Aust & NZ
22nd Jul 2015

A life in the Automotive Industry

Behind the jocularity of Kim Wilson is a smart and savvy business person. The Pentana Solutions newsroom discovers more about the woman behind the smile and the laughter.

Kim Wilson, Global CRM General Manager
Kim Wilson, Global CRM General Manager

Global CRM Manager Kim Wilson, oversees a number of Pentana Solutions fastest growing business units. Her industry knowledge and aptitude, have distinguished her as ‘the’ best person to drive success across the customer relationship management software and contact centre services, synergy consulting, registration solutions and business intelligence.

Kim is energetic, cheerful and spontaneous, a person of action and a leader that propels her team to excel. She is structured and practical in her approach that often lead to visible results. Her Registration Solutions and CRM business unit received the 100 Club award for outstanding performance at the recent Pentana Solutions International ‘Smarter, Better, Together’ conference. The accolade is indicative of her leadership capabilities and her team’s hard working efforts.

Kim’s charismatic personality is hypnotic, a true believer in open communication, she has a knack for building relationships, she is very observant and has a keen sense when dealing with people. She is driven by her passion for equality and a desire to see others grow and succeed. Kim states, “I never command anything from my team that I would not do myself. I believe people should be given the opportunity based on their knowledge and experience…their success becomes my success”.


Kim began her automotive career with a small aftermarket company, performing various roles over a ten-year period, she then worked for a Mitsubishi dealership prior to joining Pentana Solutions. This experience has given her a real advantage when serving Pentana Solutions customer base as she can empathise, meeting their needs. She recalls “I was consigned to the showroom floor where I had the opportunity to not only learn about vehicles, but I was exposed to sales and customers. I took particular interest in attending to customers’ enquiries working on external relations and resolving issues as they occurred”.

The Road to Success - Her Journey at Pentana Solutions

In 1999, Kim joined Pentana Solutions as an installation consultant. At that time, Pentana Solutions was experiencing an explosive expansion with many retail installations taking place across Australia and in New Zealand.

However, after a fulfilling and challenging eight years at Pentana Solutions, having worked in multiple roles including senior management of the installations and training departments, Kim felt she had come to the end of her learning.

“I felt I needed to experience another type of work and expand my skills, I wanted to be honest with myself and my team, so I decided to make the transition”.

Kim extended her experience by taking on formal studies in Human Resources (HR) while working for a diesel manufacturing company in a HR role where she managed and built teams.

On taking the role of General Manager, Kim was ready to embrace a new challenge. “I enjoyed working in HR, but I felt I could contribute in a leadership capacity so I returned to Pentana Solutions and I am using my new skills to build a strong team”.

On Leadership

“Good leadership is about providing feedback for the purpose of improvement and facilitating coaching opportunities”.

Kim admires leaders who endure adversity and in spite of their circumstances they shine through. “I strongly feel people who are better leaders are those with more life experience”.

Kim’s nature adapts to the democratic leadership style; she mentioned “Leadership is the ability to listen and hear, never pre-empting what others may say. Good leadership is about providing feedback for the purpose of improvement and facilitating coaching opportunities”.

Kim values the input of her team members and peers, but the responsibility of making the final decision rests with her. She boosts employee morale as her team makes contributions to decision-making processes, “I feel this approach gives my team a sense of ownership and pride and I can foster a culture of innovative thinkers and doers. I know the best solution is a collective solution”.

Leadership Challenges

While her role at Pentana Solutions comes with many challenges, Kim can keep a clear head and overview even in stressful situations thus making her an excellent problem solver. Her biggest problem is keeping her team focus on the vision and keeping them informed, “A good leader should turn a challenge into a success and then share that success with others. We’ve recently had many changes in the organisation, and I’ve played a critical role in this process. By believing and having faith in my team, we’ve collectively pushed through the challenges and met our targets. I think my approach has helped employees accept change, but I also respect that not all can embrace change in the same manner”.

“I like to bring a new concept that defies the way we do business”.

Kim acknowledges that stirring growth and moving to continue progress when things are going well can be challenging too, however, she noted this situation is a great opportunity for development. “I like to introduce new concepts that defy the way we do business and see the idea come to fruition…this may or may not always happen but it is great to see when it does. I appreciate it when others undertake this initiative to grow the business further”.

Returning to the fold - Pentana Solutions 2,000 and beyond

Kim found Pentana Solutions had progressed and evolved into a dynamic organisation. “Upon returning to Pentana Solutions, I could see it was now a fast paced environment, processes were more efficient, management made decisions quicker and output was faster…Today, staff have a broader set of skills and the company is indeed a multinational player. However, the Pentana Solutions mission remains unchanged. The company continues to provide software solutions and services for the global automotive industries. We utilise the latest technology, offering innovative products and solutions that help our clients achieve peak performance levels in their business”.

Kim’s vision and goals for Pentana Solutions Specialty Solutions units

An insight into registration solutions, CRM contact centre, Business Intelligence, and Synergy Consulting.

