Article

CRM Goes Beyond Technology

It takes more than technical know-how to maximize your CRM tool. The experts agree that process, accountability and personal leadership are the keys to success.

June 2013, Auto Dealer Today - Feature

by Philip Barras - Also by this author

Phillip Barras, vice president of dealer services for Dominion Dealer Solutions
[email protected]
Phillip Barras, vice president of dealer services for Dominion Dealer Solutions Phil.Barras@AutoDealerMonthly.com
It takes more than technical know-how to maximize your CRM tool. The experts agree that process, accountability and personal leadership are the keys to success.

Recently, I had the most profound “Aha!” moment. It occurred while reading “Selling Cars in the Digital Age,” a book Brian Pasch and members of his PCG Consulting team collaborated on. For years, I have challenged dealers to recognize the importance of process, accountability and personal leadership in maximizing the impact of their dealership solutions. I have emphasized the fact that combining this triumvirate with CRM product integration into the dealership database creates an overwhelmingly powerful capability.

In most cases, dealers continued to solely rely on current CRM technology to somehow accomplish these changes by itself. But here, right in my hands, I found myself holding a highly accurate explanation of why technology in and of itself is not enough to guarantee success.

Furthermore, process and accountability are required to unleash the power that accompanies CRM. Pasch’s book only reinforced what I have long considered to be facts etched in stone and discussed with dealer principals and general managers for years. This caused me to exclaim out loud, as I was reading, “Aha! But will they get it, and will they do anything about it?” One can only hope.

Dealer principals and general managers must be challenged to lead by example and hold managers accountable to the processes and procedures they establish. Employees properly executing the policies, procedures and methodologies of the dealership can and will unleash the power of the CRM at that dealership.

In previous articles, I’ve noted that technical tools do not immediately guarantee success. They need a foundation in the same way a building needs a strong framework. Otherwise, the dealership has just wasted a lot of money on whatever tool or system has been purchased.

Once processes and structures are defined, the leadership team can implement proper accountability at the dealership to achieve maximum results. If done properly, the combination of process and technology produces highly satisfactory results. Accountability and manager follow-up is essential, and the GM or dealer principal should be involved in the inspection process. In short, get out of your office and be the leader/operator you are supposed to be.

Spend the time to successfully integrate leadership, process and technology into a powerful juggernaut to drive sustained success at the dealership. Take the time to acquire the keys that will help to transform your dealership. If you’re successful, I will get to say, “Aha! They finally got it!”

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