Dealerships are taking a good first step in generating leads and sales when they decide to invest in a CRM. However, just like any tool, a CRM is only as effective as the user behind it.
There are too many instances where, six months into a dealership’s relationship with a CRM, they fail to understand why the CRM has not been the game-changer it was advertised to be.
However, the real problem is not often with the CRM. The problem is often with the way people are using (or not using) the tool. Luckily, there are several CRM utilization red flags that are easy to spot. Every dealership is different, but there are a couple of key indicators that can alert you that something may be amiss in your processes.
For starters, look at how many uncompleted or overdue tasks are in your CRM. Every uncompleted task is a missed opportunity to connect with a customer. Every overdue task could have been the sale your dealership needed to meet its goals.
Reviewing overdue tasks is also an important first step because these uncompleted tasks can be an indicator of flawed processes. A lot of overdue tasks often suggest that CRM processes are too complicated or difficult to complete, and reviewing those processes right off the bat could avoid other problems down the road.
It is also important to take a look at how often customer data is actually being entered into the CRM. Many dealerships adopt the mantra that if it is not in the CRM, it did not happen. This is often particularly problematic with inbound calls. All too often, customers call in, perhaps ask a few questions, and the salesperson answers those questions and then hangs up the phone. He doesn’t collect contact information, and he doesn’t log the conversation into the CRM.
Without that critical info in the CRM, no one will ever follow up with that customer. And it costs money to get that customer to call the dealership! If you’re not entering every single customer interaction into the CRM, you are throwing marketing dollars out the window.
It is impossible for anyone to remember every customer interaction AND provide transparency to the rest of the dealership. If data and information are not entered into the CRM after every phone call – inbound and outbound – then the task is not being done correctly and your employees are creating holes in your system and processes.
There are many best-in-class dealers who have seen incredible returns on their CRM investment and usage. These dealers consistently innovate and adjust how their systems are used, helping the system cater to their needs and goals. By learning to recognize these CRM utilization red flags and making tweaks accordingly, other dealers can see the same results and appreciate CRM as the effective tool that it is.
A version of this post originally appeared in Dealer Marketing Magazine.
Mark Vickery is the senior director of performance management at VinSolutions. He is an expert on the retail car business, with a focus on customer retention and leading and establishing teams. Have a question for Mark? Connect with him on LinkedIn or shoot him a note.