Trendy is Nice, But Don’t Forget the Basics of CRM

September 2012, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Philip Barras - Also by this author


In any automotive trade publication, there are numerous articles touting the latest technology applications available from numerous vendors. It’s easy for dealers to become enamored of these trendy tools, especially if consultants insist that your dealership needs them all in order to succeed. The general premise is to utilize these products in an effort to gain a larger customer base and ultimately sell more cars. With no intention of discrediting any of the latest trends, none of these matter if a dealership’s CRM process lacks a solid foundation.

It is like a golfer who invests $2,000 in the best clubs but fails to pay attention to the essential parts of his or her game such as alignment, hand position, swing tempo, rotation or arm position. More often than not, a competitor with less expensive golf clubs but a consistent grasp on the swing sequence will outperform the golfer who forgot to focus on fundamentals. And so it is with CRM products in today’s dealerships. So how do you prevent this from happening to you? Let’s talk basics!

It is important to recognize that your dealership’s database is the fuel that drives your sales engine. All other aspects of any CRM system are derived from, or driven by, the database. Making sure your dealership logs every customer with detailed contact information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, is a necessity. In the current culture, it’s also important to define whether a phone number is a cell, home or work contact and enter accordingly in the CRM.

Establish a plan with specific standards of contact and ensure your dealership has a contact process triggered from your CRM. Prospect contacts can be triggered by items such as: how often (15 days, 30 days, etc.), under what circumstances, in what form (email or phone call preference) and by which sales representative. Automating a daily plan, based on these standards and designed for every salesperson, is essential to success. Tracking individual progress reveals whether or not sales teams are utilizing the basic necessities of your selling system. The key is to not only establish a process but adhere to that process daily. Once a CRM process is consistently employed, dealers can add new technology and expect results to improve.

Let’s recap the basics:

• Ensure every customer is logged.

• Require two phone numbers per customer.

• Require at least one email address per customer.

• Establish follow-up contact rules and automate them through the CRM.

• Create an automated, daily process for your sales teams.

• Review entries daily for thoroughness and look at scoreboards to determine the number of scheduled activities accomplished.

A word of warning: Should you be blinded by the beauty and promise of new technology trends and let the attention to basic process diminish, you will be left to wonder why your investment has not paid off in results. Stick with the basics and ensure daily application, and you will always be on top of your game!

Vol. 9, Issue 7

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