• Stop being a LURKER - join our dealer community and get involved. Sign up and start a conversation.
Visit Generations Digital

Tips from improving CRM usage

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,923
1,587
First Name
Alex
The question is why hasn't auto caught up to the rest of the Corporate world. Money can't be the only thing holding auto CRM back (or can it).
I don't think the non-automotive retail CRMs are that much better. They're more integrated with other things, so you can customize them far more. If you aren't doing some crazy SalesForce CRM customization many of the non-auto CRMs are less expensive than your typical $1,500+ per month automotive CRM.

Money ain't the problem. The problem hits a lot of different areas and I'll touch on what I think are the biggies:

  1. acquisitions continue to reset the clock on innovations
  2. a good operational tool requires a STRONG understanding of the operations you're building it for - this is the biggest weakness in my opinion
  3. dealers don't flip CRMs as quickly as other technologies, so smaller companies have a HUGE barrier of entry

Substitute CRM with "DMS" and this reasoning gets even more pronounced.

The newest, of the larger CRMs, came to market in 2003. When did Arkona launch... to prove my point on DMS.
 
Get Podium

Tallcool1

Boss
Mar 17, 2014
344
205
First Name
Clint
CRM is the definition of insanity. Nearly 9 years later and thousands of CRM complaints and yet they all still work exactly the same.....The question is why hasn't auto caught up to the rest of the Corporate world. Money can't be the only thing holding auto CRM back (or can it).
@GrantG , I am not a CRM expert by any means, and have become very frustrated with the high price of a CRM that has even a decent amount of functionality.

When you referenced auto CRM being behind the rest of the Corporate world, what specific features and functionality do you feel is missing?

To me, this is really a complex piece of software. Different people want different things. Top that off with the fact that most people can't really tell you exactly what they want. They can tell you what they DON'T like, and the frustrations with their current or past providers. But given a blank canvas to design and build the perfect solution......they can't.

I am curious what changes you would like to see. This is not a rebuttal or challenge to your previous comment. This is hopefully an opportunity for me to learn something.

Thanks
 

joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
4,012
1,537
First Name
Joe
and... to put a critical eye on CRM, surely CRM sells more cars, but what is the lift? On email leads, with a pathetic 5-6% email closing ratio, does the $1,500-$2,500 p/mo really sell MORE cars? What of phone leads? The CRM phone call yield requires a well trained sales force to create the record. Compare incoming call volume vs CRM phone call counts.

CRM vs No CRM, asked another way, if NADA net profit per used vehicle retailed is ~$100 and a CRM cost of $1500 per month, does CRM pay for itself with 15 MORE sales per month?


Startups aimed at this:
@Alex Snyder <--- better emails = higher closing rates
@Todd smith <---- better CRM is cheaper, simpler, smarter.
 
  • 1
Reactions: Jim K

john.quinn

Boss
Dec 2, 2009
1,004
638
First Name
John
CRM is the definition of insanity. Nearly 9 years later and thousands of CRM complaints and yet they all still work exactly the same.....The question is why hasn't auto caught up to the rest of the Corporate world. Money can't be the only thing holding auto CRM back (or can it).
Very simple answer. The "cool" stuff got gobbled-up by the Megasaurs, who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Re-tooling/innovation costs a LOT of moolah. Why do it when the checks are rolling-in? And the checks will keep rolling-in if you buy the companies that are getting checks :)

The dirtiest words/phrase in the automotive vendor space?? "Quick wins." Heard it 500 times... we need some "quick wins."

Innovation in the age of the Megasaurs = upload_2019-10-20_11-9-58.png
 
  • 1
Reactions: GrantG

john.quinn

Boss
Dec 2, 2009
1,004
638
First Name
John
CRM vs No CRM, asked another way, if NADA net profit per used vehicle retailed is ~$100 and a CRM cost of $1500 per month, does CRM pay for itself with 15 MORE sales per month?
No... and yes. But -- and here's the overall failure of the original promise: you can't justify NOT having a CRM as CRM is a needed communication piece.

At some point in the past... a dealer had to wrestle with the question: do I REALLY need to put a telephone in my shop? I mean.... who would call when they could drop-by, grab a coke for a nickel and have a nice chat??

Sooo... did the phone sell 15 more cars per month? Maybe for the 1st few early adopters. But does it sell cars today? Would you take the phone out of your showroom today? CRM is the same today. You HAVE to keep track of all the digital communication somehow; you need some bucket for all this crap...

The failure was in the silly attempt to automate "process" while providing key insights... CRM's were going to reduce the need to advertise, make-up for poor management training practices, pinpoint wasted time & money, etc.

GONG!

On the flip side, every tool does something well, and usually you can get out of a tool what you put into it. You just need to be prepared to put a whooooole lot into it to get something out of it. And that's why users suck too, LOL, hahahahaha ;)

Moral of the story: there's no magic pill on either side of the fence...
 
  • 1
Reactions: Jim K

Rick Buffkin

Sausage King of Chicago
Oct 29, 2009
637
650
First Name
Rick
Simple! Get managers to use the damn tool and the rest of the staff will follow! We can talk about how old the tools are and how bad they suck and this and that. Why do we expect a sales rep to actually care about the data they put in the tool and to use the tool correctly if their direct manager doesn't care? From what I can tell, thats the core item that hasn't changed over the past nine years. If management doesn't put an emphasis on it, the reps damn sure won't.
 
  • 2
Reactions: joe.pistell and Jim K

Steve Roessler

Rust & Dust
Feb 15, 2016
28
13
First Name
Steve
@Rick Buffkin Yes, Yes, and Yes!! For everyone here, there is new technology in this space that is new and improved. But it doesn't matter if the leadership is not bought in. The fact is, many dealers are afraid to switch CRM with the "Head Trash" that CRM is CRM and since managers may not enforce the right activity in their current CRM, why consider switching even if there is something better.

I have been in 2 industries and this is my 3rd start up in 15 years. I am a CRM advocate and have grown every start up in using CRM. It's been my heart in business. Communication has changed and while everyone is stresses phone calls and emails, customers are less likely to communicate that way today. That is doing the task to do the task vs doing the task to get engagement. When or if anyone switches a CRM, it is the opportunity to change the culture of the store. Any CRM can handle phone calls and emails, but today you need to think about Texting, Personalized Video and Artificial Intelligence. These are Engagement tools everyone needs to use in 2020 to get 70% engagement rates. That's the opportunity to change culture and create Buy In.

CRM is NOT CRM today. It's like saying a phone is a phone. Well, you can't compare a flip phone(old CRM built 15 years ago) to a IPhoneX. Technology has evolved in this space.
 
  • 1
Reactions: Jeff Kershner

Macaha24

Tie Cut
May 4, 2020
12
6
First Name
Matt
I have a similar question. How can we maximize service revenue through CRM? Any best practices you can point me to?