Stop Chasing Leads and Salespeople

Dealers can’t expect their sales manager to spend their entire day running behind their salespeople and following up on every single lead and interaction. That’s not a sales manager’s job, even though we sometimes think it is. One issue is that dealers need to capture all the prospects and leads possible, which may include making sure that their sales teams are doing what they should.

If you are the sales manager, you need to be able to trust your team and ensure that they are following up on all opportunities and getting people to the sales process in whatever way works best for them. Less than 30% of all prospects make it into your CRM. That means they’re still just a prospect, not an opportunity. And the majority are missing into the ether.

Sales managers need to pay attention to the interactions that happen outside of the CRM and make sure that customers are getting the experience that they deserve. 80% of the customer interactions happening today are happening outside of the CRM. That should be concerning to dealers. Especially considering that many of these opportunities came with a financial expense.

When the process and the expectation are so far apart, it’s hard to change and make moves that will show the success of the CRM platform that you use.

Technology has undergone massive changes. And yet, our sales processes haven’t really changed and evolved with it. And customers are responding to that less and less. Right now, customers don’t have much of a choice, which has given some dealers a reprieve in trying to improve their efforts. And some errantly assume the influx of business has something to do with their efforts—it doesn’t.

The Problem Isn’t the Tools, But the Lack of Change in Sales Processes

It’s still a problem in 2022 that dealers are losing leads to the tune of 80% or more and that dealers aren’t more concerned about it. That means that eight people out of 10 that were prospects never make it into the system and become an opportunity. Even those that take more work are never given that opportunity if they’re not put into the system. It’s time to change the sales process and that’s part of the discussion that we’ve had on facilitating transactions rather than facilitating leads.

Dealers need to stop accepting the lack of follow-up. They need to take off the blinders and stop accepting what they’re given and realize how much more they can get if they take a proactive approach.

Many dealers are reactionary. They always have been. Dealerships react to market changes, customer demands, and  supply and demand changes, etc. They rarely plan ahead and take a proactive approach to the sales process and the customer experience, and that’s what sets them up to fail from the beginning.

There were dealers in the early 2000s that were still saying that the Internet was a non-issue. They saw it as a source of information only and not a viable means of finding business or growing their dealership. It wasn’t until customers demanded that Internet access be available that dealerships reacted and started to consider going that route. And even now, 22 years later, there are still dealers out there who think that the CRM and other tech tools “aren’t going to last.”

Well, if they’re not using the technology they have invested in appropriately, of course they won’t last. But then, their dealership may not last either. That’s why dealers have to embrace technology and see how it can help them improve the sales process so that they can deliver a better experience to every customer that comes through the door.


Proactive Planning for the Future

As we’ve discussed, eventually, the gold rush is going to end. The pandemic-induced business fluke where dealers have been selling everything that they can possibly get in your inventory will eventually taper off. It might already be happening. Is your dealership ready for the world after that “easy” business? Or is it still in reaction mode, waiting for the next market change or the next customer demand to make a move?

Dealerships need to take a proactive approach to managing their operations, as well as their technology, if they want to become successful. If dealers are not proactive, the customer will notice. Everyone has been reacting to the changes on their own timeline. Even long after the first CRMs were created, many dealerships still took their time in adopting this technology. Some dealers still aren’t using a CRM, or at least not using it properly.

Dealerships have been dragging their feet on all the technology adoptions available today. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be helpful if they plan to grow and thrive now and into the future. Dealers need to stop reacting to every market change and start planning ahead to take a more proactive approach, including incorporating a CRM that can help drive a better sales process and deliver a better customer experience.

As a dealer body, the industry has been reacting to every single major technology change probably dating back to the 1970s, and it’s high time for that to end.

Businesses that have been based on controlling the information and the customer are done. The Internet has forced dealers to give up control and be transparent because consumers are now demanding it. Dealers of all kinds have struggled with the reactive vs. proactive approach, but now there are plenty of great tools and resources out there, along with vendors, that offer a host of solutions for their dealership.

There’s so much to choose from. Unless they’re at a point where they are trying to learn and improve, they will be stuck reacting. And over time, that reaction time gets slower, and they won’t know how to react on some issues.


Time to Re-Prioritize

Start with the customer and what they want. Then, work backward to come up with a process that will deliver that. Dealers can use that insight to figure out what tools will help them deliver that expectation time and time again. The problem is that vendors are selling you what you want, not what the customer wants. Because the dealer is technically the vendor’s customer. So, the vendor is delivering on the expectations of the dealer – not the customer - and now it’s up to the dealer to take those decisions back.

A dealer’s reaction is to find a solution to their problems, as well as the customers. That means they need to refocus their efforts and re-prioritize what they consider to be important in the tools that they use for their dealership.

Take, for example, BZ Results. These were some of the worst websites in the history of website platforms. The customer experience was terrible. But it wasn’t built for the customer. It was built to be cool in order to attract dealers to buy it. And dealers bought it in droves. The problem was that it didn’t make things better for the customer. In many cases, it made things worse.

So, think about what the customer wants and how you can deliver a sales process that meets the customer’s expectations. That’s what a good CRM does. It’s not about what the dealer wants. It’s about what the customer wants.

  • The customer wants instant access to information.
  • They want clear and transparent prices.
  • They want quick engagement from dealerships and salespeople.
  • They want a streamlined, frictionless process.

Salespeople might say that a platform isn’t intuitive, but that’s because it’s not about the sales team or what they want. The right CRM cares about what the customer wants. That’s going to help dealers find a way to get the customer what they want, or if they’re not embracing technology in the right ways, it might help their competition deliver a better product and service to the customer – which will lead to lost sales and revenue.


The Bottom Line

With the fast-paced advancements in technology, many dealers feel like they’ve spent decades reacting and course-correcting based on the changes. That can make it difficult to deliver an optimal customer experience and that is no longer acceptable. With platforms like PSX Digital, dealers can take a proactive approach to deliver the ultimate customer experience in any way that it works for them. CRMs need to be built for customers first and salespeople second, which will remove the friction for those two parties, and everyone will get what they want.

Dealerships are a service business with a product offering. There are a dozen other dealers with the same products. What dealers have to sell is their service and the way they utilize technology will impact their success and the only way for them to differentiate themselves.