Registration Solutions

Registration solutions is a beneficial service; it acts as the intermediary between government and dealerships by assisting dealers through the provision of multiple forms. The service helps dealers save time when registering vehicles and gives them peace of mind, dealers can ascertain whether a vehicle meets purchasing requirements through the personal property securities register. The register provides vehicle history and identifies issues such as whether the vehicle is stolen, collision incidents, money owing on the vehicle and whether the vehicle is written-off. Dealers can purchase the certificate and vehicle history on the AutoCheck website and can opt to receive one-on-one training.

Kim’s goal is for all dealers across Australia experience the substantial benefits of this service. “The service is easy to use, Queensland dealers value this service due to the vehicle registration complexities in the state but the service can be as equally beneficial to others. My target is to expand registration solutions globally and provide the service to other Pentana Solutions DMS users”.

“My vision is to expand registration solutions globally and provide this solution to other Pentana Solutions Dealer Management Solution users”.

Customer Relationship Management

“CRM is an area in the dealership that suffers, but it should not be the case as this is what brings customers in and back to the dealership”.

Kim explained, “People within the dealership are allocated CRM responsibilities but become absorbed by the business and their regular duties, so CRM becomes secondary. Unfortunately, CRM is an area in the dealership that suffers, but it should not be the case as this is what brings customers in and back to the dealership”.

Dealers can instead use the Pentana Solutions CRM Contact Centre . The CRM Contact Centre is an outbound call centre that makes calls on behalf of dealers and specialises in automotive and is proficient at running multiple campaigns on various platforms.

Dealersocket is core to the CRM stable; this CRM tool integrates with Pentana Solutions dealer management system eraPower. Dealersocket allows dealers to manage better customer relationships on a much better scale and provides them with better visibility from their first customer touchpoint right through the life of the client, other benefits of using Dealersocket are - campaign management and return on investment reporting, increase customer satisfaction and a faster resolution of issues. It also ensures follow up with structured business rules, as well as assisting with campaign setups and targeting once lost customers.

CRM Vision

Kim has a great vision for the CRM unit, knowing dealers can struggle to have the right processes in place, she feels this is an area where she can change things around. “I want to take CRM from a product focus to offering a complete consulting service...becoming a one-stop-shop for dealers no matter what dealer management systems they use”. Dealers should think about outsourcing this complex area of their business to the Pentana Solutions CRM Contact Centre and CRM Consulting team. Kim mentioned the team can do all the work providing dealer principals with the results they are after.

CRM Growth

“Through the application of SMSlink the Pentana Solutions CRM team has improved dealer customer communications and increased service appointments for thousands of dealers”.

Since August 2014, SMSlink, a Pentana Solutions CRM tool has experienced the highest uptake in the ANZ market, with 8.4 million transactions (SMSs) per year. At the recent Pentana Solutions ‘Smarter, Better, Together’ festival, SMSlink was awarded the prestigious Athenaeum Award for the best performing innovative solution.

Kim’s challenge is to continue to deliver substantial growth within the next 12 months. “This is a remarkable product, with tremendous potential, through the application of SMSlink the Pentana Solutions CRM team has improved dealer customer communications and increased service appointments”.

The SMSlink product has quickly grown within the ANZ market through the integration of Pentana Solutions dealer management solutions, eraPower, Nova and DealerPro. However, Kim has her eyes set on Europe. “We see growth opportunities in Europe and are seeking to find how we can integrate these solutions and better improve our offer to our European customers. So far we’ve seen an uptake of Italian dealers who see the value in the CRM contact centre”. The Pentana Solutions CRM Contact Centre is the leading automotive CRM call centre in the Australian market, and SMSLink is the company’s most scalable CRM product. “I am so excited to target the untapped Italian market and maximise growth opportunities for the CRM Contact Centre and grow CRM Consulting in Australia”.

Synergy Consulting

Synergy Consulting is the highest level of business consulting offered by Pentana Solutions, providing dealer principals backing in the areas of business administration, accounting, parts department and showroom. As with the CRM unit, Kim’s goal for her Synergy Consulting team is to provide this service outside the ANZ hub. The company is attaining growth through increased investment, “We are increasing the number of Synergy Consultants to maximise the number of solutions provided to our dealers… Incorporating Synergy consulting with our Executive Era and other business intelligence products can be a real game changer for dealers”.

The road ahead

With so many untapped opportunities for growth, Kim has her work cut out for her! Kim’s clear objectives and determination have set her on the right path to achieving her business unit goals. Metrics and awards mark her success but to Kim, her measurement of success is seeing other’s succeed, “my team’s success is my success. I tend to be a happy person and like to surround myself with people who can ignite the office with a positive can do attitude”.

With a busy portfolio, we asked Kim how she allocates time for, creativity, strategy development and growth, “I have learnt to block out time away from office surroundings to get a clearer perspective. This year, I look forward to a challenging and rewarding year ahead to grow my business units and will continue to fight for the right thing”.