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Is your CRM reactive or proactive?

In a quick ring round this week and speaking to dealers, they were frustrated - understandably - by the impact of Level 4 and Level 3 on their business. Enquiry was significantly lower than two months ago, and for those still in Level 4, enquiries were negligible, although deals were being done online and remotely.

This, and an excellent web-cast last week from an industry used vehicle expert, reminded me of the importance of setting a clear vision of how you expect sales staff to use your CRM. It's not enough right now to wait for customers to come through the (virtual) door. In fact there is probably an opportunity to significantly increase sales, and access to used stock by setting your CRM expectation clearly and differently. In other words, set the expectation that your sales staff use the CRM proactively as a minimum standard.

A proactive setting is much more than an expectation that sales staff will deal with leads that come their way, and look at three year anniversaries or finance term end reminders.

Here is the Boost Auto proactive / reactive checklist to ask of yourself and your business:

  1. Do you have clear expectations (set in sales staff goal agreements) of how many outbound calls sales staff should make per week?

  2. How many service customers do you expect sales staff to talk to a week? Talk to means, engage, have a coffee, handpick a demo rather than a loan car.

  3. How many 'equity customers' or finance renewal customers do you expect your staff to call a week?

While it is clear that many dealers do these things sometimes, or even all the time, I would bet that few Dealer Principals and Sales Managers have set targets for their staff. A proactive CRM approach is to set clear and unambiguous quantitative targets for all sales staff for CRM activity. The ultimate goal is to pro-actively create opportunities for all staff members rather than just the cream of the crop. If the answer to the above questions is no / some / all, then your CRM expectation is reactive.

In fact Randy Barone, would argue that your business doesn't have space for average sales people. Setting a low tolerance for poor practices (normal practices?) that create a poor sales result, costs your business a lot more than you realise. The overhead cost of poor performance is the same as great performance. Creating 15 additional opportunities a day from the steps above could be between 26 and 15 sales per month (5% or 3% closing rate). Do the maths for your gross margin for the year. Then decide if your tolerance poor sales is the same as it was before reading this blog.

The last part of the jigsaw is to be highly proactive about buying stock. I'll leave you to listen to Randy's webcast about stock buying. In the USA there is stiff competition from big box car yards for buying used stock. Competition in New Zealand is increasing from these larger used car supermarkets (see my 2021 industry predictions). What happens in the USA today, happens in NZ 12-24 months after. We know the importance of being the retailer of choise for used stock for the

brands you represent. It supports not only used vehicle GP, but parts and service volumes much longer than non-brand products might. Highly proactive takes stock buying to an extra level, and its fascinating. Having retailed in a large dealer group with a 60 day stock policy, there are many lessons to be learned and applied. Randy Barone's tips are next level however. Speed to market, accurate appraisals and a high stock turn become mission critical. In his view you can still pay all the money, but you also need to be ready because the market will turn.

When you listen to commentaries from other markets, it sometimes makes you realise that despite the difficulties of having COVID restrictions, we are still in a fortunate position in many ways. But many of our challenges are the same as overseas. We can use these lessons to boost our business. Because the market isn't going to get easier for a while yet, and there is more competition coming.

Perhaps now is time to get match fit for the year ahead. Set clear goals, be proactive with your CRM, and up your used vehicle game.

Boost Auto is an automotive consultancy working in five main areas.

  1. Sales and Marketing effectiveness for brands and dealers

  2. Green fleet facilitation for large corporates

  3. Go To Market strategies for emerging brands

  4. Market Insights & Trends

  5. Business Planning and facilitation

You can contact us at

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