In early 2001, I joined The Cobalt Group as a Product Manager. The Cobalt Group provides ebusiness solutions to the automotive industry. It has market share leadership in providing web, CRM, and other marketing-focused services to automotive dealers as well as sixteen automotive manufacturers marketed in North America.

As a product manger for the Dealer Advisory Services team, my mission was to bring solutions to market that were targeted toward helping dealerships improve their effectiveness in Internet sales and service.

Executing this mission led to three products that I developed and managed.

eMystery Shopping
The eMystery shopping service is directed at measuring how well dealerships communicate with their Internet customers. Adapting traditional blind shopping to the Internet, eMystery uses quantitative and qualitative metrics to help client management measure effectiveness.

The service yields valuable information to automotive industry leaders. Demand frequently exceeds ability to deliver.

While eMystery helps management understand the level of effective communication between dealers and customers, the service doesn’t address why a dealership or an organization isn’t operating at peak.

Our product solution became a web-based diagnostic tool that would assess a dealership's level of readiness to compete for Internet market share.

ROI Calculator
Over time, automotive dealerships have developed basic business tools to manage customer leads and sales that come from traditional sources. Internet marketing resulted in unique tracking and evaluation requirements that taxed the capabilities of the legacy tools. Based on the standard of plan-track-review, the ROI Calculator is architected solely for Internet lead and sales management.
First known as Snapshot and later as the eDealer Performance Assessment, this solution determines the deficiency areas that were holding an organization from achieving superior results. Once specific impediments to success are identified, the tool aids the user in building custom action plans that are used to improve performance. Coupled with eMystery, this solution gives the customer the tools to both measure and significantly improve results over time. Sales to several leading automotive companies prove we are on the right track.
Three integrated modules allow the dealer to set financial goals, track lead sources and sales productivity, evaluate actual results, and make corrections. After initial development and product placement, much of the product design and business logic were incorporated into the company's flagship CRM offering. A standalone solution is still offered to those customers who opt for something other than Cobalt's CRM solution.