"Data is like garbage. You'd better know what you are going to do with it before you collect it." — Mark Twain
Online shopping behavior, vehicle history, contact information, communication preference, equity, customer loyalty, credit score — the amount of data that our industry analyzes and relies on every day is mind-boggling. But data by itself isn't really all that helpful to us. Figuring out the best way to use that data to sell and service more vehicles and improve the customer experience is what we all strive for.
Actionable data, by definition, is information that can and should be acted upon. Data becomes meaningless when not paired with other relevant information and there is no plan attached to it. In other words, knowing that a customer services their vehicle at your dealership regularly only becomes actionable if paired with the knowledge that they have equity in their current vehicle and the manufacturer warranty recently expired. What if you also knew that this same customer has been on your Website recently looking at new inventory? Now the plan becomes clear. Now we know what action to take.
Complete the picture of the customer journey and you can deliver relevant messaging at the right time. How do we complete that picture? How do we turn raw, useless data into consumable information that we can act upon?
Log everything in your CRM. Everything. A small piece of information that seems meaningless today may have value when paired with new data next year. Your CRM should inhale tons of data and exhale action.
If your team is not using the CRM to its fullest capability, find out why. If it's a training issue, train them. If it's a usability issue, it may be time to look into new technology that empowers them with ease-of-use. The ROI of a CRM that is used is immense.
The technologies that you use should create personal connections, not replace them. Preach this to your vendors and your team. It takes a high level of communication (between technologies, departments and people) for data to take shape.
Don't dilute the good stuff. Don't inundate your people with data they don't need. Salespeople, for example, need access to different data than service advisors, sales managers and GMs. Look for customizable technology that delivers relevant, consumable information where needed.