With 2017 just around the corner, you might be considering a change in your CRM. Maybe the contract with your current vendor is ending, or maybe your CRM just isn’t delivering the value you need — and you’re ready for an upgrade. But before you splurge on a CRM with bells and whistles you may not need, however, it’s important to identify what you do need — the features that really move the needle when it comes to revenue.

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Here are the five features every dealership should look for:

1. Intuitive design — If your team is actually going to utilize and embrace your CRM, it should be easy to use. You don’t want to click through several screens just to complete a simple task, and you don’t want your business to come to a grinding halt while everyone gets used to the software. Also, when you hire a new employee, a CRM with a streamlined approach to completing tasks will make it easier to train them — so they can start winning sales faster.

How it sets you up for success:
 Take a look at your task completion rate to measure how employees are engaging with the CRM. Intuitive design helps ensure that these numbers stay high.

2. Process flexibility — Every dealership is different, so why should a CRM be a one-size-fits-all solution? Your CRM should conform to the way you do business, not the other way around. A flexible CRM will allow admin and management teams to customize the processes for entering leads and following up based on where the lead came from — making it easier for salespeople to close deals.

How it sets you up for success: If your CRM is tailored to your processes, your close rates and appointment show rates should be higher.

3. Mobile capabilities — The sooner you’re able to act on leads, the better chance you’ll have of getting customers in your showroom. And, once you have them there, your CRM’s mobile app will let you search your inventory for cars that match their interests, all without leaving their side. According to the 2016 Car Buyer Study by IHS Automotive, most of the purchase process is spent negotiating or doing paperwork — resulting in only a 56 percent satisfaction rate. A CRM with a mobile document scanner ensures that they won’t be sitting at your desk while you work the copy machine for 15 minutes.

How it sets you up for success: Your time-to-close rate should be faster than before. The less time it takes to respond to customers and gather their information, the faster you can get them into a new car.

4. Efficiency gains — For your customer journey to be as smooth and efficient as possible, it’s critical to have a CRM that keeps up-to-date records to ensure that you won’t have tasks to send irrelevant emails to your customers. Nobody wants to get service offers for cars they haven’t owned in 10 years, and the right CRM will have a feature that ensures those tasks never show up in the first place — allowing you to focus on tasks that matter.

How it sets you up for success: If your CRM helps to keep your processes as efficient as possible, there’s no reason you won’t see higher conversion rates.

5. Integrations with existing vendors — Your CRM should be able to work seamlessly with the software you already own, from appraisal and pricing tools to Website visitor tracking tools. Choose a CRM that offers single sign-on for all the solutions you’ve already invested in. This will make training and implementation easier because your team won’t have to log into multiple portals. Most importantly, seamless integration means data is shared between your existing software and your CRM, so you’ll have all the insights you need to run your business better.

How it sets you up for success: Thanks to a more efficient workflow, your time-to-close rate should be higher than before.

Choosing a new CRM isn’t an easy decision, but in order to be successful, you need one that puts functionality first, instead of complicating things with unnecessary add-ons. If you look for a CRM that streamlines your processes, conforms to the way you do business and integrates with your existing software, you’ll be well on your way to better customer connections and increased sales.


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