A Measure For Success: Is Your Dealership In The Car Business Or The Customer Business?

December 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by John Zieglar - Also by this author

Know your Business

If you’re in the car business, your primary focus is on sales, service and promotion of vehicles. If you’re in the customer business, your primary focus is relationship management. In today’s market, Internet-empowered consumers are more informed and demanding than ever before. For today’s dealerships, finding the intricate balance between short-term profit and long-term customer value will define the true meaning of a results-driven successful solution. Where does your dealership fit into the equation?

Balancing the Scale

Getting visitors to your site is one thing, but developing trust-based, long-term relationships with customers requires more than just a great Web site. If you’re not linking your Web site with quality CRM software, you should be! The best way to do that is through a Web interface that integrates with your CRM tool. When properly implemented into your digital marketing strategy, your eCommerce team can effectively manage customer support, sales leads and other tasks within your BDC. Bottom line, quality CRM can help you work smarter, not harder.

The Truth about CRM

With all the hype surrounding CRM, it may surprise you to hear that statistics reported by leading research firms indicate CRM initiative failure rates as high as 70 percent (Forrester Research) with only 46 percent of CRM initiatives reaching their stated objectives (The Alexander Group). The reason for failure is not poor strategy, but poor strategy execution. The fundamental cause for ineffective and unsuccessful CRM initiatives in dealerships is a lack of correlation between the goal of CRM (building long-term profitable customer value) and what is being measured. Lack of proper tracking and measurement greatly decreases the likelihood of achieving the long-term goal of CRM.

The False Positive: Losing Focus

Many dealerships claim to be measuring CRM performance, but most fall short. Many tend to focus on general measurements like sales productivity and customer service quality. Other dealerships focus on customer revenue and profitability, but side step the primary drivers like customer loyalty behind financial performance.

Revenue gains and cost savings are important information but, which customers are providing the catalyst for these results and which ones aren’t? Furthermore, statistics show that 80 to 90 percent of customers in the automobile industry say they are satisfied, yet only 30 to 35 percent of them actually repurchase. Customer satisfaction ratings can be a flawed measure of success because there isn’t a clear correlation between it and the actual post-purchase behavior of the customer. In the long run, it is customer trust and loyalty that keeps the momentum of the dealership going. The key to maximizing CRM success is a direct link between the desired result of the strategy and the driver of those results. So let’s look into some important measures that will bring CRM results and success back into focus.

Tracking: Tools of the Trade

Most dealerships measure success based on post marketing and sales activities, but, the fact is that proper measurement of critical areas relative to CRM processes affect and provide the ability to immediately develop and improve marketing and dealership sales strategies. Having a measurement framework that links long term vision and strategy objectives to specific measures and processes will generate CRM performance and ROI. Your CRM tool should provide the right information to the right people at the right time. Management should have access to standardized measurements and accessibility to instantaneous reporting features that are a portal to real-time access to customer touch points.

Measurement of Success

At Courtesy Chevrolet, we are achieving and surpassing our goals. We are using BuzzTrak CRM in our Business Development Center to sell leads generated from our Web site that drives traffic straight to our showroom. As a result, we have sold an additional 384 vehicles in one month alone. The cornerstone of our BDC is our digital marketing system. We have a powerful resource that provides a measurement framework to link our long-term objectives to specific measures. We are able to track all activities that lead to increased sales. In a short amount of time, the BDC staff has learned to use our traffic-generating Web site alongside BuzzTrak CRM to increase sales, F&I, and service and parts business. As a result, our cost per sale ranges from $125 to $200, which is a lot less than our traditional advertising.

Having the right people and processes in place is equally as important as having an effective CRM tool and implementation strategy. At Courtesy Chevrolet we are passionate about what we do, from selecting a marketing consultant to selecting our staff. From the inception of our digital marketing strategy, we involve every member of the leadership team to create a strategy that everyone can buy into because the power is in the belief. With our CRM system in place, we are able to quickly identify and take action on customer touch points in need of improvement. Our Business Development Team is able to clearly analyze and communicate precisely what is important and where and how each department of the dealership contributes to our CRM success. Having the ability to track and measure all pertinent information in real-time throughout the entire sales and service process has proven to be the true formula for success at Courtesy Chevrolet.
Vol. 3, Issue 10

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