Today, customers line up to buy vehicles and salespeople mostly take orders. We don’t know when the supply chain issues will be resolved. We know stocks will eventually come back slowly. Will your sales teams be ready for a more competitive market? Will they have the tools to be productive and continue to generate income?
In our recent Retail Pain Points Report conducted with NADA, we found that 94% of 303 dealers surveyed want to evolve beyond traditional, outdated sales processes. Dealers recognize that to make vehicles easier to buy; they should be easier to sell. A simple and convenient process will win back customers as the flea crisis subsides.
In this blog, I’ll focus on the best tools — some must-haves and some new to the market — that sales teams need today to connect with customers and drive business forward.
DMS & CRM
I would say 100% of franchise dealerships have a DMS and CRM in place. Independents are lagging behind. These solutions are essential for sales to increase lead response times, have more personalized customer communications, and speed up the buying process. However, simply having these tools will not improve productivity and efficiency. Proper procedures for data entry and consistent use are essential. Dealership employees also grow tired of using multiple systems that don’t communicate with each other. When analyzing your sales process and considering moving to a new DMS or CRM, make seamless data transfer a priority.
Digital Retail Solution
Our Friction Point report found that 85% of dealerships surveyed have a digital retail strategy. However, only a third are using it in the showroom to provide an omnichannel shopping experience and improve sales presentations. This is a big missed opportunity. When sellers use the same in-store tools that customers use online, there’s no need to re-enter information or ask questions that have already been answered, because the data is there, right in front of them. There are platforms new to the market that are compatible with a variety of CRMs, lending solutions, and website providers. Look for them to create a seamless omnichannel experience for customers and sellers.
Shopping intelligence tools
Knowing what your customers are doing online can help your dealership sell vehicles. Trade intelligence tools allow sellers to view website browsing activity, including VDPs on third-party sites, top cars considered, and trade rating portals. This information allows sales to proactively provide relevant information that helps expedite the buying process. You want these tools integrated with your CRM so you can set trigger alerts and task assignments when browsing activities require action.
Stock extraction tools
Stock mining is the most well-known tactic for finding new opportunities with sales and service customers. But there are several ways to leverage your CRM. These tools also allow you to create targeted marketing and sales lists based on customer profiles such as those who cannot obtain financing, return appointments and unsold leads. The catch is that these tools need to be integrated with your CRM to effectively leverage your data.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an important technology that many dealerships 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 purchase a new vehicle. AI can also enable small sales teams to generate qualified leads faster by handling monotonous tasks that tend to consume a lot of resources (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 sellers in case inventory stabilizes. Investing in new tools to overcome sales pain points will increase productivity and maintain revenue despite changing market conditions.
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