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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development Manager

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Top Things to Consider When Implementing A New CRM

The idea of implementing a new CRM on the dealer level can seem intimidating, and rightfully so! There is an incredible amount of work involved when implementing a CRM everything from user experience to whether or not your DMS works with the CRM. Not to mention, there are endless other tasks to consider; workflows, marketing, employee profiles, DMS connection, lead integrations, and lastly vendor integrations. The list goes on, which means it can make one's head spin. To avoid confusion, chaos, and disappointment, there are a few key guidelines to consider when making a CRM switch!

Why are you wanting to switch CRM’s? Not Making A Move Because it Seems to Complicated or There is too Much Involved is Not the Right Answer.

Knowing all of what is involved in switching CRM’s it is essential first to ask yourself “why am I switching CRM’s? Is it reporting, workflow management, campaigns, customizations, etc.? As you are asking yourself those questions, it is also important to review the current CRM with your account manager. It is no secret that the average dealer uses less than thirty percent of its CRM’s features. That said, before making a switch take the time to sit down with your current account manager and review your concerns or anything you would like to do within the CRM. In doing so, you could potentially still use the CRM versus spending thousands of dollars to switch CRM’s and take the risk that the new CRM might not be everything that you had hoped for when making a move!

Have a Project Manager! Avoid Having too Many People Managing the Project Which Can Lead to Confusion!

While it might sound like a great idea to have everyone involved in implementing the CRM, it might not be best. Having too many people managing the CRM implementation can easily cause confusion, which can lead to delays as there could be a breakdown in communication between the CRM and the dealership. To avoid this potential issue it is best to have a primary point of contact. The point of contact on the dealer level will be sure to update everyone as to the status of the CRM. As for ensuring everyone has a chance to share or discuss their ideas regarding the implementation, you can easily schedule weekly meetings to discuss updates, concerns or suggestions. In doing so, it helps to remove the chances of there being a breakdown in communication which can lead to unnecessary delays.

Vendor Integration. Check and Verify If Your Current Vendors Can Integrate With the CRM

Integrating vendors in the CRM is not an easy task; it can be easy to overlook one or two integrations such as third-party leads or the trade-in tool. Where in many cases, the vendor's tools might not always work 100% with the new CRM. Making it that much harder to manage the data with each tool as it is housed with each vendor individually. That said, before deciding to switch CRM's take the time to make sure that all of your vendors will work with the new CRM. It is also important to list out each one of the vendors you use, and what the current status is of its integration. This way you can keep track of the vendor making sure that nothing is overlooked. The other thing you ought to consider when reviewing the vendor integration is whether or not you need all of the vendors. If you have one or more services that have the same core functions you might not need all of the services. In reviewing the vendors, you can easily save hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month!

End Goal. Have a Clear Vision with Realistic Expectations. Launching the CRM at the Time of Their Visit Does Not Always Work. Have A Soft Launch Ahead of Time!

In a perfect world, we would have launched the CRM yesterday. But the truth is there is a lot involved when it comes to implementing a new CRM. So before you implement a new CRM take the time to set a realistic timeline. That is reviewing the time it will take to implement the CRM, and how long it will take to ensure that all of the vendors are integrated correctly. As there is nothing worse than using a CRM that does not work the way it was intended. Not to mention, if the CRM is not set up correctly then it can take that much more work to ensure that all of the users use the CRM.

One of the best ways to avoid this issue is by working with the CRM company to soft launch the CRM with specific people. In doing so, your BDC Manager and Sales Managers can take the time to review the CRM that is everything from how to add customers, customer profiles, workflows, templates, marketing, click to call (for those with that feature), quoting, etc. If your BDC Manager and Sales Manager are learning the CRM at the same time as your sales consultants, it can create a lot of frustration and confusion as the sales consultants will be looking to them for assistance when using the CRM.

Bottom Line: a CRM is as only good as the data entered into it! However, for those that do have good data in the CRM, it can be incredibly useful. That is organizing the data in a way that translates and makes sense for the end user. Not to mention, there are CRM’s on today's market that have multiple tools built into their platform whether that is chat, phone call tracking, etc. Having all of the features under one rooftop can not only save money, but make the data more useful knowing that when your managers have to use multiple platforms to review and analyze data the less likely they are going to use the tool. Lastly, before making a switch in CRM’s take the time to review your current platform. Ask yourself the tough questions: does the CRM have the reporting, vendor integration, and technology needed to sell more cars? If you do have these questions for your current CRM take the time to speak with your account manager; most dealers do not use more than 30% of their CRM’s features! By taking the time to review your current CRM’s features it can save you thousands of dollars and the headache of switching CRM’s however if your CRM is not able to do the things you need then do not wait. Make the move as a new more powerful CRM can and will make a big difference!

How often do you have the CRM conversation? Have you taken the time to speak and work with your CRM account manager?


Derrick Woolfson

@R.J. - Thank you! 

Jason Walling

So you've decided to make the leap and switch to a new CRM, good job, but please, please, don't forget to get your old data/reporting from the previous CRM. Having the reference data available to review year over year results will help you prove that your decision to move was a sound one...provided you sell more vehicles.

Bart Wilson

Good point.  I haven't had that issues with CRM migration specifically, but we've migrated other tools without exporting all of the data and it came back to bite us.  

Derrick Woolfson

@Jason, of course - we actually switched CRM's months ago - and I 100% agree! :) -  we would actually export *all* CRM data once monthly. As for reporting, we had subscriptions sent via email so we kept an active log. The new CRM is a game changer, it is the first customizable CRM. I have never been able to update/customize the quote on the fly with custom fields, or create meaningful reporting choosing which data you want vs. the typical reports :) 

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