Applying a “Back to Basics” Philosophy to Your CRM

November 2012, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Philip Barras - Also by this author

Your dealership’s database is the fuel that drives your sales engine. All other aspects of any customer relationship management (CRM) program are derived from, or driven by, the database. The database needs to get constant care or you run the risk of turning all the previously-purchased, high-tech options into paperweights!

With that in mind, I’ve included a few best practices to energize your database that will pay significant dividends by making collateral programs more efficient:

  1. Regardless of your current meet-and-greet structure, insist that every client is logged at the sales desk. This should be a dealership mandate, with the main responsibility for this placed on the sales manager, not the salesperson.
  2. Make sure your CRM provider not only supports a driver’s license scanner, but that it also has the functionality to complete the login process from that scan.
  3. Gather detailed client information and make sure client records are updated either by the salesperson or the sales manager. This includes multiple phone numbers, vehicles of interest, trade information, employment and, most importantly, e-mail. You will be amazed at what information car buyers will provide if you only ask.
  4. Get rid of the manual desk log. As long as this is allowed within your dealership, it will be a crutch leaned on too often and too heavily.
  5. Never, under any circumstances, allow a trade to be appraised that does not have the appraisal form prepared by the CRM product—indicating the client is logged—and entered into the client record. In a good CRM product, this should be visible on one or more screens and will prevent issues from arising if the trade is not closed on the first visit.
  6. Ensure that there is a “Road to the Sale” portion of each client record. At any point in the sales process, a manager or a salesperson can view the client’s status.
  7. Use electronic logs to review every record for thorough client data. Require corrective action when necessary. Most of the better CRM products provide an option for this step to be a requirement for your managers.
  8. Conduct a regularly-scheduled save-a-deal review. You will be amazed with what you can accomplish when client data is readily available, legible and unobscured.

You can now use your CRM system and its supported products to market directly to your client, maintain personal contact, drive service opportunities and conduct relevant searches of the features that integrate with your CRM. All of this is possible because you paid attention to the basics!


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