It’s 2016 and never has the used car industry faced so much disruption! Over $450 million in venture capital has been invested into new automotive start-ups like Beepi and Carvana. Moreover, GM recently announced they will sell more than 30,000 vehicles direct through their pre-owned Lease/Fleet ‘GM Factory Collection,’ and Millennials are quickly adopting utility models for transportation weakening America’s long love affair with car ownership. With the average car-buying consumer doing most of their research online, today’s dealership has to be able to pivot quickly and digitally evolve their business model to remain competitive — with the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) / Internet Lead Management (ILM) solution.
The digital dealership model is here to stay, and it goes beyond dealerships simply doing a decent business through their website and automotive classified websites like Car Guru’s. Face it – the car buying public has already changed forcing dealerships to become more tech-savvy and socially connected to their customer base to remain relevant. Have you taken the right steps to keep your dealership at the heart of where the action is?
Key to staying relevant is ensuring the car buying customer experience is second to none with the RIGHT (CRM/ILM solution that keeps your dealership top of mind with your clients. CRM software is fast becoming as important to the dealership as Dealership Management Software (DMS) has always been. Dealers need to be nimble and quick. They need a CRM/ILM solution that fits their needs without slowing them down and tying them to the showroom floor.
“The digital dealership model is here to stay, and it goes beyond dealerships simply doing a decent business through their website and automotive classified websites like Car Guru’s.”
Here’s a simple checklist to help make sure your dealership has the RIGHT CRM/ILM:
Internet Lead Management (ILM) – Your dealership is being bombarded with 20 or more leads per day from the likes of Autotrader, Car Guru’s, Cars.com, etc.! How do you manage them effectively and ensure they are being worked promptly? If you’re relying on old school pen and paper, then your store is in trouble. Customers expect a prompt follow up to Internet leads and by reaching out to you online, they expect to interact with your dealership online throughout the entire sales process. Make sure your dealership has an integrated CRM/ILM solution that allows the Sales Manager to distribute and track leads while enabling the sales team to follow up immediately from their smartphones via text, video, social media, or email.
Develop Sales Team Work Plans – How do your sales reps know when they need to follow up with a customer? How do you quickly onboard new hires? Make everyone more productive with a CRM solution that focuses on the ten things you really need that allows you to schedule reminders for follow up emails, texts, or calls. Avoid bells and whistles that aren’t used daily and add cost to the solution. Stay connected to previous “SOLD” customers with annual birthday greetings, trade-in incentives, and tailored drip marketing communications to keep a digital heartbeat with them alive.
Mobile & Social CRM – Dealers that use a mobile CRM typically increase Fresh-Ups by 20% – 25%. Mobile sales tools allow your sales team to run deals from their phones no matter where they are. They are never out of touch with prospects, which keeps them productive and always on. Make sure your CRM has key mobile features that accelerate the momentum of the deal with seamless data entry like an in-app Driver’s License Scanner to add contacts or a VIN scanner to appraise trade-in vehicles. The mobile CRM must also offer offline capabilities for when you have no cellular or Wi-Fi reception as well as Social Media integration for services like Facebook or Pinterest.
Record & Manage ALL Opportunities – How many ‘LOST’ customers do you have that made the trek to the lot but were never seen again because your sales rep didn’t follow up? Think about how many thousands of dollars that are left on the table each month simply because a sales rep didn’t capture a Fresh-Ups contact information correctly. What will it take to move one more opportunity to a closed deal by the end of the month? Take control of your opportunities and manage your sales cycle with a sleek, streamlined Manager Dashboard in your CRM that strips out the noise and focuses you on the immediate actions needed to close deals.
Some of you already UNDERSTAND this and have moved forward with purchasing a CRM platform for your dealership. Others are dragging their feet because they are not yet convinced of the return on investment or are put off by the cost and complexity of the franchise centric CRM solutions on the market today.
On the ROI front, a 2014 Salesforce.com Customer Relationship Survey conducted by Confirmit Inc. showed a CRM system can drive a 32% increase in sales, a 40% increase in productivity, and a 32% improvement in win rate. Dealers need a simple, mobile, intuitive CRM that allows them to connect with their prospects any way the customer wants to engage, to manage opportunities on the fly without requiring an advanced computer science degree to figure out, and to enjoy the benefits of a CRM solution without bankrupting the store in the process.
Beware of the “heavy,” “every feature imaginable” CRM/ILM systems that were built especially for the large franchise dealerships that are now being price reduced and sold to small to midsize dealerships as an afterthought. These are complex systems with tons of features that easily overwhelm the smaller stores, and take a big chunk out of your wallet every month. If your sales people cannot easily ramp on these expensive systems without extensive training or they refuse to use it at all because they have to change their entire sales rhythm to use the tool, then that will be your money quickly going down the drain. Dealerships need a quick, painless and lightweight CRM/ILM solution that delivers the essential features on a mobile platform at a price point that makes sense that their sales team will actually use.
Remember if your dealership is going to stay competitive in today’s “all things connected” car market, you need tools that complement your store’s selling motion and are easy for your sales team to embrace. As the dealerships model continues its digital shift, the CRM/ILM system will be become even more critical in reaching and retaining the car-buying consumer.
Author: Zach Klempf
ZACH KLEMPF is the CEO of Selly Automotive, a mobile first CRM/ILM dealership software company. Zach is a thought leader writing for multiple media outlets.