Is It Time to Reevaluate Your Dealership’s CRM?

As the saying goes, we all strive to “work smarter, not harder.” That’s undoubtedly why your dealership invested in its current CRM: to get a tool for improving workflow, increasing efficiency and boosting ROI.

What happens when your salespeople have had time to get to know your CRM, but the improvements aren’t materializing or are less dramatic than you’d hoped? Assuming your staff is using the CRM as well as they can in accordance with the processes you’ve set up, the problem might be with the CRM itself.

Here are some questions to ask to determine if your CRM might be what’s holding your dealership back.

How customizable are the CRM’s processes?

Sales process efficiency is key, so it’s important to be able to adjust processes right away when you’ve identified the need for a change. You want a CRM like VinSolutions’ Connect CRM that gives you the flexibility to make process changes yourself when you need to adjust workflow to meet your dealership’s needs.

For example, imagine you unexpectedly lose a couple BDC agents, and you know there is now no way the remaining agents will be able to complete all the tasks in your process. With fewer agents, the process needs to be immediately adjusted to include fewer phone call tasks, or your staff is going to get overloaded with overdue tasks.

Some CRMs are not dealer editable, so you may find yourself waiting days for the vendor to make your requested changes. In this example, that would mean losing control of how customers are being communicated with and damaging the BDC’s morale.

In some cases, the CRM follows a “one size fits all” approach, with a set of processes that may or may not be appropriate for your workflow. You should never have to adjust your dealership to a CRM; the CRM should adjust to your dealership.

Are your CRM integrations truly integrated?

Your CRM may promise added value through integrated services, but often third-party partnerships or web services are not actually fully integrated into the CRM. This can mean jumping around to different websites or apps with separate logins, which makes the user experience inefficient and awkward.

Disconnected software platforms often mean data double (or triple or quadruple) entry. This wastes time, introduces opportunity for error and creates inefficiencies, which negatively impact the customer experience and your bottom line.

A truly integrated CRM, however, eliminates that manual double entry and improves efficiency by streamlining your processes, giving back your salespeople more time to connect with customers and delivering actionable insights to help you sell more cars.

When customer interactions don’t get entered into the CRM, you miss out on opportunities for follow-up and the chance to provide a more personalized customer experience to those potential buyers.

How does your CRM handle data?

Ideally, your CRM should make it easy to enter customer information, to ensure that information is complete and actionable, and to get a centralized view of it across all stores. If your salespeople are finding it time-consuming and inefficient to merely enter information into the CRM, there’s a strong possibility that you’ll be left with incomplete customer data.

When customer interactions don’t get entered into the CRM, you miss out on opportunities for follow-up and the chance to provide a more personalized customer experience to those potential buyers.

What level of support do you get with your CRM?

You should be able to optimize your CRM to give you actionable data about where your dealership is succeeding and where it needs improvement. Does your CRM provider help you fine-tune your processes and reporting? Or are your CRM reps focused on training new hires and little else?

To get the most from your CRM, you need a true industry expert on your side. You need a trusted advisor who will share guidance to help navigate roadblocks and optimize your dealership’s bottom line, like the VinSolutions Performance Managers provide to Connect CRM users.

To maximize the ROI of your CRM, you need more than new-hire trainers or technical support. You need responsive, knowledgeable automotive professionals who are dedicated to your dealership’s success and capable of pushing you to change to achieve better results.

Is it time to make a change?

If the answers to some, or all, of these questions are making you second guess whether your existing CRM is the right fit for your dealership, it’s worth exploring other options with your current needs in mind. Keeping up with technology that serves the needs and expectations of today’s customers is vital for every dealership. Your CRM should be a strong contributor to your success, not a stumbling block.

A version of this article originally appeared in Digital Dealer.