It’s an all too familiar story. A dealer realizes his sales staff needs a CRM—which, in my opinion, is the most important tool for a car salesperson. He decides on a CRM system, signs on the dotted line, and hands over the money to the CRM vendor. And then—crickets. The dealer expects his employees to instantly succeed with the software, simply by emailing them a few how-to presentations and putting the tool in their hands.
We all know where this story is going.
Without thorough, engaging training, it is extremely unlikely that employees will use a CRM effectively or correctly—if they even use it all—no matter how sophisticated the software is. If dealers miss the mark on CRM training and utilization, they are also missing increases in sales, revenue, efficiency and employee retention—which all come with a big price tag.
Providing your employees with comprehensive CRM training is critical to realizing maximum success. Focus on the following key action items, and you can empower your employees to embrace the CRM and improve outcomes for your dealership.
Get Buy-in from the Top
One of the most important places to start in the dealership CRM training process is with the upper management team. Without complete support and buy-in from your dealership’s leadership, your training program is going nowhere. You have to build a culture from the top down that embraces the process, encourages learning and demands accountability in order for your dealership to truly make the most of a CRM.
A key component of a training-friendly culture is active prioritization of training. Employees need to see—through action—that strong understanding and utilization of the CRM is critical to the business. Many of the impacts of the CRM are seen at the dealership level. And although those benefits are crucial, employees must also understand how CRM utilization will benefit them personally for them to really prioritize training. How will the CRM save them time? What opportunities are they missing by not using the CRM? How will committing to this training ultimately move their career forward?
In addition to talking the talk, you have to walk the walk. Talk to your teams well in advance about days and times that work best for them to take a break from customers, so they can focus purely on training. Block off those times, and hold your employees accountable for actually spending them on training. Even if you’re met with skepticism, taking concrete steps to prioritize training will clearly communicate just how valuable it is to your dealership’s leadership team.
Keep Training Continuous
Something you’ll hear me say often is that the best training program is a continuous one. A couple of training sessions the week the software is implemented won’t cut it for a number of reasons.
First, a good CRM system is always being updated with better and more efficient features, so you have to continually provide your employees with the training they need to make the most of the enhancements.
Second, a CRM is a big, advanced tool. As users become more comfortable with it, they’ll be able to better take advantage of features they found too overwhelming at first, and an ongoing training program should reflect that.
Third, and maybe most importantly, people forget stuff. And that’s OK. Your employees have a lot on their plates, and it is unrealistic to expect them to be CRM masters in a day. But with ongoing, engaging training customized for their dealership roles, they’ll get there.
With comprehensive, continuous training opportunities and the right support, your employees will effectively master the CRM, and measurably improve your dealership’s results.
A version of this post originally appeared in Dealer Marketing Magazine.
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