Why CRM Data Can Be a Dealer’s Best Friend

Dealers are better than ever before about using available data in their CRM, but there’s still much more that can be done

Dealers have so much data at their fingertips that is not being used effectively. Failing to use this data wastes leads, and impacts sales and revenue at the dealership.

Dealers are better today than they used to be about using the data they have available in their customer relationship management (CRM) system, but there’s still much more that can be done. The potential impact of fully utilizing your CRM is endless, but too often, dealers and salespeople are focused on what is in front of them right now.

For far too long, too many dealerships have—and still—run in a vacuum. The front end of the business (sales and finance) and the back end of the business (service and parts) don’t act in a cohesive manner. In reality, they should be working together.

When they do work together, the dealership has a higher likelihood to generate more revenue from its customers. For customers, it needs to be a seamless experience. And ultimately, the experience should always be all about the customer.

The amount of data a dealership has on customers can impact how you interact with them, both now and in the future. Dealerships have a wealth of available data about their customers: sales information such as financials, customer details, and service records.

When you fuse this data together, you can bridge sales and service to create new selling opportunities. By actively storing your data and using it effectively, you will be able to identify customer needs while also boosting your business.

For example, during the service process, you can identify upsell opportunities for warranty sales in F&I. Additionally, if you have service customers whose cars are on their last legs, you can convert them into sales customers.

There are so many other ways your CRM data can work to both your sales and service teams’ advantage, and answer questions about your dealership. The CRM can help you understand the issues at your dealership, and tell you why a customer may be using your service offerings, but has not bought a car from you—or vice versa.

The data from your dealer management system (DMS) is pulled into your CRM. Because of this, if you’re not connecting the dots and finding areas where you can interact with customers, you’re missing many new and existing opportunities.

On your used car lot, you can determine what vehicles you need, leveraging your database to identify customers who own the types of cars and trucks you need, then reach out to them with a compelling buy-back offer for that vehicle.

Likewise, if a customer’s lease is expiring and you want their car in your used car inventory, you can actively reach out to them early to make an intriguing offer. This gives you both a used car to sell and another new car sales lead.

This article just scratches the surface of what your customers’ data—and the effective use of it with your CRM—can do for your bottom line.

Bringing in new customers, having your sales and service teams work together, and having a plan for those critical questions—instead of playing the guessing game when problems arise—are all great ways to improve your bottom line, and increase customer satisfaction.

Shelli Clark is VinSolutions’ director of marketing, a position she has held since October 2015. She has held several roles at VinSolutions since 2009, including director of training and director of operational readiness. She has 20+ years of automotive experience on both the dealer and the vendor side, and has a real passion for dealers and their customers.

Shelli Clark


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