4 Tough Questions to Move Past “Just OK” Dealership CRM

If you’ve seen AT&T’s recent ad campaign, “Just OK Is Not OK,” you’ll understand that mediocrity might work for some goods and services, but not for those that really matter.

A dealer’s CRM really matters.

Dealers making do with substandard CRMs often use excuses for why they haven’t switched yet. They don’t want to spend the time or money to upgrade. Choosing and implementing a new system is work. Changing to a new CRM system means deciding what data to keep and what to clean out. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know. The old system works well enough…if you know what you’re doing, and you know just the right way to query and run reports.

Inertia is a powerful force. 

Dealers are often so focused on the customer that they don’t pay enough attention to their own needs. It’s the case of the cobbler not having good shoes. Before dealers can address the consumer’s expectations, they need to know themselves and have a clear vision of their own unique business workings and strategy.

Dealer profitability doesn’t start with the customer’s vehicle and F&I product purchase. It starts with the efficiency and effectiveness of your technology solutions. The right CRM can make all the difference in driving up CSI scores and closing the knowledge gap between customers and dealers. According to Nucleus Research, every CRM dollar spent returns $8.71 to a business. Despite this, not all CRMs are created equal. If your dealership’s CRM is “just OK,” you’re likely managing “just OK” customer relationships. That means “just OK” customer satisfaction and loyalty too.

As a dealer, “just OK” is not an OK mantra. You should ensure you’re getting the most out of your system. That means making sure you’re selecting the best CRM technology and provider for your dealership’s needs. To do this, dealers must ask themselves four tough questions: What internal business processes will your CRM support? What are the basic technology requirements at your dealership? What other systems should integrate with the CRM? Will the CRM be easy to use?

  1. What Internal Business Processes Will Your CRM Support? Every dealership sings its own tune when it comes to internal sales processes. With a rigid CRM, you have to shift the way you do things to work squarely within the confines of your technology. That means your technology drives the usage, instead of the other way around. Don’t settle. The right CRM will be able to harmonize with you. Your dealership staff should be able to work the way they want and need to, with CRM technology supporting them, rather than the reverse.
  2. What Are the Basic Technology Requirements at Your Dealership? Will your sales staff want to use the CRM only while sitting at their desk, or will they need access from the showroom floor or perhaps out on the lot? Wherever they are, a CRM that facilitates easy web and mobile access (such as VinSolutions Connect Mobile) is essential to keep up with rising customer expectations for a personalized, transparent and seamless car-buying experience. If your staff currently only uses the CRM at their desks, think about the advantages of having access elsewhere. Imagine how the ability to access the CRM and necessary customer information on-the-go will help sales efforts and enhance the customer experience.
  3. What Other Systems Will the CRM Need to Integrate With? Your CRM should be able to integrate with your other dealership technologies seamlessly. The average dealership today uses multiple systems, and your CRM will need to integrate with almost all of them. If the various systems aren’t talking to each other, you lose efficiency and risk compromising accuracy. With so many different data sources simultaneously in use, dealerships often find themselves with incorrect customer information that cost your dealership both time and money you could be investing in other areas of the business.
  4. Will the CRM Be Easy to Use? When considering a CRM, you’ll want to ask if it’s easy to use. Don’t underestimate the impact of intuitive technology. According to an Inside CRM report, 65 percent of CRM users list ease of use as their most demanded feature. If it’s not easy to use, sales staff won’t be able to leverage the system to its full extent, putting your dealership at a disadvantage and leaving untapped value on the table. Find a CRM that will make life easier for your staff. Comprehensive customer communication tracking and advanced, insightful reporting features will help maximize CRM utilization and empower managers to hold their team accountable. This will ultimately help streamline implementation and enhance long-term usability and results.

You have a lot of assets at your dealership: your staff, your inventory, your facility, your service offerings, your technology, and most importantly, your customers. Without customers, you have no business. They know the difference between a dealer that’s “just OK” versus one that knows them, caters to them and works to get their business. By knowing yourself and investing in the right CRM, you can better serve your customers while serving your own needs as well.


A version of this article originally appears in WardsAuto.