The future of CRM is about adaptability
Ten years ago approximately 20% of dealers had an automated CRM system. Today this is so mainstream that it is pushing CRM providers to offer more features and solutions that better fit the dealerships’ needs.
As an example, it is only a matter of time before we see more mobile functionality within CRM systems incorporating apps with smartphones and tablets. These mobile functions will be tightly woven into a social play, including video and check-in features.
That being said, CRM providers will want to think differently from how they have in the past. These companies can't be the best at everything so they will need to start allowing niche companies to “bolt on” their specialty products to enhance the dealer’s experience.
For instance Salesforce.com, arguably the world’s largest CRM company used in many industries, has an API that allows more specialized companies to offer Salesforce users more and better capabilities such as enhanced reporting, mobile functionality, and other capabilities to their users.
Within the auto industry this doesn't happen but if you look at the website space, companies like PureCars, UnityWorks, and ActivEngage are “bolting on” to dealership websites to enhance conversion and the customer experience.
Auto dealers should expect the same flexibility with their CRM providers.
Maximize the potential of your CRM
Most dealers don't take advantage of their sold customer data for remarketing purposes, especially around their service departments. I am not talking about the set-it-and-forget-it automated birthday, anniversary, service reminder emails and postcards. I am talking about the polling of customer data for highly targeted campaigns.
A CRM should be used in a holistic endless manner throughout the customer life cycle to send highly targeted messages of all kinds to customers of all types.
Differentiate your dealership from your competition
To help differentiate your dealership, avoid using the default letters and email response templates that come with your CRM. Odds are the dealership down the street has the same one going out. Be different and make your own.
In my career I didn’t care if my competition knew what tools I used at my dealership because I knew we would use them more effectively.
Don’t fall for the boilerplate CRM presentation
When you are considering a CRM solution, take your time to figure out your major and minor pain points that you and your sales staff have, document them, and then schedule a meeting to discuss these issues. Let the CRM provider think about these issues for several days before you have a presentation of their solution. If they follow your lead, you will get a presentation that will fit your needs and you will have an easier time making a decision that is right for you.
You have the power
Don’t roll over. If you have a plan, stick to it. If you picked the right CRM provider, they will be your partner and help you execute on your plan. Remember, you are the customer.
Come up with a plan. Use your data to your advantage. And execute well. If you do this, your CRM tool will help you build a profitable dealership that will give you an incredible ROI.