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Mark Begley

Mark Begley National Director of Sales

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Don’t forget the (R)elationship in CRM

It’s amazing how many times I hear “We tried ABC’s CRM solution. It was worthless.” Every dealership expects the new CRM software to bail them out of all the bad habits they have had for years. According to CRMSearch.com*, there are three main reasons CRM projects fail up to 66% of the time.

1. Lack of Focus – A dealership needs to define what it is looking for from its CRM initiative. Once those goals are clearly defined in measurable metrics, only then can a CRM tool be applied to help manage the process. As stated by CRMSearch.com, “If you’re not sure what you’re trying to accomplish, don’t be surprised if you don’t accomplish it. “ When users and managers stray from the defined goals, the effectiveness of the process is greatly diminished.

2. Lack of Commitment – It is critical to the success of a CRM initiative that everyone from top management to front-line users is completely bought into the process. Not only do they need to be bought in, they need to be passionate about it. If there is one gap along the way, the project is destined for doom. A salesperson who thinks the sales force automation (SFA) was forced upon them, a sales manager who refuses to manage each step or a dealer who doesn’t hold his entire team accountable for making sure everyone is playing their part will be the downfall of the entire process. The software will get blamed, but make no bones about it, the people killed it.

3. Thinking Technology is the Solution – This one gets to me more than any other. For some reason businesses think a technological piece of hardware or software is a good substitute for human relationships. The digital solutions are great for keeping the process on track and reminding us when it’s time to do something but the machines are not meant to replace us. The research shows us that CRM must be a company wide effort that starts with customer strategies which are then automated with application software. You can't just concentrate on the software and ignore the rest. The software is an enabler, not the be-all or end-all.

As you evaluate your current CRM process or look to add a CRM tool to your business, look at your customer processes first. If necessary, change them, tweak them, re-engineer them or do whatever you want to with them to ensure your customers will be receiving the best of your entire dealership at all times. Once you have your customer management strategies clearly defined, choose a great CRM tool to integrate those processes into for ease of execution. Be sure your entire staff is fully engaged with the business decision and then hold everyone accountable for the results.

Now you have the best chance to be on your way to a very successful CRM implementation.

 

Mark Dubis
Any dealer owner or manager that has kept up with the times knows the importance of tracking the activity of their sales people and keeping up a process that makes sure each prospect and customer is contacted, followed up with, and gets the right communications at the right time. You cannot do all this without a CRM software program that is user friendly and supported by the entire management team. And yes, technology is NOT a replacement for building individual relationships, but when done right insures those relationships grow and flourish. A dealership without a good CRM solution is like a carpenter without a hammer. The job can eventually get done but don't expect the best result.
Mark Begley
Great insight Mark. So why do you think so many dealerships are still allowing mismanagement to destroy their CRM efforts?
Grant Gooley
@Mark B, I've been trying to answer that question myself. In conclusion I have found that GM's and Dealers implement a CRM tool with great hope that the team will jump on board. However, in return they get kick back from the sales team. You see, when a 20 year vet, Sales Advisor has his/her "sales process" interrupted by a new system it creates commotion. By that I mean, the vet doesn't use it, so why should the new guy? Management sits back and has a hard time telling the vet what to do. We all know that in many of these cases the vet runs the sales floor more than the manager... Just something I have noticed. It's not an easy battle! I will say, the top dealers use CRM and figure out how to win that battle!
Mark Begley
Grant, you are so right. Too many managers fail to realize their job is to enforce the processes of the dealership, not the processes of the individuals who think they know best. The best managers learn this and then lead their staff to follow. Once everyone is in alignment the process flourishes and the dealership's CRM begins to produce as it should. I hope everyone reads your comment and has an epiphany about how to make CRM work best.
Mark Dubis
Mark, the issue of mismanagement is a bigger topic than this blog post and comments, so I will keep my remarks focused on the CRM solution. A successful salesperson may be an old school type who is not comfortable with technology, and if they have a book of business and sell a ton of units, then its up to the management to get that person assistance in navigating the CRM program. Depending on the revenue they bring in, it might mean hiring a part time assistant, grabbing someone from the BDC for a few hours here and there, or just providing some private tutorial time to get that person comfortable with the new process. If something is working well (a good productive sales person), you don't rock the boat, you find a way to smooth out the waves to allow that person to do what they do best. . . sell.

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