How to Get the Most Out of Your CRM Investment

One of the most underutilized software applications within a dealership is its CRM software. This application has also been the source of much disappointment in regards to its ability to show a quantifiable return on investment. The reason that this is the case is that in most instances it is improperly sold and implemented as an application only and not as a process. The second reason that CRM gets a bad rap is that the users of the application are usually trained from the perspective of the software developer meaning this is how you do this and this is how you do that, and not from the perspective of a proactive business developer in the dealership selling environment. However, by far the greatest culprit contributing to the ineffectiveness of the CRM application within dealerships is the current ambiguous job description of the automotive selling professional…more on this later.

True selling professionals are always looking for ways to sell more; that’s all that they think about. They are profit motivated, purpose driven and most importantly, ambitiously lazy, so they look at the CRM software as an extension of themselves just like gladiators would use their shields and swords. A gladiator would never think about going into combat without first learning how to correctly use their tools because their very lives depend on it. Likewise a true selling professional knows that their most valuable asset is their book of business, and they also know that the CRM tool is the carrier of that book of business and is worthy of in-depth study and mastery.

Most managers in our industry will acknowledge the importance of the CRM software from the perspective that it beats using the paper logs, and if it is integrated to some form of desking tool to monitor salespeople, all the better. But they miss the mark when it comes to leveraging this powerful application’s ability to take their business to a whole new level. CRM the software and CRM the process sit quietly at the heart of every business development strategy. Its ability to identify, track and measure selling and marketing opportunities as well as personnel performance often goes unnoticed or overlooked by its users. The reason that this usually happens is that most of its users fail to see the connection between the software, the sales activities and the human interaction experience so as a result, mapping out the processes that connects all three is foreign to them. Making this distinction is the essence of CRM and the reason that many businesses are having a difficult time maximizing their ROI of the CRM investment.

To some of you this may sound like gibberish, but please hang in there with me a little while longer as it is all about to make sense. By redefining the job functions of a salesperson to include outlining the expectations of everyone who will be affected and then matching up these job functions with what today’s dealers are going to need to succeed, then you will see that there are gaps in what they know and what they need to know that are preventing them from meeting the performance expectations. Here is the big deal, by breaking down Business Development, the Road to the Sale and Customer Relationship Management into activities and then mapping out these activities into processes to be associated with the appropriate marketing sequences, triggers and branding pieces etc., will reveal the necessary ingredients to redefine the job description that will not only make the salesperson better, but also make CRM as software begin to pay a tremendous ROI.