If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: The CRM only works as well as the people using it. And to get your people to use the CRM, you have to implement the right processes that will allow them to do their best work.
Let’s start by defining what I mean when I say “processes,” which can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different dealers. What I’m talking about is the specific series of tasks that fire up your salespeople when an opportunity is entered into the CRM. CRM processes play an enormous role in how cars are sold at your dealership, and yet I believe most dealers would agree they aren’t using their CRM to its full potential.
It’s easy to forget why we even need processes. The goal is simple, right? Sell more cars. But to achieve that goal, multiple people in the dealership have to complete multiple steps. From making the initial customer contact to the showroom visit to an excellent delivery, a lot of specific actions must be taken to sell a car. Good processes provide an opportunity for quality control at every step which, in turn, improves the customer experience and ultimately sells more cars.
Every dealership is different, so every process should be different, but there are a couple of common mistakes we often see dealers make that are worth keeping in mind as you develop your processes.
The first common process mistake is not having enough processes set up. For example, an Internet lead process won’t help you with a customer who comes into the showroom but does not buy a car. Without a specific process for that specific scenario, salespeople are going to be given tasks that are not right, or worse, given no tasks at all. Think through all customer interaction scenarios — not just the most common — and set up CRM processes to accommodate every scenario. You’ll see improvements to efficiency in no time.
The second common mistake is setting up processes once and never touching them again. No process can, or should, last forever. The industry is constantly evolving, your dealership is constantly evolving and your customers are constantly evolving. For your CRM to work for you, your processes should evolve as well. If you sense something isn’t working quite right with one of your processes, tweak it right away; don’t wait until the situation becomes urgent. A good rule of thumb, though, is to review all of your processes — even those that seem to be working fine — at least once a year.
It may seem like a lot of work to spend so much time on your processes, but any successful CRM user will tell you that the effort is worth it. Implement good processes and you will see improvements in efficiency, CRM utilization and, most important, profitability.