Don’t Buy CRM Software Without Asking These Questions

You’ve decided to get a CRM or replace an existing one. Now what?


A CRM system should help your staff connect with customers, increase sales productivity and provide actionable insights to deliver the great experiences that create long-lasting customer relationships.


We get it - there are a lot of options on the market. And in a time when the bottom line matters more than ever, it’s vital to choose with care. The wrong choice could lead you to abandon the new system and waste thousands of dollars and hundreds of employee hours in the process. No dealership needs that.


That’s why it’s crucial to ask these key questions before buying your CRM software.


Why am I investing in a new CRM?


This question gets to the core of your business needs and requires you to examine your current processes and methods of performance management.


Too often, dealership managers try to sweep front-line problems under the rug by turning to a new CRM. Yet, behaviors like lack of usage or poor process follow-through will not automatically change with a new tool.


Conversely, the problem could be a fundamental issue with a current tool. For example, if it can’t easily adapt to a growing dealership or it’s lacking in key integrations.


Once you identify your needs and pain points you can better decide if you need a new tool, or if you’d be better served by further training and support from your current provider.


What integrations are important to me?


The usability of a CRM tool depends on its integrations and OEM certifications. Consider the technology tools you rely on daily, such as desking, inventory, customer communications and data mining.


The ability to access these programs through one CRM platform will go a long way towards creating efficient and streamlined workflows that are easy for salespeople and your BDC to follow. Additionally, having one system that’s adaptable to both the front and back of the house will give you a full view of the customer’s history and value.


Examine your current integrations, but also the ability to create additional integrations and the costs associated with that. For example, if your salespeople text with customers, can you track those communications in the customer record? If you offer a digital retailing channel, can the work a customer completes online flow into your CRM seamlessly?  If not, is there an additional fee to add those options?


Can I customize workflows and scale up when needed?


What good is a tool if you can’t make it work with your unique processes and workflows? A good CRM should adapt to your business, not the other way around.  Make sure a tool is flexible enough so that you can customize it to fit your dealership’s needs and challenges.


You also need a solution that can grow with you, whether that’s adding another storefront or expanding your digital retailing. Today’s auto retail market is competitive and unpredictable. You need a solution that allows you to be nimble so you can pivot on a dime as the market advances.


What training and long-term support is available?


Training and performance management can be the different between a solution that sings and one that sinks.


Make sure your training solution covers not just how to use the system, but also how your staff can use the system according to your store’s processes.


Be wary of vendors who want to change how you do things to match how they want you to do things. That’s a red alert that a system is an inflexible CRM-in-a-box and the provider will likely be difficult to work with.


Look for hands-on guidance during the implementation process and live training with on-site assistance and coaching.


Will I gain insights to deliver the best customer experience?


A great customer experience starts with actionable insights into all customer touchpoints.


A CRM should bridge the gap between online, phone and text experiences, as well as sales and service activities and transactions in your store. You gain real-time visibility into your customers, and the ability to deliver great experiences, when every action and interaction is tied back to a customer record. 


Your CRM is crucial to capitalize on leads and opportunities, connect with customers, and create great experiences that lead to long-lasting relationships. Ask yourself these questions before committing to a new vendor and you’re much more likely to find a long-term partner in your success.







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