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7 Steps for Finding the Right CRM for You

man considering three paths
Article Highlights:

  • Define your vision, needs, and wants from a CRM.
  • Identify key questions to ask providers during demos.

Are you thinking about changing your dealership’s CRM solution? Does the thought of evaluating current processes and new systems overwhelm you?

A CRM system is technology your dealership needs to function. It must fit your business and your employees’ needs. Finding the right one can be challenging. You want it to:

  • Work effectively in your dealership.
  • Make processes easier and more efficient.
  • Be liked and used by your employees.
  • Help drive results.

Traditional CRMs aren’t cutting it anymore. You need more out of your CRM to make the biggest impact.

Follow these steps to help identify the best CRM solution for your dealership.

1. Define Your Vision for a CRM

The first step in finding a new CRM solution is to decide why you need a new one. What do you want your new solution to do that your current one doesn’t? If you had a blank slate, how would your CRM tool function?  What would it do?

Your vision for the new CRM will guide the entire shopping process. Analyze your dealership’s needs at the store level and the department level to fully comprehend everything your new solution needs to do to help you succeed.

2. Identify Your Current CRM Weaknesses

Clearly define existing problems you are trying to solve or shortcomings you are trying to overcome. Ask the following questions:

  • How effectively are leads managed?
  • What reporting capabilities do you have and what’s missing?
  • How does the system prioritize customers, daily tasks, and follow-up items?
  • How quickly does the system update?
  • Is client information easy to access?
  • When information is updated, is it live and available in all departments?

To fully understand your tool’s weaknesses, perform a mystery shop of your own store to identify any problems you want to fix, processes you want to improve, or workflows you want to change.

3. Determine User Needs and Wants

Interview your employees who use your CRM to better understand their needs and wants. What do they not like about your current tool? What do they need? Some criteria you should keep in mind are:

  • Unique setups for each employee type.
  • Personal training and coaching for each user’s unique needs.
  • Mobile access to full inventory, pre-determined test drive routes, and system alerts.
  • Automatic prioritization of daily tasks and prospects based on a customer’s likelihood to buy.

List out the criteria that comes up in each interview. Bring this list with you when viewing CRM solutions to mark if each option fulfills the needs and wants.

4. Research and Develop a Vendor List

Once your dealership’s needs and wants are established, you can start researching solution options and developing a vendor list. Ask your 20-group members what they use. Reach out to other reputable dealers and ask for their recommendations. Visit various vendor websites, industry blogs, and forums.

5. Watch Solution Demonstrations

Review the solution in a comfortable and controlled setting without distractions. This decision impacts your dealership and your employees – it’s worth your total and complete focus. Bring your listed needs and wants from step three to evaluate if and how the technology meets them. Place check marks by the needs and wants that are met and add notes to reference later.  After a couple demonstrations, they can start to run together.

6. Review and Compare Each Option

Once you have your top CRM choices narrowed down to a select few, look back at your dealership’s initial goals, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Will each option help your dealership meet those goals? If so, how effectively?
  • Which option best matches your employees’ needs?
  • Better yet, which option best matches their ideal wants too?
  • What will be your return on investment?
  • What expenses will go away?
  • How will the investment impact your staff?

Additionally, ask each vendor you’re considering how they define success for their customers and see if it matches your definition of success.

7. Select Your Solution

Once you’re finished reviewing your top CRM choices, decide the best tool for your dealership. Work with the vendor on the best implementation plan for your business. Set the tone for your team. Inform everyone that the new solution will bring the top three qualities you deemed most important when going through this process. It’s vital for your team to embrace the new solution so your business can exceed its goals.

For more help in finding the right CRM solution for your dealership, download this step-by-step guide.

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Director, Product Planning, CRM and Variable Ops, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ed Pontis was Director of Product Planning at Reynolds and Reynolds for CRM and variable operations solutions including FOCUS, docuPAD®, Desking and more. Ed was previously a director in a large international consulting firm, bringing in leading practices from these segments to Reynolds.

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