Today, customers are lining up to buy vehicles, and salespeople mostly take orders. We don’t know when supply chain issues will resolve. We do know that inventory will eventually start to return slowly. Will your sales teams be ready for a more competitive market? Will they have the tools to be productive and keep revenue flowing?
In our recent Retail Friction Point Report conducted with NADA, we found that 94% of the 303 dealerships surveyed want to evolve beyond traditional, outdated sales processes. Dealers recognize that to make vehicles easier to buy; they must be easier to sell. A simple, convenient process will win back customers as the chip crisis abates.
In this blog, I’ll focus on the top tools – some stalwarts and others new to the market – that sales teams need today to connect with customers and move deals forward.
DMS & CRM
I’d argue that 100% of franchised dealers have a DMS and CRM in place. Independents lag behind. These solutions are critical for sales to increase lead response times, have more personalized customer communications, and speed up the buying process. However, simply having these tools won’t improve productivity and efficiency. Proper procedures for data entry and consistent use are critical. Dealership employees also tire of using multiple systems that don’t talk to each other. As you analyze your sales process and consider upgrading to a new DMS or CRM, make seamless data transfer a priority.
Digital retailing solution
Our Friction Point Report revealed that 85% of dealers surveyed have some digital retailing strategy. However, only one-third use it in the showroom to provide an omnichannel shopping experience and enhance sales presentations. This is a big missed opportunity. When salespeople use the same tools in-store as customers use online, there’s no need to rekey information or ask questions that have already been answered because the data is right there in front of them. There are new-to-market platforms that are compatible with a variety of CRMs, lending solutions, and website providers. Seek these out to create a seamless omnichannel experience for customers and sales associates.
Shopping intelligence tools
Knowing what your customers are doing online can help your dealership sell vehicles. Shopping intelligence tools allow sales associates to view website browsing activities, including VDPs on third-party sites, top cars considered, and trade evaluation portals. This information enables sales to proactively provide relevant information that helps speed up the purchase process. You want these tools integrated within your CRM so you can set trigger alerts and task assignments when browsing activities require action.
Equity mining tools
Equity mining is the most well-known tactic for finding new opportunities from sales and service customers. But there’s more than one way to mine your CRM. These tools also allow you to create targeted marketing and sales lists based on customer profiles such as those unable to obtain financing, be-back appointments, and unsold leads. The catch is that these tools must be integrated with your CRM to mine your data effectively.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an important technology that many dealers overlook. AI applications powered by machine learning can help sales teams save time by automating tasks and streamlining workflows. For example, AI can help create targeted lists of customers who are more likely to be in the market to buy a new vehicle. AI can also allow smaller sales teams to generate qualified leads faster by handling monotonous tasks that tend to be resource-intensive (like lead follow-up).
We don’t know when the auto-retail market will regain a sense of normalcy. Use this downtime to prepare and equip your salespeople for when inventory stabilizes. Investing in new tools to overcome sales friction points will boost productivity and keep revenue flowing despite changing market conditions.
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