These days, every dealership uses a variety of technology. However, from their CRM to various marketing partners, to the DMS and the smallest widget on their Website, we often find that, while they have all of this technology at their fingertips, many dealers aren’t using it to its maximum potential.
In the many years I have been working directly with vendors and dealers, I have managed to gather some best practice tips on this subject that I thought might be useful to help make the most of your technology and really get the best bang for your buck:
1. Investigate Integration — There are many companies and services that integrate well with each other. By simply investigating and asking your vendor reps if they have some cross-functionality with any of your other technologies, you may find new features available that you were previously unaware of. This is a simple process, as it only requires a simple task: asking. Vendor reps should be happy to assist in setting up and informing you of any cross-integration that may exist. It optimizes their services and your dealership should see more success with their product and any that it integrates with — a win-win for your dealership and any vendor partners.
2. Know All You Can About Existing Services — I am pretty sure you can remember a moment where your vendor rep told you about a feature that you weren’t previously aware of — despite using the system for a while. It’s that “I didn’t know it did that!” moment. Work with your vendors to get fully educated and knowledgeable about all the features included in their products and services so you can benefit from optimum utilization. Dealers spend a ton of money on all of the technology in their dealerships. Generally, the decisions to implement a service or product are made at high levels. While those individuals — dealers, general managers, etc. — may have seen demos and been involved in that decision, often the primary users were not. Simply knowing what features and services are available in the technology you already use can increase the value of those vendor’s products and services and might even save money.
3. Train Staff on Technology — We’re in an industry that has high turnover — especially in sales. It may seem a chore to ensure that every employee knows how to efficiently and effectively utilize the technology in the store, but look at it as an opportunity, not a distraction. Take the CRM, for example. Many times new salespeople are on-boarded with nothing more than a rudimentary lesson on how to log customers and complete a to-do list for follow up. Unless your dealership has an ongoing internal training process for its technologies, dealership staff will never be utilizing technology at an optimum level. Empower your team with knowledge and provide regular training. You may want to consider an internal certification program which incentivizes staff in some way for taking the time to learn the tools available to them. This way staff actually wants to learn, rather than viewing it as a chore or obligation.
Most vendors offer trainings that are in-person, via phone call or Webinar. Work proactively with your vendors to ensure you know what you have. You may be surprised to find that you don’t need a new tool to solve that pain point that has been bugging you for months — there may well be a simple solution to it right there in your dealership in an existing vendor product or service.