Are You Losing the CRM Game?

Jul 14, 2013 | | 14276 |

Are You Losing the CRM Game?

By Dave Tibbils

Even in a technology-driven world, where car buyers routinely visit your online showroom and use the web to research their next vehicle purchase, people will still call your dealership before ever walking in. Maybe they need directions, or want to find out how late you are open. Or maybe they just want to connect before making an investment.

Whatever the case, your phone is a critical lifeline for your dealership. It represents a key opportunity to capture new leads … that is, if you actually capture them.

Industry trends show that about 60% of callers are not entered into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. That’s a pretty scary implication. If 100 potential new customers called your dealership in the last month, fewer than 40 of those leads can be tracked with your CRM system.

Without any way of following up, how can your business survive? And, what was the point of investing in the CRM system?

Let’s take that a step further: In October 2012, Marchex, Inc. released a study showing that about 45% of calls into your dealership are from new customers. Those potential new customers are calling …

  • … with questions about new vehicles or price quotes, 54% of the time
  • … to get directions and find out your hours of operation, 23% of the time
  • … about services or vehicles not offered by your dealership, 19% of the time
  • … to make an appointment or purchase over the phone, 4% of the time

But what’s really scary is that 20% of all dealership calls go unanswered, according to the same Marchex, Inc. study. To break that down with an example:

  • 100 potential new customers called your dealership last month
  • 40 new leads went into your CRM
  • 20 potential sales were missed entirely

That also means someone in your dealership talked to 40 potential customers, but you have no way of following up or tracking those leads. And what if any of those callers were placed on hold? Data shows that 26% of people hang up when they are on hold.

In short, not managing your phone and CRM system is literally costing you money every day.

Getting to the bottom of it

Knowing that missed calls represent missed Sales opportunities is one thing, but when you’ve spoken with potential customers and they still represent missed opportunities … that is quite another. We all recognize the importance of investing in a quality CRM solution that works for your dealership and your employees, but the CRM system is only as good as the information that’s in it and the people who manage it.

Getting your Salespeople to enter every phone lead is absolutely critical, but there are two reasons why they do not enter leads: 1) They don’t want to, or 2) They don’t know how to.

They don’t want to

Today’s work environment is fraught with multitasking and trying to do more with less. We get it. We are all busy, and remembering to add every lead into a CRM system is “just one more thing to do.” As a dealer, it is important that you stress the value of your CRM solution to your Salespeople—how it will help increase Sales opportunities and thus, their paychecks.

But equally important is creating a system that holds Salespeople accountable for using the CRM system to its full effect. Maybe it’s an incentive, maybe it’s a penalty. Only you can decide what is right for your store and employees.

They don’t know how to

Here is where you have particularly effective options.

When selecting a CRM solution, make sure the provider includes plenty of training—not only for the employees who are on board the day your solution goes live, but also ongoing support and training. You will need that to keep everyone’s knowledge fresh to help get more and more out of the solution; that is, to increase system utilization and maximize your investment. You also need ongoing training to be available for new employees. As your Sales team turns over (and they will!), you want to make sure your new additions are fully capable of using the system that drives sales for your business.

Another equally important option is to implement a phone system that adds your callers’ information to your CRM solution with the push of a button. How much simpler (and faster) could it be? No more asking callers to give their names and phone numbers. You have it on the caller ID, so a simple push of a button can export that data directly to your CRM. Now, there is no excuse for not knowing how to enter leads or getting distracted from doing it.

Improving those statistics

If we revisit the statistics we cited at the beginning of this article, we learned that about 40% of potential new customers talked with someone in your dealership, but their lead information was never captured in your CRM system. And, about 20% of the people who call your dealership go straight to someone’s voicemail.

What if you had technological resources that helped you track down those lost callers? Wouldn’t you want an intelligence report showing you that New Customer A left a message for Salesperson B, but never received a call back? What would you do with that information? Would you create processes and workflows around capturing those leads and ensuring effective, timely follow-ups?

Those same call intelligence reports can help you reduce the number of unanswered calls, too. That is, with the data available at your fingertips, you might discover that the bulk of your missed calls come in around lunchtime, when your staff is reduced or busy with customers. With that information, you can adjust your staffing and scheduling policies accordingly.

The good news is that your options do not end there. Today’s Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems offer a wealth of opportunities to improve Sales and Marketing processes for your dealership because the right VoIP phones will integrate seamlessly with your dealership applications, including your CRM system. With those two technologies working together, you can begin to improve your lead captures, follow up on more opportunities, build more effective processes around managing phone calls, and drive more sales for your dealership.


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Dave Tibbils