Employee retention is always top of mind for any business, and having well-trained, well-prepared employees is table stakes. For the dealership, there is one area in particular where leadership needs to focus: creating effective CRM training that helps employees to do their jobs effectively. Maintaining a robust training program influences both engagement and advancement. A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report noted that employees who are “engaged and thriving” are 59 percent less likely to look for a job with a different organization in the next 12 months.
Why is employee retention so important? The Society for Human Resource Management recently reported that the cost of replacing an employee can amount to six to nine months of that employee’s salary, while PwC found that the cost of losing an employee in the first year can be up to three times the person’s salary. These figures are a sobering reminder that having a well-trained, tenured staff who is maximizing the CRM can be the difference between realizing your goals and falling short.
Best Practices for Training
So how do you ensure your staff is trained properly and set up to succeed? Consider these four important points:
For starters, you need to understand where you currently are in the process. You need to assess the quality of not just your training, but your technology as well. Make sure you understand what is going on at the dealership — who is using the CRM effectively, if they are they happy with it, if there needs to be a change and so forth. You should also network with your peers and see what’s been effective for them so you can learn and adapt what’s already working. Finally, you need to keep an eye on the competition. What’s their value story? Is your team prepared to combat it? Don’t let them get a technological leg up on you.
Once that assessment is complete, you need to enact an effective training method and get it right from the start. The keys to getting it right include having a good process and schedule in place, and communicating the investment you are making in your team by arming them with tools and technology. Reinforce the commitment to training by setting up scheduled times to review new methods and features and address questions among your team. While classroom-style sessions can be helpful, both training and feedback sessions should ideally occur on a one-to-one basis to really be effective and to acquire good insights from your employees.
Once you have established your training foundation, dealers and staff need to understand that training is an ongoing process. Check in at least once a month to ensure that questions are answered, lessons are learned and best practices are implemented.
Of course, the best training is worthless if it’s not put into practice. Here are key factors to consider to help establish a culture that inspires usage and accountability:
When it comes to CRM adoption, it’s critical to have buy-in from the top, and designate someone to guide and maintain a uniformity across the staff. If you’re delegating, make sure those people are fully bought into the program.
Another key aspect of training is identifying potential threats to your goal — are there people who are down on your culture and best intentions? You may have some holdouts who can really make it tough. Having an ambassador for your program can offer reinforcement in areas and ways you may not be able to.
In looking for a “CRM Champion,” ask yourself: Who will be the individual in your upper ranks who is driving training and participation? Does this person have the trust among the team? Identify that person and make it a foundational element of their portfolio.
Last and certainly not least, you need to have the right technology in place. The best dealers are those living on the digital edge. We need to understand that technology in the automotive space is continually evolving and that takes pure initiative on the dealer staff. What this means is that every six to 12 months, you need to be reviewing the products available to you. Although that may unnecessary, you can’t afford to be complacent.
Your dealership has a great opportunity to increase staff satisfaction — and your bottom line — by making a commitment to training your staff. Make sure you don’t fall behind. Empower your employees with the tools and training to succeed in today’s environment.