Customer relationship management software, or CRM, has progressed rapidly in the last 10-15 years, and today there are a wide array of CRM packages to choose from, including packages that work well in any industry or ones that are tailored to meet the unique requirements of a single industry.
In the automotive sales industry, the competition for industry-specific automotive CRM packages is intense, and selecting the best CRM dealer for your car dealership can be difficult.
Here are a few of the items you should consider when choosing a CRM dealer:
#1 Choosing General or Industry-Specific Packages
CRM software that is not focused on a specific industry can do quite well for a dealership’s basic CRM needs, such as collecting customer contact information, generating leads from multiple sources, keeping a detailed sales history for each customer and managing an efficient marketing program. But by choosing a CRM package that is tailored to the automotive industry, you can have a more effective solution that takes the unique needs of a car dealership into account.
An automotive CRM dealer can offer additional industry-specific functions such as inventory control, separate management of the service department, electronic vehicle brochures, and sales and service follow-ups. By integrating all these functions into a single package, you get software that is easier for your staff to use, and that can improve both your sales and your service figures, while also helping to keep your customers engaged and returning to your dealership.
#2 Selecting A Well-Rounded Solution
Combining software from multiple vendors can make a CRM solution confusing and difficult for your staff, resulting in less frequent use and a waste of capital. By finding a CRM dealer that offers both the basic CRM software and all the modules and extensions that you may need in the future, you can save money in the long-term and end up with a single-source solution that is easy to use and offers full integration for any of the tools you choose to add at a later date.
Some of the more popular additions to automotive CRM software include inventory management features, an Internet lead manager, a service department CRM, customized websites, telephony solutions, data management, and call center or BDC extensions. All of these tools can easily be added as your business expands.
#3 Finding the Best Marketing Features
One of the most important jobs of CRM software is to coordinate your marketing efforts using thorough data analysis, multiple-marketing channels and tools that increase the customer’s response to your marketing efforts.
Quality CRM software should be able to draw customer data from multiple sources including the Internet, social media and your sales and service history. This can then be used to create a comprehensive marketing plan that uses direct mail, phone calls, email, your website, text messages and social media to generate leads and convert them into sales.
Using tools such as on-line appointment scheduling, smart coupons, loyalty programs, and discounts, it should help to encourage more customers to visit your dealership and keep coming back for additional products and services. It should also identify additional sales opportunities with every sale or service appointment, marketing products such as premium parts, special services and popular accessories. Make sure that your CRM dealer offers a wide range of marketing options and services.
#4 Receiving Proper Training
In order to use the CRM software effectively, your staff must be fully trained and kept up to date on new features and additions to the package. Choose a CRM dealer that offers a comprehensive training package, including on-site training during the initial installation, as well as ongoing training through the Internet and other channels to keep your staff properly updated. Also, be sure the package has plenty of support options to keep the software running properly.
Thorough training reduces the amount of difficulty your staff will have operating the software, which will lead to better compliance and more effective use of all the software’s features. This will translate into higher sales and more return customers for your dealership.
#5 Improving Customer Relationships
CRM software is designed to improve customer relationships and turn them into future sales for your business. A good CRM dealer will provide a solution that helps you manage customer relationships in an effective manner. It will track their sales and service history, allowing you to offer them products and services that are genuinely useful to them, and it will track products and services that have been accepted or declined, so that you can have a better idea of what they may be interested in.
The software will also help you to make contact with new customers, through direct mail, the Internet, email and social media, and it will allow you to follow up with each existing customer after a sales or service visit to elicit feedback and allow you to market further good and services to them.
Using a variety of tools, you can remind customers of appointments, keep them up to date on service progress and contact them about promotions and discounts that you may be offering. By improving your relationship with your customers, you can build loyalty and increase both your sales and profits. Be sure to choose a CRM dealer that offers a comprehensive set of tools to manage customer relationships and analyze the results of your retention efforts.
Choosing a CRM dealer with all the right software and services for your needs will help you improve sales through the use of improved marketing, better customer retention, and efficient management of your dealership. In order to maximize these benefits, you must commit to keeping your staff fully-trained on the software, and make sure that they use it properly, by entering all customer data and using all of the software’s features effectively, including the retention, inventory management, lead generation, customer retention and marketing features. With the right CRM dealer, you can choose the modules and packages to add to your CRM solution and customize it to fit your needs, and as your business expands, you can take advantage of the additional tools that they offer easily.