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From: Jared Hamilton
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We're captivated by cool, new technology. We're users of technology on a daily basis, and we're constantly being introduced to the latest products, processes and enhancements. How much of the value do we really use? How can you be sure you gain the most value from the technology choices you make?

Every decision made within your organization, whether it's a change in process or the addition of new technology, is directly related to value. If you use technology that provides little or no value, it actually has a negative effect on your organization. Your people will become desensitized to leadership initiatives. They will discount and fight against any new process or technology before giving it a shot. We should routinely ask ourselves if our choices are providing value, and if the answer is "no," then changes need to be made.

Most likely, you'll agree that technology improves the efficiency and effectiveness of your dealership. It allows the organization to operate at a high level and remain competitive. Technology is clearly a valuable tool, one you rely on for your day-to-day business functions. How do you measure its value? How do you know when the processes you have in place are producing optimum results, or whether they need to be reconsidered?

The word value can be defined in countless ways. Value can be measured by response time, profit, customer satisfaction, return on investment, or by answering questions such as: Has efficiency and productivity improved? Have there been improved communications and information? Most importantly, are you reaching your short term and long term goals with your current system?

For Ray Riley, the general manager of Liberty Toyota in Colorado, the value of using the technology he's chosen for his dealership are crystal clear. He's able to see the value gained through use of his CRM as it directly increases his profit, creates happier customers and leads to less turnover in his sales staff.

"My CRM technology brings a whole new element into the sales process," says Riley. "It enables us to show customers a variety of customized workups. Then it generates a presentation showing customers multiple options with precisely what they'll pay each month, depending on variables such as credit score, down payment, rate and number of payments."

Ten months into the year, sales at Liberty Toyota are up 356 cars. They are selling an additional 40 cars per month, which is a 16 percent increase in sales. The value of his choices is evident in the response from customers and the increase in sales.

Value is realizing direct and measurable results. If you're seeing results such as increased profit and customer satisfaction that can be attributed to the choices you make for your dealership, then you're creating value. If however, your dealership isn't reaping the benefits, it's time to take action and make some changes.

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