Five Easy Ways to Increase CRM Utilization

Five Easy Ways to Increase CRM Utilization

By: John Hardacre, Product Manager

Five Easy Ways to Increase CRM Utilization

Having a great Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool isn’t worth much if you can’t get your employees to use it. Recent industry benchmarks indicate that average dealership CRM utilization is less than 30%1. This means that your CRM system, the spinal cord of your customer data and sales pipeline, sits largely untouched by the majority of your team.  

Why is this so important?

Consider this: a CRM offers an average return of $5.60 for every $1 spent.2 With this in mind, the level of non-utilization has a significant impact on the overall success of any CRM system. Figuring out how to boost employee utilization determines whether or not your dealership receives the ROI you were looking for and the full benefits of the system. To help prevent your software investment from becoming a write off, here are some suggestions you can implement to increase utilization:

  • Highlight the WIFM: You and your management team should talk often and enthusiastically about the personal benefits in using your CRM tool. Show employees the benefits upfront before beginning the basic “how to” allows them to see the endgame before the first piece of data is entered. Benefits include:
    • Reduced paperwork. Much of the data previously recorded manually is now entered directly into the CRM.
    • Centralized location for all Customer Data.
    • Reduced confusion on who owns the lead or the customer.
    • Less time is spent chasing down phone or internet leads.
    • More time available for sales since paperwork and individual customer follow-up tasks are now more automated.
  • Keep it simple. Peel the onion a layer at a time. Start with only those features that employees personally use as part of their job function. Then gradually layer in the other features over time. If you blast your staff with all of the features and benefits, you run the risk of overwhelming employees with a tool that is perceived as overly complicated and time consuming.
  • Train them, and train them again!  Driving CRM adoption requires consistent and on-going role specific training for all who use the CRM program. CRM training is not a “one and done” activity. In addition to regular product training, which should be offered monthly to all new employees, add in a monthly tip clinic. This will showcase easy short-cuts and any new features that have been added or modified. Provide easy to follow Quick Start Guides that reinforce the regular training materials. Some CRM systems even provide a “demo” section within the tool that allows those who need it to dig in and play around with various relatable scenarios and features. It never hurts to ask your CRM provider if this is an available feature and, more importantly, what kind of training support they can provide.
  • Model what you expect. All managers should be utilizing the program on a consistent and regular basis. Employees who see their managers using the CRM for all customer data and sales pipeline management, including desk log features, understand that this is a non-negotiable part of their job. The key is that managers MUST make sure to hold employees accountable. If they routinely “let it slide”, there is a loud and a clear message that dealership employees don’t need to take CRM seriously.
  • Find the CRM super user:  Identify the individual that is either an early adopter and/or utilizes the system regularly. Then, appoint him or her as the “Product Champion” for the program. This individual can be a peer spokesperson for the CRM and an advocate for the dealership. Once you identify this individual or individuals, build some type of incentive or reward system to keep them engaged and motivated.   

At its core, your CRM system success will ultimately be measured by how quickly your employees adopt and utilize the system consistently. Ensuring that you provide adequate support, modeling and motivation can go a long way to guaranteeing the highest level ROI.

1. From Dealer Simplified Website, “Top Ten Tips to Encourage Employees to Utilize the CRM”
Kevin Leigh

2. Baseline CRM blog, January 24, 2014. Lauren Licatta, “18 Surprising CRM Statistics”

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