Tad Kilgore wants you to put the R back into CRM

Publish Date: 
Apr 17, 2013
By Holly J. Wagner

Okay, how do you overcome sales force resistance?
Meet with that group and get it all out in the open before you start. The salespeople have to understand this is not “Big Brother” so the sales manager or owner can see what they’re doing all day. They have to understand you can feed information into these systems and they will pretty much do everything for you.

The biggest issue is that you always want to get the salespeople to make their follow-up phone calls. Some will and some won’t. I’ve seen plenty of people who have done quality outbound phone calls. They may not be the best at making the deal on the floor, but they may be the best at follow-up phone calls.

So set goals for salespeople that exceed the number of customers they will get from the front door every day. If they will get three customers from the door, make them log five.

Usually salespeople need some immediate gratification to get started. What’s the simplest thing a dealer can do to make a difference today?
Treat every customer as a buyer. They have a whole set of rules for that in the sales process. Log every person that shows interest to the dealership, whether it be through the front door, side door, sales or service, web leads, inbound phone calls, emails, social media outlets. Then follow up with outbound phone calls.

You have to stop thinking sales is the only revenue source. Instead, treat every interaction as a revenue source. Every one of those touchpoints can make a sale.

There is so much going on out there with social media and the Internet. We are just on the tip of it right now. The most important thing dealers can do right now is build that wealth of data.

What’s the most important thing to do today for long-term success? One specific step?
Accountability. Accountability in customer service. Dealerships must understand that they have to follow up with every one of their customers. Some can’t seem to get it done; they throw money at it but they are not getting it done. You have to ask yourself whether you have someone to do this, or whether you should hire someone from outside to do it.

How can I tell if all this is working? How soon should I expect a measurable result, and how do I measure it?
You have to drive that result on a daily basis. CRMs or Internet lead managers or whatever, somebody has to be accountable. Salespeople, it’s the choice that they have made to be there. If you don’t sell anything, you don’t get paid. But you have to be accountable. Inspect what you expect. Each of those CRM providers has that — to inspect what you expect.

If we build it day by day, we build a good week and then a good month. Every contact they make with a customer is important. Just having a database is powerful. Start by logging everyone who comes into the dealership for 30 days.

This story originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Dealernews.