The “lifetime value” of a customer, in other words the present value of all future cash flows attributed to the customer relationship, is approximately seven times the price of the vehicle they purchase.
And if we can improve our customer retention rate, we not only make sure our dealership keeps that lifetime value. Studies show that over time a customer will purchase more expensive vehicles, and will recommend us to more and more relatives, friends and colleagues. An increase of just 5% in our customer retention rate increases lifetime value by 75%.
A properly used CRM system can be a powerful tool to strengthen relationships with existing customers and eventually increase sales to them. It is also an excellent way to generate a continuous link with each new prospect and eventually convert them into customers.
Here are some ideas to make the most of your CRM system.
1. Follow up on sales campaigns
A CRM provides information on each salesperson’s calls and their results. With this information you can develop a strategy for efficiently maximizing their use of their time. You should be able to:
- Manage the sales team and their efficiency, reviewing plans for sales calls and visits, and success rates
- View sales goals vs. actual sales by salesperson
- Analyze reports to evaluate the effectiveness
2. Segment prospects and customers
A good CRM will allow you to group your prospects and customers according to tastes, interests, purchase frequency, vehicles owned, occupation, etc. You can thus create highly targeted marketing campaigns, offering each prospect the product or service they need.
Moreover, these campaigns can be personalized to achieve a stronger bond and avoid that “mass mail” feeling.
3. Manage prospects
The CRM must manage prospects in a simple, practical and identifiable manner. A good CRM will allow you to quickly see if your vendors are contacting each prospect, if they achieve the sale, if they plan a visit… so you know what action to take at the right time.
4. Do my vehicle customers come to my service department?
It is important for the dealership to detect whether customers who purchase vehicles later bring them to our service workshop.
5. Send emails, letters and special reminders
Current technology coupled with the appropriate database allows us to be in constant relationship with each client. With a CRM you can select a particular group of customers and easily send them personalized emails using predetermined formats.
This feature can be used for:
- Birthday greetings
- Special promotions
- Service reminders
- Payment due reminders
6. CRM integrated with the DMS
One of the main reasons CRM systems fail to meet expectations is the limited amount of customer data they contain.
That’s why it’s vital that the CRM system integrate with your DMS, where all of your valuable customer information resides, without having to resort to external programs or complicated extraction processes.
An integrated CRM can automatically (and with zero additional effort) collect large amounts of data solely from the interactions that are recorded in the DMS.
And if the dealership has several stores, they can share that customer information among all locations in real time and without having to reenter data.