Yes, dealerships need to be focused on delivering the best possible customer experience. That’s the whole reason CRMs were created—or at least a large part of it. But what about the employee experience? What about making their experience in the dealership and in their sales position better?
If you can create that mentality and embrace that type of process development, you won’t be fighting against the current. People will come to expect it and almost want it, giving you the chance to do just about anything that you want. You have developed a level of trust within the store and your team because you have made a commitment to giving them a better experience and better tools to do their job. They know that you are supporting them and that this change is beneficial for everyone.
Dealerships need this mentality, or shift, tipping point—whatever you want to call it. When you reach this place, as mentioned, you’ll basically be able to do whatever you want. The relationship you’ve created with your team is a huge asset. And when you get to that point, that’s when technology starts to work. When everyone is on board and embraces the learning culture that you’re trying to cultivate, you’ll see more success with technology integrations.
You’ll also see that more people get invested as you create a deeper and deeper learning culture. Suddenly, every team member wants to find all the best tools and resources to make sure that they are successful, the dealership is successful, and the customer gets the experience they expect.
A better culture allows people to give feedback that’s appreciated and used. This allows the entire team to take part, as opposed to an environment where leadership just made a bunch of decisions and then tried to force teams to get on board.
And remember those staffing shortages and the lack of qualified help? Watch how that shifts when you reach this new space of culture and cultivation of resources to improve your dealership both now and into the future.
Creating a Collaborative Culture
Every dealership needs to focus on creating a collaborative culture. It’s no longer about pitting the sales team against each other to get results. Now, it’s about creating a team effort to get the job done, from the person who takes the first call to the one who upsells and closes the deal. That starts with using the right type of tools for the job and using them properly.
It's the difference between having a CRM full of bad information because salespeople were forced to input data with no understanding or awareness of what it was for or why they had to collect it and having a CRM that delivers the solutions that the dealership needs, and that people appreciate having.
Collaboration, learning, and a willingness to embrace new tools are all important things to keep in mind when creating a culture that will make the most of your CRM and other technology integrations. This leads to one of our key takeaways:
From a leadership perspective, how are you involving the team that must use some of the tools that you choose (and that you think are going to make things better)?
This is the perfect place to invite your team to do their own SWOT analysis of the dealership. Tell people you want their opinions. Let them know that you’re trying to make this beneficial for them, too, and watch how they respond in kind.
For those who don’t know or just need a refresher, a SWOT analysis consists of four areas:
And remember, you’re asking people to evaluate your dealership on these aspects, not themselves. You should invite them to do the latter, of course, if they’re so inclined, but this is about improving the dealership. Be open to seeing what people have to say. Use the SWOT analysis framework during staff meetings to help share that insight and information, as well as to discuss how you can address it properly.
When people are heard, they feel included. This also helps leadership decide what problems they need to solve before they go off and adopt a new technology solution. And speaking of solving things, technology may not initially resolve the issues you are facing. In fact, it may shine a spotlight on several issues facing your dealership and make things worse before they get better. You must be prepared for that, but also be prepared to help your team bounce back.
It's All in the Environment and Culture
As a dealer, it’s about taking the time to create an environment that allows all this to happen. It’s about promoting and facilitating the increasing use of technology throughout the dealership, at all levels. After all, no matter what else you do, it won’t make a difference. If the environment isn’t working and the culture isn’t there, nothing else will be, either.
Drive engagement and incorporation of various tech tools. Start with training and integration from day one. Make this a standard, not optional, and watch how quickly your team gets on board. When people understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, they not only do it better, but they feel more motivated to be successful. They feel valued, useful, and capable. They will seek out opportunities for growth and development on a regular basis just because that’s the standard that you’ve set within your dealership.
There’s a Long Way to Go
Despite all the progress that’s been made, there is still a long way to go for many dealers who are trying to encourage their sales team to embrace the CRM culture and other technology. Some people are more difficult to convince than others, and your approach could be part of the issue, too. No one can tell you what your sales team needs but them. Sit down and have a meeting to see what people want most out of a CRM, or how they see it becoming a part of everyday business to the benefit of themselves and customers alike while, at the same time, evaluating how it will help management ensure that opportunities aren’t missed.
When you ask, people will answer. You must know which questions to ask, though, if you want to get technology integrations just right. Remember to create a culture that focuses on:
- Cultivating resources.
- Curating feedback (from customers, employees, etc.)
- Learning and embracing new solutions.
- How all this impacts the individual employee’s role within the organization (people like to feel good about what they do) and how it will benefit them.
The future is now, and the future is up to you and your sales team. Are you going to change the way you look at technology and try to find a better way to do things, or are you going to keep enforcing the use of tools that no one really understands or uses properly? It starts at the top, so set the pace, create the environment, and promote the culture of learning and embracing technology advancements, and your people will follow.