When I started in the car business 18 years ago, my CRM was a sharpie marker, and a big binder of handwritten guest sheets. We had a couple of excel documents that we printed out and we color coded appointment shows, no shows, sales and dead deals. A few years later when the internet was “born”, the dealership had an AOL email address that we used to receive contact us forms from our website. I used to print those emails out and they too, would go in a binder where we would handwrite our follow up notes on the back of each lead page.
Fast forward to today and there are multiple CRM’s that can do almost anything and everything one could imagine. They provide us work plans, equity opportunities, sales follow up, and lease maturity follow up. They can identify salesperson and sales manager gross profit from highest to lowest. They can identify which aged cars we should try to put our customer in and can even integrate with our appraisal tools so that we have access to a “wish list”, a place where we can identify where we can possibly pick up two deals simply by giving someone more for a trade on a deal we missed because we know there is another customer looking for that car.
My logical and process driven brain thinks this is amazing and thrives on the processes built and psychology behind this. Needless to say, it baffles me when I walk into a dealership and hear the same old thing over and over. “The CRM numbers are not accurate. No one uses it correctly, especially the salespeople. Here is our manual tracking document and this is what we use to pay our BDC agents.”
What?! Did I mishear something? So, let me get this straight. You pay somewhere between $2000 and $5000 a month just for the CRM and/or data mining software. That’s $24,000-$60,000 a year off your bottom line, yet you are okay with your employees dictating to you whether they will use the software you pay for? Additionally, you are paying out anywhere from $10,000-$25,000 a month to your BDC department depending on its size, so another $120,000-$300,000 a year and paying this based on a manual tracking document that no one usually checks and verifies in the dealership because what would they even use to verify the information since the “CRM is not accurate” and we are totally okay with that?
You see to me, not only is this clearly a pure waste of money and reflective of weak leadership, but we can’t even accurately put a number on all the business we are losing by failing to use the CRM
not only correctly but to its fullest potential. 90% of dealers I have worked with over the last 18 years do not set up their CRM’s correctly. More often than not, this starts as a result of bringing in a new CRM, so here are some major ways it goes wrong and some things you need to know when bringing in a new CRM company:
- The prospect data import is always a nightmare if not closely watched. The phone ups, internet leads and fresh ups you were working will not attach to a follow up campaign if explicit instruction is not given to the CRM provider. Previous notes and appointments almost always never get imported over.
- Sold deals do not always match up to the salesperson DMS ID and can end up in what I call “CRM Purgatory.” This is some orphan or your friends at bucket no one ever checks on.
- If you do not provide detailed follow up campaigns, most CRM companies will auto upload their own “best practice” campaigns which are usually the normal phone call and email archaic nonsense.
- Double check and triple check all your templates because when they got copied over they are almost never correct. They have the wrong phone number, wrong signature, wrong auto fill fields etc.
Now assuming you have done all of this, you would still not be utilizing the CRM to work smarter and not harder. Essentially, this means how can we set up the CRM so that we can maximize our employees time spent in the CRM to identify and connect with the lowest funnel buyers in the least amount of time. Here are some tips to make the CRM work for you.
- The average “work plan” or “to do list” has hundreds of past due activities so even if you have a superstar making 150 outbound calls per day they are just calling from some random list of prospects. Set up custom filters or buckets that with one click identify your lowest funnel buyers. For a BDC or internet department this would mean a one click bucket that pulls up all internet leads that came in over the last 7 days to start with. For a salesperson this would mean a one click bucket that brings up all their unsold follow up for the last 7 days and another one that identifies their equity opportunities or lease maturity opportunities over the last 30 days.
- Your follow up campaigns must be set up thinking outside the box. Stop thinking like a dealer and start thinking like a customer. How would you want to be communicated with? What would impress you? What would make you want to do business here?
- Your follow up campaigns must include text message, chat and video communications. Like it or not, this is the age we live in.
- Set up teams for reporting. It is much easier to pull a report and look at it based on team. Salesperson team, BDC team, Internet Team, etc. The goals will most likely be different for each team so why look at one report with all employees mixed together and their names just alphabetized?
- Set up automated email reports for yourself to receive daily, weekly and monthly so you are forced to look at KPI’s that matter and hold your people accountable to using the CRM consistently and correctly.
I could go on and on with this topic, but in the interest of giving you just enough to start with so you can begin tackling this one item at a time, I will stop here. Please remember, you must inspect what you expect. Set the expectation, do not bend on it and consistently check to make sure it is being done. You can be their leader, or you can be their friend. You can’t be both. In the end, they will thank you for being a leader. I am pretty sure they have enough friends. We can make excuses, or we can make money. We can be part of the solution or part of the problem. It’s time to make your decision.
Author: Contributing Writer
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