As I travel and work with dealerships all over the country I am constantly amazed at how often I find that the CRM in dealerships is not functions properly. It is pretty scary that when I ask dealers and managers to tell me how well it is being used and they tell me how it is being utilized properly. However, when I log in I see no process for anything. I see showroom customers not being logged, closing ratios not making sense, no processes installed (making sales and BDC people work backwards). Basically everyone is just “winging” it and using what they can.The other day I was talking about how whenever I ran or sometimes still run the Internet, BDC, or sales department in a dealership that my CRM is clean, updated, and easy to manage. I never let anything slip through the cracks. I know every customer that walked in was logged. I also know that sales people and sales managers typically do a bad job of updating information or resulting out what happened in the sales processes. This is where I lay down the hammer and question everything. The key here is to monitor to everything like a hawk and be able to fix what mess gets created. The other key ingredient is getting on sales staff and managers to do what they need to do. In some cases, utilize the receptionist to help keep proper traffic count just like Eric Nichols does at Apple Honda in Riverhead, NY. They say that reports generated by the CRM are non functional and can provide improper data. Well I got news for you. The data provides misinformation as the people that misuse the CRM are ultimately responsible for creating the misinformation. Depending on the size of the dealership operation there might be a need to have a CRM master specialist to make sure that all data is correct from sourcing, to usage, to accountability of management, in many cases the Internet manager is in that role as they battle to prove to the dealer why they need to get paid on this deal or that deal.
So how do we have a grasp on our CRM? Well it is really easy but requires a lot of work and management. This is why we call it “Customer Relationship Management”. Find someone in the dealership that will master the system and use it the proper way. I am talking about installing proper processes (follow up, internet leads, phone calls, showroom traffic, etc…), managing how the system is being used by sales and management (this includes manually cleaning up the mess that is created at times), and measure proper reports according to the proper data. Yes, it takes work and it requires someone that is very sharp to be on top of the game. However, at the end of the day all of your results can be properly accounted for one you calibrate the system right. My advice is to set it up right the right time and manage it on a very high level. I cannot tell you how many times dealerships have contracted me to come in for 1-2 days and just fix their CRM system. It becomes difficult work when you are fixing years and years worth of errors. While there are CRM systems that are way better than others, it still all comes down to how you use it.
Dealers looking to improve on how to use their CRM should reach out to me directly so that I can help them come up with an effective strategy.