3 Quick Ways to Collect More Customer Data

You’ll hear it said a lot around the VinSolutions office: If it’s not in the CRM, it didn’t happen. And it’s true – for your CRM to help you make more sales, you must consistently collect valid customer data. Every piece of information you collect about a customer is objectively valuable because it will help you contact them with opportunities and be more informed about their specific needs when you do.

Customer retention is a big deal. Gartner Group statistics say that 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from 20% of its existing customers, so you need to be able to create good relationships with your current customers.

How are you going to email those customers if you didn’t get their email addresses into the CRM? How can you call if you don’t have their phone numbers? Where will you send direct mail if you don’t have their address? How will you know to tell them about new manufacturers’ incentives if you didn’t make a note of which vehicle they wanted?

To build a culture of effective CRM usage, you must start with gathering the fundamental pieces of data that make customer relationship development and communications possible. At VinWorx 2018, Jim Blaha, Lead Performance Manager for VinSolutions, offered the following suggestions for improving your dealership’s CRM data capture.

1. Make it mandatory

From a sales management standpoint, you must drive home the importance of customer data collection and hold sales staff accountable for it. CRM processes can enable a degree of automated accountability by requiring an email address and phone number be entered to add a customer to the system. Managers will still need to review the information to make sure the data is valid, but setting up processes that force data collection can cut back on the manual labor required to hold staff accountable.

2. Have reasons for asking

Even a seasoned salesperson can sometimes feel hesitant about asking for contact information from prospective customers because they sense it is an unwelcome question. The solution is to think through – in advance – some reasonable rationales for requesting the information. For example, if you’re going to be leaving the customer for a few minutes, you could say, “Feel free to look at more cars on the lot while we get you ready for your test drive. If you’ll give me your mobile number, I’ll text you when the car’s ready.”

At some point, you could mention that you’d like to email them information relevant to their vehicle interests and make a note of the email address. The point is to demonstrate what the customer will gain by providing their information. It should feel less like filling in the blanks and more like a logical choice for receiving more value.

3. Take it mobile

If you’re trying to make data collection feel more casual and less like an interrogation, it helps if you and the customer aren’t stuck at a desk. Connect Mobile includes features that make it fast and easy to collect certain customer information without even having to key it in. The Driver’s License Scanner is particularly useful because it instantly gives you the customer’s legal name – spelled correctly – and street address. There’s also a VIN scanner in Connect Mobile so you can make note of your customer’s vehicles of interest quickly and easily.