The automotive industry has changed drastically within the past 20 years. If you have been in the business for a while now or if you are just starting, you can’t help but notice how technology has changed the way we work. From the way we purchase vehicles from wholesale or retail dealers, to the way we obtain leads and contact our potential customers, to closing deals and financing cars.
Basically every department within the car dealership has seen a major improvement in speed, accuracy and functionality as a result of technology. So where is this all going? What is a CRM? What is the role of a CRM in the automobile industry? What are the benefits of having a CRM at my dealership? What features are included in a CRM? When should I invest in a CRM? These are all legitimate questions that any dealership will expect answers to before signing on for a new CRM. And by the end of this article you should have reasonable answers to help you make your decision regarding the future of your dealership.
The term CRM (Customer Relationship Management) includes the strategy and processes as well as the technology used to manage customer relationships.
A CRM system is a tool for recording and analyzing customer data from multiple sources and sorting that data into actionable items to help manage all departments within an organization.
What that means for you is that it is a place where you can see all the information regarding customer interactions within the different departments of your dealership and where you are able to transform that information into actionable items to generate sales, and maintain relationships with your customers.
There are many types of CRM from very basic models to incredibly sophisticated ones. Some are meant for general use while others are specifically designed to target a certain industry.
The car dealership business is especially unique when it comes to how we operate, from the way we handle leads and potential clients to managing a large inventory of vehicles in addition to all the accounting and financial work that needs to be done. There are many moving parts at any given time at a dealership, from customers calling to sales being closed, as well as the marketing and finance, and even the parts and service department!
Having a tool that is specifically designed to cater to dealerships is key to being able to manage your business efficiently. To do the job right we need the right tools. And as a dealership, an automotive CRM has become a necessity order to remain successful in this age of technological advancements.
A CRM will enable dealerships to uncover and track leads and provide a system for communication with potential clients. As dealerships have a huge amount of prospects at any given time, having easy access to this information will increase the efficiency of any business and make room for new opportunities. As studies have shown a direct relation between lead response time and closing a deal, means that every second that passes without responding to an inquiry increases the risk of potentially losing that client .
Managing your leads: Having a CRM will enable you to manage the large volume of leads coming in on a daily basis all in one spot whether they come from phone calls, emails, texts, or walk-ins. Being able to sync all contacts from multiple sources will ensure an accurate database that will lead to actionable items.
Lower response time: With a CRM software in place you can automate your response process to customer inquiries which will provide a personalized experience and guarantee that no one will be left unchecked as well as providing your team with data to enable them to act fast on leads and improve the way they respond to customers.
Managing your sales team: At the dealership you have lots of leads coming in and a large inventory of cars to sell. With the proper CRM in place you will be able to track your sales team's activities and assign tasks depending on business needs. It will also enable you to track your team's performance, manage your resources and alert you in case something is out of order. By having accurate data to work with you are able to hold your staff accountable by providing them with a clear set of actionable items and monitoring their progress along the way.
Provide better customer service: CRM software gives you the opportunity to find out where your leads are coming from, as well as track customers journeys throughout their lifecycle. It will offer your sales team better insight on customer behavior to leverage your communication and enable you to target specific client needs and increase customer retention.
Reduced costs and increased productivity: With the right CRM you will be able to more efficiently allocate your resources and teams and monitor the time it takes to complete a specific project. This will enable you to stay on top of tasks and ensure deadlines are met. Having a CRM will reduce the risk of human error and ensure compliance with best practices by ensuring that tasks are completed on time, with the highest level of accuracy.
Generate reports: One of the most desired features for the management team is being able to access their data easily from anywhere and generate informative reports that will keep managers informed of what is happening across their dealership as well as with their team members. The right CRM will also provide analytical insights on customer behavior that can be used to target specific client groups or to assign follow up tasks to your sales team.
Better ROI for your marketing campaigns: With information right at your fingertips you will be able to better customize your marketing campaigns and focus on targeting the group of potential clients that will bring in the highest value. With access to real time data you can review and analyze the success rates of your marketing campaign and make adjustments based on the outcome reports you can generate.
Ease of use and intuitive design: Training staff on new technology can be very time consuming. When choosing your CRM you must make sure that it not only serves your specific needs as a business but also that it is user friendly and easy to teach to your staff. Choose a CRM company that will provide you and your staff with training programs and resources as well as good customer support to make sure you have all aspects of your dealership in order.
Lead Tracking: Being able to track where your leads come from has major importance in the car industry. You will be able to focus your energy on those sources that generate the most valuable outcomes required by your business
Assigning tasks: Having a CRM that can automatically take your leads and assign them to your salespeople means less manual labor and paperwork to be done. With the option to manually assign tasks you can also customize your operation as you see necessary while being able to monitor your team's progress.
Documenting communications: Having all your sources of communication under one dashboard works miracles in regards to efficiency and timely response to your customers. Being able to tap into any of these recorded conversations whether they be by phone, email, text or in person will also let you see any areas of opportunity that your staff require development on. If you want the most out of your CRM, inquire if the software can track and record phone calls and other communications that come through all your platforms and is able to route incoming calls directly to the sales people responsible for that particular client.
Robust Reporting: Having the ability to generate reports and gain insights on all the departments within your dealership is key to managing your customers and staff and directing their future actions in a way that best suits the needs of the business. When looking for a CRM make sure that it will not only be able to gather data, but present it in a way that is easy to read and convey to your staff to take action.
Automation: With automated actions set in place you can more efficiently move your customers through the sales funnel by assigning your sales team to handle certain clients as well as assign them tasks that they have access to on their dashboard. In addition to automating tasks for your team you are also able to create template responses and have them sent in a timely manner to customers that make an inquiry. This will increase sales generated by leads as studies show the shorter the response time the higher the chances are to close the sale.
Mobile friendly: Most of the staff including management that work in a dealership understand that the nature of the job requires them to move around and are not seated at a desk all the time. You are either buying cars at an auction or wholesaler, training your staff, being on the floor to assist with customer sales. Having a cloud based CRM that is mobile friendly will give you access to all the data and reports you need to manage your business more efficiently while on the go.
With the right CRM in place for your business you will have a competitive advantage over others that don’t. It will save you huge amounts of time and money by gathering information, automating tasks, generating reports and providing you with real time data that you can use to run your business more efficiently. At DealersGear we are here to help you accomplish that next step. We have designed our cutting edge software from the ground up directly from the concerns of dealers such as yourself. Running a dealership is a major responsibility, and we are here to take a big chunk of that off your plate! Contact us and receive a free consultation! Automotive CRM