How to Unlock and Unleash the Hidden Potential of Your CRM Tool

It’s November and the weather is changing, so it’s time to get ready for our slow season. This is the time of year that many of us in the car business often dread because the days are long, quite boring and in the windy city where I live, you can actually feel your brain shrinking after one too many days of snow. However, this is the perfect time of year to do some housekeeping in preparation for spring, your true selling season. This is the perfect time to generate some momentum by taking your CRM software and tuning it up so that the work you do this winter can pay dividends all year long beginning next spring. The facts are that 8 out of 10 CRM software databases located in dealerships are so corrupted that they are not useable from a marketing perspective. Even worse those companies that do not use a Customer Relationship Management System fail to realize the benefit from the compounding effect generated from a properly configured CRM software or process because the focus is on the new, and not on the recurring revenue from repeat and referral sales.

The unfortunate reality is that the majority of Relationship Management system users are unaware of how to correctly use or maintain the application, much less engage in right Customer Relationship Management Processes. They fail to see the connection between the measurable activity they engage in, the resources that they spend and the ultimate goal which is customer acquisition. Consequently, they may never have associated or measured new vs. returning clients with the various campaigns that they run so as to determine its effectiveness because, in truth, they probably have never looked at it that way before. The fact is that CRM is the foundation on which all campaigns are built and its proper maintenance and usage is the key to funneling hard dollars to your bottom line. With that being said, I am going to give you a few exercises from my Effective CRM Course from the PSSE training program that will give you an action plan to get your business ready for spring.

  1. All data is not good data. The key here is to wrap your head around the fact that when a database is not maintained, all you have is data and most of it become unusable.
  2. Scrutinize the data and be ruthless. Your first task will be to begin cleaning up the database, this cannot be done by a third party; it needs to be done in house. Get rid of everything that you cannot use, be ruthless about getting rid of bad data because what’s left when you are done is pure gold.
  3. Segment the database; Now that you have completed the first two steps, it’s now time to segment the database into usable buckets of customers such as Lease, Finance, Cash, Service, Orphans, etc.
  4. Make the initial contact. Once you have done step 1 – 3, it’s time to take your next step which is to make initial contact. The types of questions that need to be asked here will be critical in determining what your next step will be when assigning the appropriate marketing sequence.
  5. Assign the appropriate Marketing Sequences & Triggers. The key to success in this section will be in determining the appropriate itch cycle based on product and demographic type, but at a bare minimum, the national figures can be used to define estimates for you.
  6. Maintain database on a monthly basis. Last but not least, once the database is complete, monthly maintenance will be necessary to keep it productive. Countless deals are lost and overlooked monthly because clients that you own free and clear are overlooked while you are off looking for new prospects. But, with a little effort, many businesses could easily see sales increases in the double digits from their own client bases. The truth is that this activity only has to be done once, but once it has been completed, all of your marketing efforts can actually have a fighting chance.

The key here is sustainability. Regardless of where you spend your marketing or advertising dollars, your success in either area is directly connected to the viability and functionality of your CRM software. The truth is that the brand of the application is not that important or should I say not as important as the configuration of the application and how its marketing sequences and triggers are designed to function based on how you sell.