It used to be that when people were in the market for a new car, traditional advertising was key in drawing potential customers to a dealership’s floor. But that was then – and as Luis Ernesto Hernández Aguirre, Corporate Manager of Marketing for Dalton, says, “People don’t make decisions because of advertisements anymore.”

Dalton began in 1945 in a very different industry: textile manufacturing. Over time, Dalton grew to include the commercial, real estate, and financial sectors – in 1984, it began to sell Honda motorcycles, and in 1995 expanded to automobiles.

Today, Dalton has 22 auto dealerships in Mexico, located across 4 cities:

  • Mexico City
  • Guadalajara
  • San Luis Potosí

30 years after selling its first Honda motorcycle, Dalton realized that the way people make purchases had changed — and if the company didn’t want to be left behind, it needed to change too. Car sales were flat and, as Luis says, “We had to open our eyes before it was too late.”

In 1995, when Dalton started to sell Honda cars, print ads like this (featuring the art of Keith Haring) helped control the marketing narrative. Today, customers decide if they will carry a business’s story forward, based on personal experience (Source: adage.com).

But resistance to even crucially needed change can be hard to overcome: How could Dalton get their dealerships to evolve a decades-old approach to sales and marketing?

Today, Dalton is 1st in sales in Mexico for nearly every brand they represent, and account for 10% of the entire country’s market share for both Toyota and Honda.

Dalton Auto brands

Keep reading to learn how Dalton:

  • Changed not only their own sales and marketing, but their entire industry’s approach business
  • Found the right CRM for their needs – and increased auto sales by 100% in just one month
  • Collaborated with the ActiveCampaign support team to build a successful digital sales process
  • Built an app with ActiveCampaign’s API to help sales reps quickly connect with leads

“In 1 month we saw better results than in the previous 2 years of using another CRM.”

81% of consumers want businesses to get to know them: People want a personalized shopping experience.

The more that you understand your buyer’s journey, the more you can target your marketing. And the more you can target your marketing, the more you’ll attract high-quality leads.

buyer's journey

Research shows that 67% of the buyer’s journey is done digitally (Source: SiriusDecisions).

With that in mind, Dalton shifted its focus to digital marketing in 2015. To better align their sales strategy, they signed a 3-year contract with an enterprise CRM software company in 2016.

“We tried to establish this CRM in our sales process, but we immediately had so many problems with it,” Miguel says. “It was expensive. It was complicated. We needed a lot of support and their team didn’t help solve our needs.”

Two years into their 3-year contract, Dalton didn’t see the results they’d been told they’d see. Frustrated, they started to research other CRM solutions. One of their marketing team members recommended the ActiveCampaign sales automation CRM.

They decided to trial ActiveCampaign: What difference, if any, did they see in their sales?

“We completely changed our conversion rate with ActiveCampaign. Before ActiveCampaign, we only sold about 20 cars a month. In our first month with ActiveCampaign, we sold over 200 cars. That’s a 10X increase.

But what was so different about ActiveCampaign that it led to such a remarkable increase in sales?

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Dalton’s impressive results were built on a strong foundation: ActiveCampaign’s success team and support resources.

Miguel Angel Horta Camacho, Dalton’s Database Specialist, explains, “The implementation was quick and easy. With our first CRM, we had to hire an outside expert to run it. With ActiveCampaign, we do it ourselves. That’s because the support is very personalized to our needs.”

ActiveCampaign Pipeline training video

How do you learn best? Whether it’s through video, written guides, or in-person sessions, ActiveCampaign has a solution tailored to every learning style (and schedule).

“I’m very satisfied with the attention and service offered by Activecampaign,” Miguel adds. “Being able to contact an expert via chat to advise you and help you solve any problem is key.”

ActiveCampaign’s support resources include:

  • One-on-one training. Personalized training and consulting can be tailored to your business needs
  • Videos and guides. Help Center video walkthroughs, help guides, and blog articles help you get started quickly.
  • Community. Collaborate and learn from other ActiveCampaign users
  • Live support. Support is available when you need it, and in the medium you prefer it — email, live chat, or by phone call.

“That’s in addition to the fact that we started with the support of an account executive, who provided service immediately,” says Miguel. “I really like the attention they give to each problem and how they provide a solution — and if they don’t have the answer, they refer us to another department that can solve our concern as soon as possible.”

Erick Maldonado is Dalton’s Account Manager. “When Dalton purchased a third account with us, Cristina Espinoza (ActiveCampaign’s Inbound Account Executive-LATAM) and I flew down to train their team on best practices. Essentially, it was like an ActiveCampaign Study Hall — but more personalized for their team. They have become an extended part of our ActiveCampaign family. We’ll jump at the opportunity to fly down and see them again.”

We want to help you get more out of ActiveCampaign: Our Study Halls bring ActiveCampaign experts and staff to a city near you, so you can focus on growing your business.

“I probably talk to Miguel and his team multiple times a month,” says Erick, “depending on the amount of actionables they need help with.”

“You can’t wait for people to come in off the street to buy a car.”

How much staff does it take to support 22 dealerships? A lot: Dalton has over 250 sales reps — and all of them use ActiveCampaign to track and manage their deals.

How does Dalton train a new salesperson to use ActiveCampaign?

