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Reclaiming Missed Opportunities in Sales

Do you have lead alerts set up in your CRM? Do you check lead reports daily to ensure that car shoppers are being followed up with?

Phil Spagnoli currently serves as regional sales director for Elead. Phil has worked his entire career in the auto industry, including as a fixed ops director and service manager for a dealership in Washington State.

I recently purchased a car for my daughter, and the experience made me realize there are still many car dealerships that need to work on the most basic of processes. We knew the type of vehicle that we wanted, so I submitted leads to five or six Dodge dealerships in the area. I received automated emails from all of the dealerships, but I never heard from a single salesperson. I did not get one email, one phone call or one text. 

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This was shocking to me, perhaps because I am immersed in a culture that promotes best practices and the importance of process. Are dealers selling so many vehicles now that selling a few less doesn’t make a difference? I have to wonder how many other car shoppers submitted leads and never heard from the salespeople.

When leads are ignored, two things are happening. First, your sales team is not using the CRM the way they’re supposed to. It’s easy to set up new lead alerts so your salespeople will never miss an opportunity. Second, someone isn’t managing incoming leads. 


Every CRM has the ability to produce reports that managers can pull and review all new opportunities within a specified time parameter. I assume my name showed up on these reports, but I never heard from anyone so I also assume that many managers aren’t reviewing these reports on a regular basis, like they should be. 

A best practice is to set up lead alerts in the CRM and check lead reports daily to ensure that car shoppers are being followed up with. If the response time is over 10 minutes, starting managing.

Mandate CRM Usage

It still boggles my mind that dealers pay a monthly fee for a state-of-the-art CRM and then not mandate its usage. Most salespeople use less than 20% of a CRM’s capabilities.


In every store, there needs to be a CRM power user; someone who knows the ins and outs of the software and champions usage on a daily basis. In the most successful dealerships, this person is the GSM or GM. Usage mandates must come from the top down. You can’t expect your sales team to do something that your managers aren’t doing.

Make CRM training and usage mandatory for everyone, especially senior level management.

Your sales team needs to be held accountable for all aspects of CRM usage. They need to know how many leads, ups, calls and appointments they have to make to meet performance goals. Every team member needs to know exactly what is expected of them, from logging ups to follow up after the sale.


What are the top six activities in your road to the sale? Assign those activities to your salespeople on a daily basis and make sure they get done.

If your team isn’t doing what they need to do, find out why. If cultural obstacles are the reason, find a way to remove those obstacles. Set daily, weekly and monthly goals and have daily save-a-deal and save-a-lead meetings. Better yet, tie a clearly defined incentive or bonus structure to CRM activities based on your business goals, and change the goals often, preferably monthly.

How many sales opportunities has your dealership missed in the last month? If you’re not checking CRM reports, you might be shocked at how many car shoppers never heard from your team after submitting a lead. Recovering lost opportunities is not difficult, but it does require consistent follow-up effort from your sales team. The only way to make that happen is to mandate CRM usage and make sure that your managers are actually managing.

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