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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

For some time I wanted to write about Marketing, Sales and Service in Automotive with a special focus on the needs of the Manufacturer (OEM) and the Retailers (dealers).  But finding the right balance between fact and fiction with the proper level of detail/granularity is not so easy.  Therefore I decided to start simple with the end customer journey. (Of course, there are also so many other journeys, corporate, fleet, B2B and many, many more)

Let me introduce you to Mr. Miller.  Mr. Miller knows that his car is nearing the end of its life.  (End of life can take several meaning…mechanically wearing out or just time for a change).  Mr. Miller is around 40, married with his wife Hanna, two kids, a dog and cat.  With this in mind he begins thinking about a worthy replacement for his good old, loved and loyal van.

His research takes him to various Automotive Manufacturer websites, third party websites, vehicle magazines and other publications and press and social media coverage.  Simply spoken he avails himself of all possible information from all available channels from print to digital media, and even visits the dealer.

Of course, the dealer knows Mr. Miller very well even before he enters the store. Due to the fact that the manufacturer shares Mr. Miller’s latest profile (generated by his recent “consumer journey”) with the preferred dealer, Mr. Miller’s expectations are known. Now Mr. Miller is happy that the dealer is perfectly prepared for his visit.

Since Mr. Miller is also very well prepared based on his research of the vast amount of information available in the digital age, he goes for a test drive with his family to decide if the vehicle of interest is indeed the one to buy.  As it meets all of his selection criteria very nicely, he orders the vehicle of his choice of options and color.

When the vehicle arrives, Mr. Miller again visits the dealer to pick up his new car.  During the delivery, Mr. Miller and his family are invited to join the OEM “Driver Community” to share experiences with the new vehicle and compare the vehicles performance, comfort and economy with other drives of similar vehicles.

Thanks to the built in connectivity of the vehicle, Mr. Miller can control the vehicle performance and other aspect of the vehicles operation and interior appearance with a mobile app.  What fun, even the kids are enthusiastic about the entertaining features of the new car!  Even Mr. Miller finds it amusing to compete with his neighbor about who is the most “sustainable” driver!

The kids are especially excited about buying and consuming videos, games and music in the OEM community store with “loyalty points”.  And naturally they relish the idea of being able to consume the content in the car or by mobile app…makes the “are we there yet?” question fade away!

And Mr. Miller is able to impress his wife Hanna with executive parking spaces, waiting for them when visiting the next sports event or shopping, again enabled by the connected car.

Even fueling is more convenient than in the past. Just drive to the gas pump and refuel. The car pays the bill and the loyalty counter is increased again.

These are just a few examples of a customer journey. And there are many, many more.

Now, what does this mean for the aftersales organization of the OEM who is responsible for Marketing, Sales and Customer Service?

The need to have insight into each and every prospect that contacts the Brand is to ensure a consistent and seamless customer experience across all channels (i.e. mobile, web, social, apps, phone, mail, chat, etc.).

Done right - the manufacturer (OEM) or dealer will win and convert the prospect into a loyal customer.  Of course, this requires processes and systems that help to engage with the prospects and customers intelligently, beyond geographical and organizational borders.

Streamlined operations and collaboration with the national sales companies, importer and distributors as well as with the important number of independent dealer groups, ensures a successful shopping, buying and owning experience.

Helping automotive OEM and retail companies in differentiating with omni-channel customer experience is our mission.

SAP solutions for automotive customer centricity are not limited to SFA only. SAP offers a comprehensive solution portfolio for the complete automotive distribution value chain.

And that’s not the end of the story. Beyond that, SAP is innovating in telematics and connected car solutions enabling scenarios described above in Mr. Miller’s customer journey.

You don’t believe it? Look at these videos:

Want to hear more?

Feel free to contact me or visit


Daniel Grimm