When choosing a Sales & CRM solution, it’s tempting to go with the crowd and pick big name brands like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics. However, very rarely do generic, cross industry sales & CRM systems work for dealerships.
We’ve seen it time and time again. Dealers implement a generic sales & CRM solution, usually with pressure from the manufacturer, and force it to fit their automotive needs. Dealers spend significant time and money just setting it up, only to find a year down the track that it doesn’t work for showroom workflows, KPIs haven’t increased, and habits haven’t improved. The system is clunky, and sales reps stop using it due to the steep learning curve and complex interface.
So, why don’t big name, cross industry Sales & CRM solutions work in automotive? They weren’t built for the automotive business; they don’t flow the way our unique automotive business does. And when customising an out of the box solution to fit an industry work flow, you lose most of its organic benefit.
Developed by IT, not the Business
Are you sick of hearing what Salesforce or Dynamics can do, only to then hear, “we can’t do that with our version?” Most of today’s dealer systems have been designed by IT experts, or developed from a cross industry solution like an accounting, HR, or payroll solution, and have been adapted over the decades. The Sales & CRM tool isn’t any different. It’s usually developed as a bolt-on workaround, much like service booking systems, to try to ‘fit’ the automotive industry. Dealers spend months, if not years customising a variety of tools to “work together” – leaving a poor end result of disconnected, fragmented solutions. Departments end up with a lead management system that looks good on paper, but doesn’t actually do much in reality.
Workflow isn’t mirrored
The workflow of the dealership is unique to the automotive industry; not easily customised by those outside of the industry. Especially not outer-industry IT experts. The Sales & CRM system is an end user business tool, meant to aide sales consultants, sales managers & stakeholders into making better decisions to improve KPIs. The tool should follow the automotive sales funnel – from Leads, onto Prospects, Test Drives, Order Intakes, and finally Deliveries – and force users to close ‘hot prospects’, improve test drive conversions, move Leads from Prospects, etc. It’s a tool implemented to improve business outcomes, however cross industry solutions aren’t familiar with the key drivers of the auto industry.
Habits don’t change
Another reason generic Sales & CRM solutions don’t work within the auto industry is because they are setup to generically automate what sales consultants already do (garbage in, garbage out). If you are using a tool to simply automate processes, you may gain a bit of time back in efficiency – however, productivity will not increase. You may be able to pull arbitrary numbers up on a screen, but sales consultants aren’t urged to do anything differently. The right Sales & CRM solution should give you insights on things that matter, and prompt immediate next actions to improve key sales drivers & low performing conversions – test drive conversions, lost leads, etc.
Service providers like aureso ensure your staff follow the optimum sales process, and inevitably show stakeholders who does and who doesn’t. The right technology should be able to easily show you where the gaps are to improve performance.
It doesn’t seamlessly connect
Another major problem among generic Sales & CRM solutions is the gap in data. As said previously, many solutions need bolt-on tools to gain full functionality. This means the data from online enquiries, showroom walk-ins, social media, test drive bookings, finance etc. are kept in separate places; nobody has full visibility over it all. Most cross industry solutions are not equipped to service the various departments of a dealership. This means dealers will never have the 360 view of the customer that they need to fully serve customers & deliver an ideal customer experience.
Lack of uptake
Last but not least, sales consultants rarely take up using complex, clunky sales & CRM tools, and many times leave the system unused. This comes down to a lack of coaching, and more importantly a lack of understanding why the system works the way it does. When installing a new solution, many service providers offer a few days of basic training for employees. However, the training often consists of ‘which button to push when’ and ‘how to generate a report’. What employees should be learning is how they can use the solution to improve their own KPI’s. For instance – if I input this specific data, I can then retrieve a report to see X, which will help me improve conversions by Y. Sales consultants should learn how to analyse lost leads, which prospects are buying at other dealerships, where in the sales funnel most leads drop out, which social media campaign gives the greatest return on investment and so on. Without tangible, KPI-improving ‘tools’ within your Sales & CRM solution – sales consultants really have no reason to take it on in the long run.
What do you think? Have you experienced the downfall of a cross-industry Sales & CRM solution within the auto industry?