The Importance of Properly Utilizing Your CRM Platform – Jonathan Thompson, Force Marketing

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Jonathan Thompson, Vice President at Force Marketing, came to the CBT Stage at NADA 2020 to talk to Jim Fitzpatrick about how important it is to make sure you are utilizing your CRM platform properly and urges you to hold your marketing partners accountable.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:Jonathan Thompson

Jim Fitzpatrick: Let me ask you this, how important is it with all of the focus on data today? How important is it for marketing partners to utilize the CRM information?

Jonathan Thompson: CRM information.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Three little letters that mean so much, right?

Jonathan Thompson: It’s pretty odd because everybody bails in the DMS, importance of DMS data.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Jonathan Thompson: Looking at CRM, maybe evaluating it, it’s all about first party data ramping. Utilizing unsold prospect data, ramping it into your paid search campaigns, your display, video, streaming audio, it will keep you on the cutting edge and, really, help you reduce advertising waste. These are all the low hanging fruit customers, and prospects. These are people that have shopped on your website, submitted a lead, maybe did a phone call. Hopefully your sales people logged their information appropriately.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right, because we know that-

Jonathan Thompson: Right.

Jim Fitzpatrick: We’ve talked, we’ve spoken to other CRM companies that have come in, and not other but CRM companies, and they still complain that the dealers just don’t use the CRMs the way that they need to. So, to have a marketing company that comes in and says, “No, let’s take that data,” now it’s even more important for salespeople to use it.

Jonathan Thompson: What’s been awesome is that agencies and partners that push this importance upon their dealers it gets them more excited about really making sure their salespeople are utilizing the tool to the best of their ability, and how it pays off for the salespeople.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Jonathan Thompson: Because the salespeople sometimes need to understand that each lead that they get is on the cost of $60-70 per lead.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Jonathan Thompson: They’re not asking the dealer, or I mean the sales person, “Hey, Mr. Salesperson, I gave you 50 leads earlier this month. Hey, where’s my 1500 bucks for those leads?”

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Jonathan Thompson: When they understand the importance of that, and they log as much information as possible, and then the dealer can use that information …

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Jonathan Thompson: … for first party data ramping into their omnichannel marketing, it causes for the most effective and robust marketing campaigns. Here at NADA 2020, we’re showing some of the ways, and strategies, technologies, that we’re using to use that first party data at the CRM.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Really? What are some of those ways?

Jonathan Thompson: So, Helix Technologies, it powers everything that we do. What we’re doing is the ability to ramp that information into Helix, segregate, cleanse, and make sure it’s the best crème de la crème, so to speak. Then also, score those customers based on their shopping behavior, so the amount of times they’re coming to the website, the amount of times they’re opening emails, or calling the dealership. That allows us to then go, These are the prime customers, and prospects, that we need to ramp into these different channels. So, it’s causing for a more effective marketing campaign. It’s driving cost down to around $50 per unit when they invest with us, …

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Jonathan Thompson: … which is phenomenal.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Jonathan Thompson: Yeah, so it’s been really, really fun. Really the excitement we see in dealer’s eyes when they go, “Wow, this is getting better and different every single year. You guys are tip of the spear.”

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, for sure. For the dealers that are watching this right now that want to learn more about this, aren’t really sure if their marketing companies are providing technology like this, or technologies like this, what do they do? Just give you guys a call and you’ll do an assessment of what they’re currently doing? You’ve got to take a look at their marketing plan?

Jonathan Thompson: Jim, that’s such a great question. Some companies will try to give you some numbers, and give you a guess right on the spot. We don’t operate that way. It takes an analysis. It takes looking at the data. It takes looking at the market. It takes looking at the inventory, and even sometimes looking at the staffing of the store, too, just to make sure they can get to where they want to. Then we give them that proposal based on that analysis. We have to ask sometimes, “Let us take a peek. We don’t need control. Let us look at the data and we’ll tell you where we can take you.”

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, right. What do you see as some of the pitfalls when you walk into a dealership to do an analysis? What are some of the pitfalls that are common among the dealers? What are they doing wrong?

Jonathan Thompson: Disconnected channels, disconnected partners, maybe sometimes unrealistic expectations of what they should see or what should happen. It’s really interesting because a dealer will say, “Man, I want this program. I need all these leads,” but they may not need leads. It may need … They just need to fine tune the audiences they’re targeting, and have more quality.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I gotcha. I gotcha. So what’s your recommendation … You work with hundreds of dealers all across the country, all makes and models, luxury cars, Toyota stores, Nissan stores, and everything in between. What’s your recommendation for 2020? If you had to pick two or three things that dealers need to focus on with regard to their marketing what would those two or three things be?

Jonathan Thompson: With regards to their marketing? Two or three things? I can actually boil that down into one is if they are trying to tighten, get better, get smarter, get faster on their marketing, give Force Marketing a call and let us do an analysis …

Jim Fitzpatrick: There’s a good tip.

Jonathan Thompson: … for you and it doesn’t cost you anything.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I was looking for a freebie there for dealers. Give Force Marketing a tip. But what about other than Force Marketing, what do they need to focus on? If you guys are talking-

Jonathan Thompson: In all reality, I mean the things that they could focus on with their current vendors, it’s just ask those questions. Are they utilizing their CRM data for first party data ramping? Are they diving in and trying to be as efficient as possible with every channel and every element? They just ask their partners those questions. Can you do me an analysis? We’ve been partners for three years now. When we first partnered you did some fantastic proposal analysis-

Jim Fitzpatrick: That all fell off, right?

Jonathan Thompson: Golly. Here we go, can you do that again for me? Really, can you do it in a consistent manner, maybe every quarter, to make sure we’re following the plan? That would probably be the best thing, I would say.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So the bit of advice would be to really keep your current vendors, marketing vendors, accountable and do an audit with them if you don’t like what you’re seeing, right?

Jonathan Thompson: Hey, whether they like or dislike have them do it. I mean, you pay them great money, they’re great partners. I believe all these companies have great intentions, and they’re not trying to give their clients less, but sometimes a little push, a little ask, they’ll give it to them. I think that’s really important.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sometimes marketing companies are out there, they don’t know what they don’t know.

Jonathan Thompson: That’s correct.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So, you might have a mom and pop marketing company that’s handling your dealership group but sometimes they just don’t know. They don’t know what’s out there. They don’t know what Google’s up to, or they don’t know some of these other channels that the dealership needs to be advertising in, because they don’t have exposure to that, right?

Jonathan Thompson: That’s absolutely right. Getting them to, just push them to be the best that they can be in partnership, because they don’t have to make a change or make a switch if leads and sales aren’t where they are. Just treat them as a great partner, a great relationship. Try to drive them to the next level with you. But yeah, I would say quarterly touch base. Deep dives are very important. Force-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Force handles four of the seven publicly traded companies, which is very, very impressive, without a doubt. You must be doing something right there, so keep it up. For dealers that are out there that are listening to us have this discussion about marketing, 2020 is going to be a huge year in the car business, another huge year. However, we’re going to see a little downturn in new car sales, probably about 400,000 less vehicles will be sold, new vehicles, in 2020 then were sold in 2019, so it’s all about efficiency. It’s all about getting more than your fair share. JT at Force can help you to get that. It’s as easy, it’s a click away. Give him a call, and you’ll help these guys, right?

Jonathan Thompson: Absolutely. Jim, thank you so much and we hope that everyone had a fantastic show and drank lots of water.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. That’s exactly right. Thanks so much.

Jonathan Thompson: Thanks, Jim.

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