Trust the Process: Improve Your CRM Processes for Long-Term Success
In the sports world, the phrase trust the process has become popular among fans of organizations that make unusual (sometimes even questionable) short-term decisions. Management makes these decisions to build a team that will be successful in the long term, but the unfamiliar process sometimes leaves fans shaken up.
Take the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. For the past six years, the team has taken what some have deemed a questionable approach to decision-making and style of play. Management’s vision was that the unorthodox decisions would pay off down the road, and they asked their faithful — but confused — fans to trust the process. Now? The 76ers finished with the third-best record in the NBA's Eastern Conference, and the team is loaded with young, talented players who can sustain long-term success and help build a franchise.
Dealers too need to recognize that process changes that may seem painful in the short term are critical to long-term success. To make the most of their CRM and drive success, dealers must not only trust their existing processes, but also recognize when it's time to revisit those processes. Then they must fully commit to trusting those new processes.
CRMs and the process
Process can mean many different things to different dealerships, but when I say process, I mean the series of tasks that automatically fire in the CRM. CRM processes can make or break a dealership’s efficiency and profitability, so it’s critical that these processes meet your needs.
Getting the CRM process right is the first step in trusting it. The ultimate goal for every dealership is to sell more cars, but there are a number of steps that have to happen before you can get to the sale.
Before making a sale, you have to collect data from a lead; follow up with the lead; set, confirm, and keep appointments; manage and record conversations; and ultimately, make the car sale.
Many of these steps have steps within them as well, and multiple people are involved in every step. For the CRM to drive efficiency, you have to set up processes that account for every single step and every single person involved. Your processes have to be granular.
Strong, specific CRM processes make each simultaneously occurring step easier on the person carrying it out, which builds trust.
This helps improve the customer experience and, eventually, sells more cars.
CRM processes affect every part of a dealership: internet leads, phone leads, walk-ins, customers who visit but don’t buy — the list goes on and on. Because there are so many CRM processes to build, many dealerships set their processes once and think they will last forever.
In reality, failing to revisit your processes regularly is asking for inefficiency and distrust. A good CRM process is built specifically for each dealership and the current sales climate. As the business and marketplace evolves, your CRM processes should evolve. If you’re not sure if it's time to revisit your CRM processes, keep an eye out for a couple of red flags:
- If your CRM is constantly overflowing with uncompleted tasks, your CRM process may be too complicated for staff to manage.
- On the flip side, if there are never any uncompleted tasks in your CRM, your process is likely not accurately mirroring all the steps that need to be taken to make a sale.
If you keep seeing these red flags, don’t be afraid to start from square one with your CRM processes. It may feel overwhelming to completely rebuild, but you can’t expect your staff to trust a process that doesn’t work.
Keeping processes moving forward
Once you’ve reevaluated and rebuilt your processes, the next step to building trust in the process is to get buy-in from teams. If the management team builds and implements a process without consulting the people who will actually use it, that process is likely to fail.
When implementing a new process, set up a testing period and get ongoing feedback from staff. Don’t forget to consult your CRM provider as well; it has likely seen issues like yours and can be a great resource. Your CRM provider can also often give recommendations on training programs, which are critical in ensuring the team trusts the new processes that have been built.
Your staff may get a little shaken up by CRM process changes at first. Just as sports fans are resistant to play- and management-style changes, employees are often resistant to workplace changes. When you get your staff to trust the process, however, improved CRM processes will improve your dealership’s efficiency and profitability.
Mark Vickery is the senior director of performance management at VinSolutions.