After impressive gains in Quebec in recent years, SERTI said its concentrated efforts to bolster the number of rooftops running its dealer management system in Ontario is paying dividends.
Heading into the summer months this year, SERTI national sales manager Nino Malka reported the Montreal-based software provider is close to a significant and symbolic number in Ontario.
“In 2007, SERTI had 30 Ontario clients,” he said. “We are now closing in on 100. Though we have over 680 dealerships using SDS across Canada, the growth in Ontario has been an amazing feat.”
SERTI has been in business for close to 40 years and has been offering its software to automobile and heavy truck dealerships for the past 27 years. The company has four business units, the largest being SDS (SERTI Dealership System), its DMS system.
The current Ontario sales team, overseen and assembled by John McLaurin, now consists of industry veterans Wayne Doucette, Ray Maher, Michael Giguère and the recently hired Paul MacLean. The latter works as customer relations coordinator for Ontario clients, based in Mississauga.
“While our customer base is still concentrated in Quebec with 450 dealerships, the growth has been consistent Canada-wide in the last 10 years as we typically replace one or two competitors every week of the year except for vacation season in July and August,” Malka said.
And rarely does SERTI lose a client.
When asked how many dealers have left after running the program, he reported the company has only experienced eight “defections” in 27 years. Some have left and came back to SDS no later than a few weeks ago.
SERTI is also certified with every OEM that does not rely on an exclusive.
“We have recently installed our first Subaru customer in Ontario and are now certified with 19 different brands in Ontario. This is a huge consideration for dealer groups contemplating alternatives to their U.S.-based providers, and rules out many competitors that are only regional providers or that specialize in one domestic brand and lack certifications across the board.”
The company currently has anywhere from 15 to 30 per cent market share with each automotive brand in Canada. And with two major import brands ending their exclusive DMS relationships of late, SERTI already reports successful installs at a dozen Nissan dealerships and “plenty of interest” from dealerships of another Japanese OEM after having signed its first one in June.
When asked why SERTI is a good option, Malka cited the lack of long-term contracts, low cost of ownership, competitive support fees and a no-surprise fee policy where clients are not “nickel and dimed” as major selling points.
“But most of all, it has to be SERTI’s second-to-none customer support,” he said, adding that SERTI’s customers are always entitled to the latest software without having to purchase a newly named version of the same software as other competitors do.
“Our first customers from over 25 years ago are on the latest version of SDS and have not been charged a dime in all that time for new versions.”