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Bill Phillips

Bill Phillips President

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CRM Decisions and Disasters - Part 1

cc95aa11438c91540c10f154d2dca34c.JPG?t=1Besides being asked, “What’s the best lead provider?” or “What’s new out there?” the most 

frequent question I get is about CRMs. “Which one is better and why?”

It makes me sleepy thinking about it… Each one claims to be the best, they are the fastest 

growing or the one that integrates better to the DMS than you have than that one. Even their 

desking tool is the best. Just ask them! Their database mining tool will do the same as Auto 

Alert, just try it. Their used car evaluation tool will rival V-Auto’s tool and to top it off, they 

all have hundreds of dealers using this tool and singing their praises. If you want to see a 

dealer using the tool, they’ll take you right to one to see it working, just not in your area. 

You’ll need to fly in to see it! But don’t worry about those pesky contracts, as they’ll let you 

off this drug any time you want for any reason. Simply say you’re done and go right back to 

your previous tool. Your data’s been saved, worked in both places waiting for you to take 

up where you left off. And you know the tool will let you sell more cars. Just install it, drink 

from our fire hose and off to the races you will go, selling more units right away because 

you now have a great CRM and you’re capturing all this cool data. Just… Just… Just!

OK, time to wake up out of that deep coma!

When you change your CRM from the one you’re currently not using correctly to the 

new one, you’ll get over the money losing drama it caused, wake up and realize it was all a 

fairy tale. The reality of it all is that your data will not be transferred from the tool you’re 

on to the one you’re going to in a smooth and flawless way at all! Rather in such a fashion 

that you will absolutely lose deals, because of how awfully it transferred and the format it’s 

been done in. Your staff will collapse in frustration over this event that you ground down to 

get a deal on, from a vendor that can’t possibly spend the time they need to actually train 

you on it correctly for what you paid. They’ll turn the fire hose on your staff to douse them 

in information and be out the door on their way to the next launch. All with a promise that 

they’ll be back to see you every 90 days. But, thank God for support tickets that are 

available, that will fix it! 

Is all of this sounding vaguely familiar? Well, guess what! You’re not alone. Of the 

approximately 16 CRM tools on the market, all are marketed or pitched in almost the same 

way. They all know what you want and many dealers drink the Kool-Aid of integration 

without realizing the cost or reality of what it will actually take to get it done. 

On the flip side of this coin, many of the tools can get close to this nirvana if they are used 

correctly. However, most are not used correctly. Most CRM companies have less than 5% of 

their clients using 25% of the tool to its proper capabilities. “Why?” you might ask. It’s all in 

the launch and training.

When I learned to drive a stick shift, my father didn’t teach me in traffic. We went 

someplace where I wouldn’t run in to anything and practiced until I got it. I mastered the 

clutch release, then focused on the gear selection and then on to driving while doing all of 

this. Sound familiar? Guess what? I didn’t get it first go round and drive home. In a similar 

fashion to learning to drive a vehicle we must learn to drive our CRMs properly. I often use 

this example; if I had a daughter that was repeatedly banging up the cheap Honda, I would 

not buy her a new BMW to solve the issue.

Many dealers run to a new solution confident that the new and improved tool will solve a 

use issue that should instead be remedied with training and accountability in their current 

tool. There it is, that dirty hard word… accountability!

That’s it for this time. Next I’ll cover solutions, what to look for and how to prepare your 


Megan Barto
Great post - with our CRM, we always say "Garbage In, Garbage Out" - a CRM can't send a customer a follow-up e-mail if there isn't an e-mail address logged in the CRM! If more dealers used their CRM to even remotely close to its full extent, we'd have a lot less CRM Swap Game - Isn't it easier to use your current CRM correctly than to try to launch a new one? I think so!
Jeff Collins
@Megan I agree and I'll add that a major disconnect is from the top down. While consulting I can't tell you how many times I walked into a store and asked a GM or GSM which report do you use the most in your CRM and why and got the deer in the head light look. Besides reporting task completion was another common fail. Bill is right about accountability.
Michael Bilson
Not sourcing properly, task completion, duplicate leads and some of the email content we send never gets to the in-box. Looking forward to the solutions post Bill.
Megan Barto
I think and under-utilized function of the CRM is automation. Why do we take our time manually doing tasks that the CRM can do for us? I know in our CRM, we can schedule custom reports to fire on certain days. So a Save-A-Deal goes out to all the managers every morning.
Jeff Collins
Bill when is Part 2 going to be published?

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