By Billy Reynolds, Regional VP of Elead CRM, CDK Global
In automotive retail, data is your dealership’s most valuable asset. When that data doesn’t get the routine maintenance it needs, both your customers and bottom line will feel it. With today’s advanced software, most auto dealers gather information on customers across thousands of data points. However, many dealers struggle to tie all the data together to deliver the personalized experiences today’s consumer expects.
Think about the hidden costs of the following missed opportunities.
—Marketing to invalid emails
—Wasted phone time dialing invalid phone numbers
—Lost data due to non-compliant employee texting from personal phones
—Reduced sales productivity sifting through bad records and bad leads
—Sales team losing faith in data quality, leading to a drop off in utilization of tools
If you want to compete in the age of instant connectivity, it’s necessary to turn your dirty data into clean data. Here are a few steps to get you started.
Assess current data
Take an honest look at what is in your current CRM database. How many duplicate contacts do you have? What are you doing to manage the entry process so you don’t continue to create duplicate entries? Are entries complete? How many contacts are old and should be deleted?
Break down data silos
If you’re tracking service customers in a different system than your sales customers, you are creating mounds of dirty data. This practice limits the view of each customer in each department and results in lost opportunities to deliver an experience catered to their current needs and history.
Today’s customers expect you to know their history and proactively tailor your message to their needs. Breaking down data silos gives employees a single and complete view of every customer, which helps your dealership to capitalize on every business opportunity.
Improve the phone process
A recent J.D. Power study of inbound calls to dealerships found that 11 percent of phone calls into a dealership yielded customer data. That means only one in ten customers is actually providing data or getting logged into your CRM with any kind of information you can follow up on.
If you don’t believe this is a problem, ask your marketing partners how much it costs to make the phone ring one time. Once you figure out that number, multiply it by ten, because if you’re only collecting data on ten percent of your opportunities, it’s costing you ten times that amount to make the phone ring.
If you’re not confident that your team is handling phone calls properly, try outsourcing to a BDC with agents who are trained to capture the data you need. Another option is to hire a consultant who can train your staff so they know the right questions to ask in each phone call.
Log every opportunity every time
There’s an old adage in car sales that I believe is still true: the more you log, the more you sell. Therefore, mandate that every opportunity be logged; whether it’s a customer who is just kicking tires or who wants to see what the new body style looks like. If you can gather information and build a little rapport, you will end up selling to more customers.
In many dealers there is still room for improvement when it comes to logging prospects. CRM mobile apps with drivers’ license scanners that automatically populate CRM fields can go a long way to make the logging process easier and faster. All the employee has to do is confirm the data is accurate, rather than enter it all in manually. Once the basic contact information is entered, that leaves more time to customize questions about what’s important to the customer, such as how they use their vehicle and who will be driving the most.
Data hygiene is not a glamorous process, but clean data is essential to the future success of your dealership. If your staff is unable to keep the data clean, find a technology partner that offers data hygiene and BDC services, both of which improve CRM data accuracy. For optimal results, quarterly maintenance is recommended.
About the Author
As Regional VP of Sales at Elead CRM/ CDK Global, Billy Reynolds helps auto dealers close the gap between sales, service and marketing by building solid relationships throughout the customer journey.