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Does CRM sell cars?

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
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:unclejoe: Joe Pistell and I were just talking about some data @jon.berna has and it led us down a path of whether a lift in sales can be tracked when the same dealer switches from one CRM to another CRM. I think that answer can be found in time using Jon's software, but it might take months to years to have the right circumstances, and enough of them, to conclude a valid point.

In the meantime we are left with opinions.

I have personally seen sales lifts during my days at Checkered Flag, and again, when we were selling CRM at Dealer.com and Dealertrack. When dealers switched from difficult CRMs like AutoBase, Highergear, CDK, Reynolds, etc. to more modern ones things improved.

I am under the belief that the CRMs that require lots of clicks to perform a task, or ones that do not have good pencil tools, or ones that do not provide the GM decent reporting, or are more utilized as a salesperson babysitting device are hindering a dealership. And lucky for those CRM sales teams that their clients typically are not educated enough, on CRMs, to appreciate just how handcuffed they are.

When these stores do switch to something with a better user experience, buy-in increases and utilization climbs. Buy-in and utilization lead to more follow-up, better negotiations, and smarter marketing. All of those things lead to more sales. Of course, that is just my opinion and I haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking about CRMs ;) ;)
 

john.quinn

Sr. Refresher
Dec 2, 2009
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Buy-in and utilization lead to more ...
Well that's the ticket there.

Tools help get stuff done. There's not a tool on the market that doesn't do something well. And yes, some tools are easier to figure out than others.

Take your time, figure out what the tool does well, and when applicable, be flexible enough to incorporate what the tool does well into your process.

The proceeding sentence is my definition of "buy-in and utilization." Sounds simple, no? A no brainer!

I estimate less than 10% of dealership -- ummm.... call it "culture" maybe?? -- allows for that simple definition.

We live in the Speak in the Clown's Face culture: Give it to me MY way, in under 5 minutes, or I'm simply driving to the next's clown's face to order my burger and fries.

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craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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There's no way you can find a definitive answer to this question.

For example, DealerSocket has Revenue Radar (which I've heard very mixed reactions to) so it's hard to compare sales numbers against ReyRey CM that doesn't have equity mining (at least not when I used it). I worked closely with a group that switched from CM to DS and it was a disaster, absolutely caused issues for every department including sales. It's possible that it may increase sales over time, but everything is related to process, not product.

CM is an old, antiquated CRM that had plenty of issues, but we had a process nailed down so tight that every follow-up, report, customer export was exactly what we needed. The dealers shaped their sales process around the CRM entirely, so it was a huge mess when they moved to DS and the new process wasn't in place to execute the same way. Again, not a product fault but a process fault.

You can take any CRM and be successful or unsuccessful with it - I don't think the product itself can increase sales without add-ons like equity mining, personalized email functionality, etc.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
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You can take any CRM and be successful or unsuccessful with it - I don't think the product itself can increase sales without add-ons like equity mining, personalized email functionality, etc.
Any good leader will make any tool work. However, I've seen what a CRM that exposes and enlightens can do to a store's culture. It is powerful! There aren't any CRMs currently in the market that do that.
 

Chris Vitale

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Jul 7, 2016
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I concur, CRM doesn't sell cars. CRM in and of itself is merely a process safety net whereby the process which does sell cars is monitored and hopefully adhered to. CRM helps with this adherence. CRM may deploy technology to assist in selling cars, i.e. texting, video emails, daily reminders of important tasks, etc. but that's it.

When CRM is used well, it can fail and when CRM is used poorly, it can work. It's all about 2 things, 1. the ever important workflow, the action plan or the DNA of the system itself (each calls it something different) and 2. management deployment and systematic acceptance of said system.
 
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craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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Any good leader will make any tool work. However, I've seen what a CRM that exposes and enlightens can do to a store's culture. It is powerful! There aren't any CRMs currently in the market that do that.
I don't disagree with that at all.
I just don't think we can say unequivocally that a CRM increases sales, because a good leader can use an Excel spreadsheet as a CRM and still increase sales.

With that said, if all other things are equal and process is always perfect, a CRM can definitely help sell more cars.
 
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Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
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Alex
I concur, CRM doesn't sell cars. CRM in and of itself is merely a process safety net whereby the process which does sell cars is monitored and hopefully adhered to. CRM helps with this adherence. CRM may deploy technology to assist in selling cars, i.e. texting, video emails, daily reminders of important tasks, etc. but that's it.

When CRM is used well, it can fail and when CRM is used poorly, it can work. It's all about 2 things, 1. the ever important workflow, the action plan or the DNA of the system itself (each calls it something different) and 2. management deployment and systematic acceptance of said system.
So, as a former CRM sales person, you would advocate that CRMs provide no value?
 

jon.berna

D.R. Truth
Nov 14, 2011
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CRMs were never built to be connected to marketing and create customer experiences. They were built to establish a consistent communication process and workflow. For this they are each doing their job. The issue is that today creating experiences requires that our tools communicate automatically before during and after the sale regardless of which human is assigned to that consumer in every available medium.

So does CRM sell cars? Yes, just less as a percentage than they used to. Today we need tools that leverage the data and give people a friction-less path to your dealership.

Do certain CRM outperform others? Yes, we have seen this as we have the data before and after a transition. I would place most of that gain on effective implementations. CRM companies are much better as a whole today than 8 years ago in doing an on-boarding.
 
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