Many times, dealers are disappointed in their customer relationship management system. Despite investment in a CRM, many dealers still don’t hit the numbers they wanted or see the operational improvements they expected.
Dealers often attribute these issues to a failure of the CRM. The software, however, should not be viewed as an automatic culprit. In many cases, users are making one or more of these basic CRM mistakes that cause pain at dealerships.
1. Not knowing the processes
At the foundation of good CRM usage is understanding what processes for ensuring consistent customer communication are in place at the dealership—and what processes still need to be created. A lack of understanding of (and belief in) CRM processes is a sign to employees that management is not engaged with the CRM system and that CRM utilization is not a priority for the dealership. Staff will not complete tasks in the CRM if they don’t believe those tasks are important, leading to significant fluctuation in customer satisfaction and, ultimately, lower conversion rates of leads to sales.
2. Lack of accountability
Without accountability measures for CRM usage, the perception can take hold amongst staff members that it doesn’t matter whether they use the CRM or not. When there’s a lack of management support and accountability, fewer appointments are made and fewer cars are sold, hurting your bottom line— despite the time and resources that have been invested. The good news is that most people want to be held accountable and will be receptive to processes put in place to keep them on track.
3. Making the process too complex
If the process for following up on leads is too complex, your staff will often be left with an overwhelming number of overdue tasks in your CRM that can be hard to prioritize. This often means that most critical opportunities are being lost in a sea of tedious processes. By simplifying and streamlining the process, you will have better engagement and results across the board.
4. Not entering every opportunity into CRM
One of the most repeated phrases around the VinSolutions office is, “If it’s not in the CRM, it didn’t happen.” If a lead is not entered into the CRM, it is highly unlikely that anyone at the dealership is going to follow up. Every interaction, whether a phone call with a customer early in the buying process or a walk-in from a loyal buyer, has to be entered for the CRM to be most powerful.
5. Not going beyond the point of sale
A strong CRM solution is intended to help you manage the entire customer life cycle—from the initial interest in your product to ownership of a vehicle to the next purchase. You should use your CRM to create lifetime customers. If you aren’t, you’re throwing future dollars out the window; it costs 10 times more to acquire a new customer than to sell to a current one.
There is no quick fix to any of these issues, but if you start from the top and succeed one step at a time, your team will soon be reaping the rewards of effective CRM system usage.
A version of this article originally appeared in Dealer Marketing Magazine.