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CRM. More bad than good?

Discussion in 'CRM, ILM, Chat, Desking, Emails, Phone, SMS' started by Alex Snyder, Oct 2, 2018.

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  1. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder
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    I have spent the last 15 years of my career either running or building CRM systems. I have written numerous articles on DealerRefresh in support of them and even how to buy them. To say I have been a CRM advocate is an understatement.

    Yesterday, @Jeff Kershner@Jeff Kershner and I were talking to Jasen Rice about this coming Friday's RefreshFriday and my tune on CRM is now fluctuating. Jasen made some strong points that I've always known, but never explored to the depths he has. This is going to be an interesting RefreshFriday for sure!

    Outside of what we will be discussing, I'm starting to wonder if CRM systems have caused more harm than good. Is the flat process nature mixed with an inability to properly attribute anything pushing dealers to make bad decisions?

    Bad decisions include:
    • Cancelling advertising that is part of the attribution, but not the last touch
    • Enforcing a Nazi approach to customer follow-up sales people and customers hate
    • Not buying solutions that do help sell cars because it doesn't integrate with the CRM

    What are some other bad decisions CRMs help dealers make? What are some good ones?
     
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  3. Jason

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    Bad Decision: The ability to use Comic Sans in CRM email templates? ;)

    All joking aside though, the idea that CRMs in general are "good enough" for email marketing so dealers don't need to invest in a dedicated platform to create, segment, distribute and analyze the effectiveness of their email campaigns.

    Also, CRMs make "blasting" the entire database so darn easy, it often times leads to dealers making poor decisions on who and how often they fire off an mass email to.
     
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  4. JeremyTheCarMan

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    In my short sales experience, the biggest issue is that the CRM gives "those not as informed" is the feel that it is more automated than it really is. Mainly - the input of information is not going to be automated. It will never work correctly if it's never used correctly; and I honestly don't think it will ever be used correctly until it's all automated (forced info input which would take some major communication between programs, and would still need to be input correctly in the beginning).

    On a good note: As a manager, they could micro-manage if they'd like through the use of this system and holding sales people accountable for what's been put into the system; instead of what's talked about casually as we sit around the desk.
     
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  5. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder
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    All good points fellas :thumbup:

    During the last RefreshFriday Jasen Rice pointed out how sales agents get lost in follow up load due to a linear process with little flexibility. Because follow up is a balancing act against actually selling cars a sales agent can easily miss a day or two of following up in a week. If a car is being sold that sales agent is not doing his follow up tasks in the CRM. Selling a car can be a whole day affair. Sell two cars in a week and now you are two days behind on the task list. If you've worked at that dealership for a while the task list could be huge.

    And if you don't get your tasks done the system makes you out to look like a slacker. Managers sometimes lose sight of the fact that you sold a bunch of cars this month when they see you have 63 outstanding tasks. And then you had assholes like me, from the corporate office, making reports showing who the worst offenders were in the dealer group.

    The moral of the story is that if you are good at selling cars you are not good at CRM. No wonder sales people hate CRM. CRM punishes the talented sales people.

    I'm making a generalization, but I challenge you to show me enough exceptions that would even come close to being 1% of the dealer population.

    Human psychology is a powerful thing that creates revolutions, wins elections, sends countries to war, and is usually not considered by technology. It is because few CRMs bake their cores with psychology in mind that CRMs, as we know them today, are destined to fail.
     
  6. john.quinn

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    In my very low and humble opinion...

    CRM's built for and championed by the Internet Department fail. If all you want is lead management, then save the dough and you can probably find a free lead manager. Managers that see CRM's as a replacement for actually managing fail.

    CRM is just a tool -- if you try to turn screws with a hammer you're not going to be too successful.

    The Desk is where it's at in the Dealership... become a useful tool at the Desk... make life easier/more efficient/more organized for the peeps running the showroom, and you have something. Call it CRM. Call it Desking. Call it a Flux Capacitor... doesn't matter.

    It's not rocket science... just KISS.
     
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  7. C Dorman

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    The biggest problem with CRM systems and automotive is that owners and managers don't know how to use them. And the reason they don't know how to use them is because they are never properly trained to use them. They never go offsite for three days, put the cell phones away, and really learn how to use them. Instead, they fly by the seat of their pants. Or go with their gut. Or have some kid that knows how to use a computer a little better than they do set up the system. Or even worse, hire an "Expert" that was recommended by another dealer that doesn't know what they're talking about because they were never trained properly.

    Processes need to be simple and flexible enough to accommodate the realities of sales. But the biggest obstacle to doing that are managers that insist on inefficient Nazi processes.

    Reporting is another huge issue. Since owners and managers don't know how to really use their CRM system, they sure as hell don't know how to use it's reporting. They don't know how the reports are created, if they're accurate, or how to properly interpret them. And since one size does not fit all, the chance of anybody at a dealership actually being able to create a custom report that means anything is zero.

    In all my time in automotive, I've only seen one dealership that actually knows there are unmatched sales in the CRM from their DMS that actually matches them. One. For most dealerships these unmatched sales account for somewhere between 25% to 50% of their sales. This means their reports of which lead sources are driving sales are way off. But, again, because owners and managers never learn how to use a CRM properly, they have no clue.

    And when we talk about CRM systems for "most dealers," let's face it, we're talking about the also rans.

    The big boys get it. The owners and managers still probably aren't CRM experts, but at least they have somebody in-house that is and/or they have an outside consultant that works with them and their in-house admin to keep things tight.

    This allows them to make more sales, and generate more higher quality leads that buy more often because they are spending their ad dollars in the right places. Get it right and you build a machine that snowballs. Get it wrong and you're an also ran.

    I used to laugh every time a manager who was having a slow day would come into my office in a panic demanding that I do something!

    I'd point them to their team's list of active leads with overdue tasks. Then I'd point them to their team's list of active leads with no scheduled future follow up. And then I'd suggest that instead of having half his team sitting out front smoking cigarettes with their thumbs up their butts waiting for the up bus while the other half was out getting Starbucks, Monsters and food maybe their time would be better spent actually working.

    Finally, I would add insult to injury by pulling the missed sales from our desking tool and suggest that maybe they could call all the customers that didn't buy because they tried to take their heads off when they were busy.

    Magic.
     
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  8. BillH

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    2 wrinkles.... the OEM wants a CRM so they can access data related to their leads that they sell to the dealers, and sadly, most CRMs are in place to make up for oversight and process. Even with a CRM, data doesn't get entered without a process to encourage sales to collect info. If the managers don't enforce a policy to compliance, it all goes out the window.
     
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  9. BillH

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    Love it...
     
  10. Karen Ann

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    I've never heard that OEM wants access to CRM data.
     
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  11. Jeff Kershner

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    Some of them have a backdoor entrance and you're not completely aware of it.
     
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