My Chicago Cubs are still World Series Champs, until spring training begins again at least. Countless games I’ve spent in Wrigley Field, craving this title, and we always came up short. Over time, even baseball fanatics seeking a championship get accustomed to losing. I, along with many other fans, grew comfortable with our unproductive team waging daily war in the Friendly Confines. Much like any ballpark, a sales manager’s desk is where you hope wins prevail over losses. And like the fans of Wrigley Field, your sales managers may have gotten far too comfy at their desks for the store’s own good.
While it may be sacrilege to some, I’m a believer that Wrigley Field should be leveled and a new, better stadium built up in its place. This is the same ideological thinking that has sales managers scared, as their sales desks are their special place. It is the shrine to their success of yesteryear. They’re used to executing the same tasks in the same way, as different players over the year approach them. While their line-up of players change, their actions never do. The problem is that all of your sales manager’s games are at-home. They’re unwilling to step outside of the friendly confines of their sales desk and visit the customers at the showroom tables. We need sales managers to embrace data when making decisions, step away from their desks to engage shoppers, and utilize the newer benchmarks of automotive CRM if they want to deliver a championship-level experience.
“Don’t let mediocre effort, unenthusiastic talent, or timid managers ignoring data stand in the way between your dealership and a World Series ring.”
In a recently released whitepaper from VinSolutions that leveraged CRM and showroom data from well over a thousand dealerships, several key elements were uncovered that indicate a problem with the friendly confines of our managers’ sales desks. If you want to deliver a championship experience to your customers, it starts with decisions made at the sales managers’ desks.
- The Friendly Confines rarely reinforce the importance of sales certification on the brands. Beyond a simple shout-out from the sales desk, few managers take an active role in ensuring everyone from seasoned sales professionals to BDC agents to new hires are certified in the brand. This leads to lost opportunities to train on products and create a differentiation between a sales person and a sales consultant.
- The Friendly Confines rarely uses wish lists. As CRM technology becomes more intuitive, it allows for managers and salespeople alike to keep track of the vehicles their own potential customers seek. Yet, the data suggests that far too few leverage this technology as a means of buying the right inventory or finding new deals.
- The Friendly Confines don’t care about overdue tasks. One key piece of data that indicates successful stores to unsuccessful stores is whether or not their sales teams have overdue tasks to complete, piling up within the CRM. Why managers don’t take an active role in working with their players to make sure they’ve taken all the swings they should is anyone’s guess. Task completion needs to be one of the primary coaching duties of today’s managers.
- The Friendly Confines don’t value reporting. The typical computer at a sales manager’s desk displays the DMS desking tool, Facebook, and ESPN. They don’t seek out valuable reports that can help them coach their team, and not near enough of them register to receive automatically emailed reports to them. In other words, even when the ball is being pitched to them, with valuable insights on how to improve performance, they don’t take the swing. Lack of awareness to the goings-on within the CRM and of the personnel lead to a disconnected team.
- The Friendly Confines cares too much about home runs and not enough about at-bats. One KPI that high-functioning dealers achieve, based on data, is having a higher amount of appointments set per day than others. It makes common sense. Too many sales managers hope their players knock the cover off the ball when it is their term to bat, but not near enough of them teach their team how to generate more at-bats and take more swings by reinforcing appointment-setting and be-backs. They only hurt the dealership’s sales volume score at the end of the day.
- The Friendly Confines don’t travel. While Cubs fans are one of the highest-attending away-game fan bases, sales managers don’t take the deal-making away from the desk and try to meet the customer in the showroom. No one ever requires sales managers to be immobile. They want them active, talking to players on the field during practice, arguing calls, and making game-time decisions away from the safety of the bullpen. The best sales managers are up and about, rather than sitting on the bench.
These are just some of the key problems that dealerships face within the Friendly Confines of their dealerships. If your sales desk that inhabits your sales managers is not always striving to grow toward a championship, if they’ve become stagnant with complacency, then it is time blow it up, and to start rebuilding from the basement up. Don’t let mediocre effort, unenthusiastic talent, or timid managers ignoring data stand in the way between your dealership and a World Series ring. It took my Chicago Cubs 108 years to figure it out. I assure you that your dealership doesn’t have that kind of time.
Don’t miss Joe’s session “The NEW Benchmarks of Automotive CRM: A 4D Interactive Experience” at Digital Dealer 22 this April 11-13th in Tampa, FL.
Author: Joe Webb
Joe Webb is the President of DealerKnows, an Internet sales and digital marketing consulting firm specializing in the automotive industry. He maximizes companies’ online investments through on-site training, virtual consulting, and the industry’s first lead management coaching software. Joe has been called “the funniest guy in the car business” and passionately speaks and consults internationally. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org