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Want to Improve CRM Utilization? Rethink Training.

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is the cornerstone that keeps dealerships successful, no matter the state of the industry (as this past year taught us). As CRM technology continues to evolve with growing customer expectations, two things are consistent. Dealers want great adoption, and they want a strong return on their investment – and they want it quickly. After all, we all know the best CRM system for your dealership is the one that is actually used.

Dealers expect their staff to be able to use the system after the initial training or onboarding process, but in reality, this is very unlikely to happen. Why? You ask. Was the training not effective? Or, did my employees not pay attention? The answer is often no.

It’s more critical than ever before to think long-term about how your CRM will scale and grow with your business. It usually takes more than just new, shiny features. Embracing shifts in culture and technology, optimizing processes and winning employee buy-in stack the odds in your favor.

In our latest Ebook, CRM Best Practices: Change the Culture of Your Dealership, we show six effective ways to coach up CRM usage. In this article, we’re going to focus on three key areas you should know and inspect to ensure your people, processes and CRM are working as well as they should be.

Modernize Your Sales Culture

If you’ve worked in the car business for any length of time, you’ve likely endured more than a few painful sales meetings. Not only does taking the heat of an unhappy post-game analysis demoralize your team, but it also often means you’re managing after the fact instead of coaching strategy when there’s still a chance to win.

Suppose you’re routinely reporting on close rates versus activities or advising your team to pick up the phone and call or email more customers. In that case, it’s time to rethink customer engagement. Savvy dealers measure the speed and quality of interactions instead of relying solely on traditional task-driven workplans. The path to higher profits lies in your ability to quickly identify the dealership’s most engaged prospects and deliver personalized experiences every time.

Hire for Personality, Train for Retention

With the average annual turnover hovering at an average of 67 percent, according to the 2020 NADA Dealership Workforce Study, some dealerships are hesitant to invest in quality training for employees. But poorly trained staff can’t produce consistently and skipping training impacts your bottom line significantly.

Concentrate on hiring employees that share your dealership’s values and invest in ongoing training. A prospective employee who demonstrates a strong work ethic and focuses on building relationships is more important than industry background.

Many advantages of a CRM system are visible only at the dealership level. You must coach your sales staff to understand how using the CRM system will benefit them personally. Then, set performance metrics to measure, evaluate and change to align with business goals.

Partner with a CRM that offers a robust training program to help you deliver ongoing training for both technical skills and proven processes. With the heavy lifting of technical training out of the way – you can focus on coaching soft skills that result in better outcomes.

Put Customers at the Heart of Your Goals (And Your Technology)

While selling a single car today is great, it’s much more profitable to build long-term relationships with customers. Include key customer engagement metrics in your daily reporting and coach your team on their activities. This will naturally improve close rates. Your CRM should also help you turn prospects into loyal customers with the ability to:

  • Meet customers where they are by learning where customers want to interact with you and communicating via their preferred channel.
  • Get personal with tools that help you track and learn shopper behavior so that you can engage them with practical and relevant conversations.
  • Respond before your competition by leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to deliver the information customers want real-time.

Building loyal customer relationships start with developing a unique sales culture and taking proactive steps to encourage employees to grow with your dealership. By guiding employees to value customer experiences, you can lead them to engage better, build stronger relationships and sell faster.

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