Having traveled all over the country working with dealers on implementing CRM software I keep seeing the same mistakes over and over again. In a nut shell the failure of CRM at the dealership level boils down to three recurring themes.
Sales people do not use the software and sales management does not enforce the proper use of it. This usually boils down to fear more than anything else. Sales management does not like the oversight that CRM gives executive management. They are scared of the accountability. The other main reason is the resistance of using technology. Many people worry that the technology will somehow replace them and completely automate the process of selling a car.
The process is place for things to happen 1-2-3 but that strips out the human element completely. People follow the concrete plan to a tee to make sure they are meeting accountability issues (see above) then they become Belligerent Users. "I did my part based on what the tool said to do and I am not selling any more cars it does not work."
The user knows the customer is going on a two week cruise and does not stop the follow up process None of those cop outs work but they happen because the human element is completely removed to strictly follow the "program" in place.
"I don't type fast enough to fill in the blanks when I am on the phone with a customer!"
"I put everything in and it did not save."
"This is a waste of time all it does is let them spy on us."
"I hate this software I keep forgetting my password."
Ad nauseam.... The truth is if you can't type fast enough go old school and write it down then enter it in the software, hit the big ass save button really hard if you really entered the information and if you create the password and forget it how is that really the software's fault?
As a CRM software vendor we try to get buy in from the top down to have successful CRM deployment. We use the following techniques to make it easier for the users and to keep people engaged on the process.
1. Illustrate how easy it is to use the software. This is easy to do if you do not have a clunky interface and train the end users.
2. Show how the proper use will allow the users to sell more cars. Deals wont fall through the cracks and the automated processes do work if the users give the proper input, but the system cant think for the users. The software is only as good as the end user. It takes people. Most errors are between the chair and the keyboard!!
3. Treat it like a personal assistant. CRM software is an Interactive Personal Calendar. It reminds you of what you are supposed to be doing and when to do it. You should have processes set up for walk ins, phone ups, Internet customers, lead providers, classified sites and manufacturer leads. Launching CRM initiatives with those that have never used it reminds me of the days when navigation was first being put in cars and users said it was to complicated and rather use a map to find places they have never been. Using a map was dangerous and took longer than punching in an address but people still resisted.
Please share with us your tips on making better use of your CRM software and tips on improving performance.
Chris Vitale is Vice President of Sales at iMagicLab. He has over 15 years of in dealership experience and is quick to call it like he sees it. If you want a no holds barred look into effective CRM deployment and use subscribe to our blog here at DrivingSales and follow Chris @thecrmgod on Twitter.