Record-keeping, note-taking, data entry: No one ever said organizing their CRM was the most thrilling part of their job.
But keeping careful records can be a supremely effective, if not incredibly sexy, way to not only smooth and streamline your dealership’s entire sales process, but also improve performance and maximize the potential of each of your leads.
A recent VinSolutions/AutoKnows study found that 83% of best-in-class dealerships took advantage of regular CRM reporting—and across industries, a wealth of smartly used information can help personalize the sales process, promote accountability and productivity, and, most importantly, increase sales.
Here are some specific areas where your CRM can boost the value of your leads and help you take advantage of every sales opportunity.
Lead follow-up and nurture
The information that comes into your CRM when a lead converts is obviously important: contact information, number of visits to your website, session duration, pages viewed, and, of course, which offer prompted the conversion. But this only the beginning.
Your leads dramatically increase in value when you use your CRM to plan and track every step of turning them to sales: when customers are called, how many times it takes to reach them, all email exchanges, records of any questions the customer asked—or that your team asked the customer—and answers provided.
Recording the entire customer journey in your CRM allows your team to proactively help move customers to the next stage, keep your dealership top of mind for shoppers, and retain business.
Whether it’s a follow-up call tomorrow after a dealership visit, a service reminder for six months from now, or a check-in in two years when a lease is up, accurate data moves the customer journey forward with efficiency, accuracy, and helpfulness for the shopper. It ensures that no leads get left behind—and that your dealership gets more new and return business.
Office workflows, handoffs, and accuracy
Whether you are handing off a lead from BDC to sales, from sales to F&I, or just to your colleague when you are out sick, record-keeping means that each time your team interacts with customers, it can add value, avoid confusion and repetition, and keep the process moving.
Also, let’s face it: Even people with the best memories will not be able to accurately remember every detail of every interaction with every customer. Writing it down saves time, guesswork, and lost leads.
Better goal setting, improved process
CRM discipline means your dealership can track and analyze your sales processes so you make more sales, by asking questions such as:
- How many touch points does it take to reach a customer?
- How much time is best to wait between phone calls or emails?
- What type of follow-up works?
- Which lead sources perform the best?
These records facilitate effective goals and strategies to maximize leads and boost revenue.
The benefits of outstanding CRM use are myriad, yet, many dealerships fall short. That’s why it’s important to cultivate staff buy-in. Here are a few suggestions on how to do so:
- Comprehensive training. Take the time to make sure your staff really understands how to use your CRM: reading the appropriate data, planning and logging activities, and pulling reports. Eliminate the frustration and noncompliance that comes from simple confusion.
- Leadership. Everyone needs to use your CRM, including managers, to create a culture of clear process, collaboration, and shared expertise.
- Opportunities for feedback. Check in with your team regularly on its experiences with your CRM. See if people have questions or want to learn more. Find out who hates the CRM, and why. Feedback is essential for improving processes and solving problems.
- Recognition for effective use. When you pull reports from your CRM every week, recognize members of your team who have exceeded expectations; for example, most number of calls, most appointments set, most return customers reached. This provides positive reinforcement and natural incentive for all team members to log their activities. Everyone wants their hard work to be recognized. Make your CRM the place where that can happen.
Great CRM discipline at your dealership is key to team efficiency and making the most of your leads. When your process is clean, your work becomes more valuable, and more leads—past, present, and future—become sales, faster.
Investing in implementing and maintaining a great CRM strategy cannot be an afterthought—it’s an essential piece of your effective digital marketing strategy.
Shoshana DuBow is the Sales Operations Manager at AutoLeadStar. Holding an MBA and bringing a wide variety of professional experience to her position, including real estate management, teaching, and marketing, she is constantly looking for creative ways to improve sales processes. Shoshana is always open to industry collaboration, so please reach out. Reach out to Shoshana at [email protected].
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