CRM Secrets to Drive Your Dealership

Aug 14, 2013 | | 13148 |

CRM Secrets to Drive Your Dealership

By Ryan Morrison

Your new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is due to be installed in a few days.  You expect it to help you better manage, as well as grow, your business. Everyone has told you that this CRM system can provide a substantial return on investment and is a foolproof tool that will catapult your business to the next level.

So, what can go wrong?

Here are three things that a CRM solution cannot do:

  • Teach employees how to sell
  • Fix broken or faulty processes
  • Improve inadequate leadership skills

These misconceptions often lead dealers to believe that the CRM solution is to blame when sales are lacking. However, when used correctly, it can help increase efficiency and CSI. Purchasing a new CRM tool is the first step, but you must learn how to make it work for your dealership.

How to implement your CRM solution successfully

Here are three things to keep in when if you want to fully utilize a new CRM solution:

  • Constantly train and update your employee’s skills
  • Make sure your processes are efficient by testing them on a regular basis
  • Invest in your leadership and grow your mid-level managers

Working with several OEMs as well as hundreds of dealerships in the United States, Canada and Latin America has exposed me to a wide variety of CRM tools available on the market. Some stores flourish with their CRM solution, while others see very limited improvement with it. It all depends on how the dealership is using the tool.

To get the most out of your CRM solution, try these steps:

  • Customize your solution by changing the default settings—create your own process map and have your CRM tool support your design
  • Place a higher value on the data in your CRM solution—it is your data, you own it, and you alone are accountable that it is accurate

Stores that have experienced success with their CRM solution talk through their strategy for prospects and customers alike. They invest the necessary time into what their processes, follow-ups, contacts and workflows will be. The entire management team co-authors these strategies, so that everyone owns them. These stores are also willing to rewrite anything that is outdated or no longer works.

Most importantly, they demand that their CRM tool supports their processes rather than defines them. Process mapping is a great exercise to perform with your entire management team in order to clearly plan the direction you want to go in. Whether you are installing a new CRM solution or have been using your current one for years, an updated process map can help boost your team’s performance quickly.

You get out what you put in

There are many ways to say this, but input equals output, and this is especially true when you are talking about a CRM solution. Too many managers today blame the data rather than their involvement, leadership and processes—and sadly, are influencing the decision makers. If you cannot trust or do not want to trust your CRM solution’s reporting, you are in a tough situation. In order to manage a business effectively, you need to trust your staff and the solutions they use.

So, how do you change this?

Here are three secret steps to fixing your data integrity:

  • Create small teams of 4-7 people under one manager who is responsible for their data and CRM utilization
  • Hold managers accountable for their team’s performance, because if they can’t help 4-7 people interact and do their jobs efficiently with your CRM solution, then you cannot trust them to lead one of your departments  
  • Change up the teams every few months—begin by allowing the managers to draft their first team (helps eliminate the “I got stuck with the bad guys syndrome”) and then, redraft every 4-6 months; you should soon be able to recognize a pattern in which some managers do well regardless who is on their team and others who fail repeatedly with those same people

Finding out which employees strive to succeed is a big step towards using your CRM solution to its full potential.


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Ryan Morrison