The Value of People in CRM

Generally speaking, when the subject of automotive CRM is mentioned, thoughts of computers, software, and technology first come to mind and for good reason. Strong technology is vital to drive the right processes that attract and close significantly more business in the showroom and service drive. Yet, while the right technology serves as one wing on the “CRM aircraft,” we often forget (or at best, reduce) the importance of the second, very necessary wing to make the whole thing fly—the right people.
Dealers and managers are certainly key among the people needed for CRM success. Let’s face it: your leadership, involvement and buy-in mean everything, especially in the weeks and months following a CRM launch. There are many more outside the dealership, however, who are also invested in supporting the CRM effort. Such support goes well beyond just “customer support” (which most think of immediately) and includes virtually every member of the partnering company who works with the dealer to define and execute what I call a “Strategy for Success.” Let’s consider a few of them:
Project management—CRM touches every part of your dealership, or at least it should. It’s a big deal. It’s why every store needs a personal project manager to coordinate the many aspects of installation and deployment, externally and internally—the “ring leader” maintaining satisfaction during a time of transition.
Deployment specialists—These highly-knowledgeable personnel work with project managers to get the technology, integration and data working at optimal performance.
Trainers—Buy-in happens here! Make no mistake; this cannot be where-to-go and what-to-click training. You should see highly-qualified individuals glowing with enthusiasm about the solution, explaining the why behind the what (benefits of use on every level), offering best practices, and serving as your number one agent to getting your CRM in place and making money as quickly as possible.
Account managers—Ongoing success happens in the store. Your field account manager builds the ongoing relationship by working with you and your management to identify business goals, processes in need of improvement, and new opportunities to build the greatest return on your investment. They are your advocate, creating that ongoing partnership between you and your CRM vendor.
Managed Service consultants—Many dealers seek that cutting edge and find it with a managed services approach to CRM, especially in terms of their database marketing. Managed services consultants work with the dealer to create and execute targeted, multi-touch, multi-channel campaigns, resulting in even more business by month end.
Support technicians—Let’s not forget the certified team members who are there to help when the need arises. These product specialists should field questions via phone in a timely and friendly manner, helping to maintain the health of this well-oiled machine.
The right people are the difference between a CRM product and a true CRM solution. They help maximize the buy-in, usage, results, and ROI surrounding the solution. In short, they make all the difference.
Bryan Anderson is the founder and general manager of Autobase. For more information, call 888-396-5911 or visit



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