“There are often changes in the sales team, so we train the team coordinator at every dealership to use ActiveCampaign and they train the sales reps,” Luis says. “That’s why we like how very easy it is to use ActiveCampaign. Miguel can use ActiveCampaign at an advanced level, but our sales team needs it to be easy.”

The sales team needs an easy-to-learn solution because they don’t have time to decipher a complicated CRM: They have interested leads to follow up with now.

How does Dalton’s sales team get new leads? Through:

  • Website and landing page forms
  • Whatsapp messaging
  • Facebook
  • Phone calls and texts
Whatsapp for Business

What’s with Whatsapp? 93% of mobile users in Mexico use the messaging app – making Whatsapp Business a popular marketing tool, and a common way for sales teams to get new leads. Over 57% of small businesses in Mexico say WhatsApp has helped grow their business (Source: Statista).

Miguel says it’s crucial to keep info on leads in one tool, because Dalton’s personalized email campaigns are triggered within the CRM. Dalton creates automations that send follow-up emails to a customer when they move from one Deal stage to another within a sales pipeline.

Dalton sales pipeline

A sales pipeline is the steps you take to turn a potential customer into a paying customer. Sales pipelines show you how many open deals you have and which deals need attention.

What are Dalton’s sales pipeline stages? They include:

  1. New Lead
  2. Activated Lead
  3. Appointment Scheduled
  4. Activated Appointment
  5. Hot Customer (they have credit approval)
  6. Customers that want to buy 1-3 months
  7. Cold Leads (not lost, they just don’t want to buy right now)

Dalton has multiple tasks within each stage that can be assigned to a sales rep. Tasks are to-do items created for contacts and deals. Dalton’s include action items like:

  • Make a call
  • Send a WhatsApp message
  • Make an appointment
sales pipeline automation

How can sales automation help you sell more in less time? Sometimes manual tasks eat at your calendar. Other times contacts slip out of your funnel. A sales automation CRM keeps your entire sales process moving smoothly.

“Our sales team uses tasks as a scheduling tool,” says Miguel. “They really like how it keeps their deals organized as they move from stage to stage.”

What’s an example of an email campaign that’s triggered when a lead moves from one pipeline stage to another?

Dalton email campaign

Dalton creates automated nurture campaigns for the deals that aren’t quite ready to close.

If a lead has not responded to follow-up communications, they are eventually moved into the “Cold Lead” pipeline stage, which triggers the “Cold Lead” email automation.

  1. The automation sends an email drip campaign, each one scheduled every 5 days.
  2. If a lead clicks on an email button, they move to the “Activated Lead” stage and are treated as a new customer.
  3. They are automatically removed from the “Cold Lead” automation, so they no longer receive emails that aren’t relevant to them.
  4. The sales rep Deal owner reaches out to the newly “Activated Lead” to provide personal attention and service.

ActiveCampaign empowers sales reps to seek out sales, instead of waiting for leads to come through the door.TWEET THIS!!

When leads do come through the door, how does Dalton use ActiveCampaign so customers not only get prompt service, but also receive the right personalized follow-ups?

“If you’re not quick, you lose a lot of clients. The Deals app makes it easier.”

When you’re on a sales floor, you can’t excuse yourself from potential customers so you can hop onto a computer and enter deal data into a CRM. Dalton’s sales reps needed a solution that went where they went — like a way to manage deals through their phones.

ActiveCampaign Mobile App

Customers won’t wait for when it’s convenient for you. Don’t have the dev skills to build an API solution? The ActiveCampaign mobile app lets you work when (and where) you need to.

What solution did Dalton create that worked for their sales reps’ specific needs?

“We developed a mobile app using ActiveCampaign’s API,” explains Miguel. “We call it Deals. This app lets our sales reps work on the go.”

An application programming interface (API) lets one application talk to another. You can build custom native apps to enhance the capabilities of ActiveCampaign by integrating data and events from other tools, so the connection between ActiveCampaign and your custom apps are seamless.

ActiveCampaign API app

ActiveCampaign invites developers to create apps like Dalton’s “Deals” app. Native apps change the way businesses create amazing, one-to-one personalized experiences to deepen meaningful relationships with customers.

How does Dalton’s custom-built Deals mobile app work?

  1. A sales rep receives (or enters) a new lead in ActiveCampaign
  2. The data is automatically sent to their Deal mobile app (via push notification)
  3. The sales rep provides immediate service to the new lead:
    • They call them directly
    • They trigger the right automated follow-up email, based on what the new lead wants to purchase
  4. Updated data is pushed back into ActiveCampaign to ensure all notes and emails are saved in the pipeline deal itself

“First contact is the hardest part. Because you have one opportunity to contact potential customers quickly. If you’re not quick, you lose a lot of clients. The Deals app makes it easier.”

When sales and marketing are aligned, people qualify themselves. 80% of marketers and 70% of sales reps rank “strong alignment between sales and marketing” as important to their company’s success.

A sales CRM with automation stops tasks from piling up on your desk (or computer). When you automate lead prioritization and contact management, you have more time to sell.

“It was important for us to implement a CRM that’s simple to use, but at the same time is very powerful and capable, because we’re not just changing the mentality of our salespeople,” Luis says. “We’re changing how you sell new and pre-owned cars. ActiveCampaign has helped us make that leap — and the results speak for themselves.”