cars and a legion of others - are just the tip of the iceberg.

However, that technology and innovation is found not just in the vehicles themselves. As MTA Queensland revealed through its Carmageddon symposiums, technological advances will shape not only the products, but how businesses work and how they interact with customers. Connectivity will one day allow workshops to be in contact with a customer’s vehicle at all times, perhaps allowing for early detection of faults; 3D printing will allow parts to be manufactured quickly and on-demand; and through virtual reality and augmented reality, a customer can view, even ‘test drive’, a vehicle from the comfort of home.

This technological evolution is being driven not only by the big industry players but by small, nimble companies – start-ups that are defined by an entrepreneurial spirit and potentially game-changing concepts and ideas.

It is a combination of the larger vehicle technological revolution and the innovative thinking of smaller businesses that has seen MTA Queensland invest in the development of an automotive-focused innovation hub – a centre located at the Association’s HQ that is designed to not only help develop innovative ideas into viable business propositions, but also assist established start-ups advance and expand their businesses.

One such start-up is Contact2Sale, or C2S.

The company was founded in Brazil in 2016 by Bruno Yukihara and Fernando Vallocci, with Pedro Ayres joining as a technical partner at the end of that year.
As one of the first businesses to be part of the Queensland Government’s Hot DesQ program that encourages and assists start-ups to locate to the state, Contact2sale has developed a simple and effective lead management solution aimed at helping smaller vehicle retailers become truly competitive.

The system ensures leads (whether they come via walk-ins, email, phone call or via website), and all associated information such as customer contact details, are gathered in one place and that a salesperson is notified within seconds of a lead’s arrival. The system packages the notification in such a way that a salesperson can contact the potential customer immediately with all relevant information on hand. It further ensures that a lead can never be lost as it requires the salesperson to physically ‘close’ the lead when the sale has been made.

It is a simple-to-use, efficient system, tailored to the Australian automotive market, that can be installed in minutes and is intuitive enough that little to no training is required.

Already in use in Brazil – where 36 car dealerships use the system to manage more than 6000 leads per month – C2S is currently being trialled with several Queensland dealers, and Mr Yukihara said that the response from clients had been very positive. 

“The feedback has been great,” he said. “Companies using the product have stated it really has helped them be better organised and generate more sales. One of our clients reported a 35 per cent increase in sales in the first month using C2S.

“Leads are delivered quickly to salespeople – in less than 10 seconds,” he added. “When you respond swiftly to customers, it is a very good start to the negotiation because they feel well served.

“The system also makes sure that every lead is organised so you can’t lose track of them and forces every lead to be closed, making sure none are left behind,” he added. “These two things combined – never losing a lead and being able to answer a lead quickly – impact sales.”

It is the C2S system’s simplicity and ease-of-use, added Mr Yukihara, that sets it apart from other Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and makes it an ideal tool for smaller dealerships. 

“Simplicity is key,” he said. “Small companies usually have fewer resources but with the right tools and technology they can be competitive. And the right tools are the simple and effective ones.”

The concept of C2S, and its development, highlights the entrepreneurial spirit which is so critical to the evolving automotive industry – an innovative idea, a solution to a recognisable problem, plenty of hard work and enthusiasm, and a willingness to take a chance.

“Fernando and I had been working in Brazil with the automotive and real estate industries for many years and we identified a common situation,” said Mr Yukihara.

“We saw that businesses were investing big money to reach out to customers but, when the leads came in, they didn’t have a proper tool to manage those leads and convert them into sales. 

“Smaller companies especially were using email to manage hundreds of negotiations per month and were struggling to keep track of them with as many as 30 per cent not even getting a response. We could see they didn’t have the resources to develop their own solutions or customise more complicated solutions to themselves, so they ended up not having a solution at all. I could see we could use technology to come up with a solution to this lead management problem.”

That problem was not unique to Brazil. Travelling to Australia in 2016 revealed it existed in more developed markets too and the C2S team decided to see if their system might also find a home in the Australian market. It was during this period that the Queensland government’s interest in fostering innovative concepts, and helping such businesses relocate to the state through the Hot DesQ program, was established. 

“I talked to businesses in Australia to see if they had this problem and I also got involved with events and entrepreneurial activities to understand the support we might have from the government,” said Mr Yukihara. “I attended an event called the Innovation and Investment Summit and it was at this event that the Premier launched Hot DesQ. I knew that this was exactly what we were looking for – a program that could support us to come to Australia.

"I had a conversation with the coordinators of the program and they saw us as a perfect fit and asked us to apply. I think the fact that we came to Australia and spent our own money and resources to understand the market demonstrated our concrete interest to the judging panel and helped us in the selection process. 

"I think the entrepreneurial path sometimes requires taking risks. Although we couldn’t predict the outcome, we took the risk to come here and research the market and the outcome ended up being amazing. It’s important for a entrepreneur to be bold and take some risks because they can bring unexpected positive outcomes too.”

C2S will soon be a tenant of the MTA Queensland Innovation Hub, and the C2S system is now available to Australian dealerships. There are no set-up costs, just a monthly subscription fee.

“What we deliver is a plug-and-play product,” said Mr Yukihara. “We deliver a solution that is ready to use and we believe Australian businesses, including MTA Queensland members, can really benefit from it and be truly competitive.”

ProHonda Moorooka and ProMotorcycles Sunshine Coast are the first two dealerships, and MTA Queensland members, to install and use C2S and the effect on sales has been very positive. 

“C2S is definitely impacting positively on our sales,” said Jason Conroy, manager at ProHonda. “It is training the sales staff to have more urgency. I push them hard, but sometimes just seeing it themselves can be better. I would strongly recommend C2S.”

Through its partnership with MTA Queensland, Contact2sale has a special offer for Association members. The first 10 members to implement the C2S solution will get a free one-month trial plus a 30 per cent discount for three months.  

If you are interested in increasing sales through the use of a simple-to-use digital solution, visit www.c2sglobal.com and contact the Contact2Sales team. 

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