Seven hints your Automotive CRM implementation project is headed for disaster

Seven hints your Automotive CRM implementation project is headed for disaster

Contrary to popular belief, the most common cause behind the failure of any CRM implementation project is not inadequate technology, high costs or lack of implementation skills.

In my 25+ years of experience, I've seen that the number one reason behind the failure of CRM projects is the lack of buy-in. It could be at a leadership level or at the grass-roots, it could be due to lack of awareness or concerns related to technology, but the bottom line is that it is important to have all stakeholders on the same page and in acceptance of the broader project scope.

Cornerstones of a high-impact auto CRM application

One of the unique aspects of automotive CRM is that both sales and services are critical components – and are predominant players in determining the success of a business. This amplifies the role of an auto dealership and its significance in customer retention. An automotive CRM application that does not cater to these two aspects equally is as good as redundant. Developing an efficient service CRM, and then integrating it with the sales CRM and vehicle life-cycle management modules will be a key success factor for any auto CRM implementation to bear results.

The level of integration between these distinct components will also dictate the effectiveness of future marketing efforts. Whatever your marketing strategy may be – service coupons, focus email campaigns etc. – having modules that work cohesively is bound to add to the success of your go-to-market efforts.

Tell-tale signs your auto CRM project is headed for disaster

Lack of user participation

As I outlined earlier, CRM projects often fail due to this simple reason. It is one thing to onboard a CRM application; adopting it is another thing altogether.

This may involve the following causes:

  • Lack of training on how the software can enhance their operations
  • Accessibility constraints, such as difficulties in data entry or non-responsive design
  • Disincentives and misconceptions, such as micromanagement or concerns of being replaced

Often, these issues can be traced back to the project stage, where the business users (or their teams) were not part of the application design and usability discussions.

CRM is not part of your long-term revenue strategy

Automotive CRM implementation is expected to drive "revenue maximization”. This includes after sales service, which is a big component of the industry’s revenue. It bodes well for any OEM or dealership to make CRM a key part of their revenue growth strategy. We have observed several instances where the change management communication around CRM implementation failed to inculcate the revenue angle, and this commensurately impacted CRM adoption.

Integration issues

In the world of "Just In Time" information, integrations between systems is a critical contributor to the success of any CRM implementation. This is especially true in the auto industry, which thrives on complex webs of contacts – both internal and external. The level of leadership acceptance in allowing this integration to happen will determine the success of CRM adoption as well. In my own experience, there were numerous occasions where we really had to push the leadership to move away from an "island” or siloed implementation mindset.

Lack of integration with social media

Millennial or not, today’s user experiences are centered on "new-age" communication channels, including social media. In the era of autonomous vehicles and real-time interactions, customers expect round-the-clock information, made available through these unconventional channels. This requires a CRM system to integrate seamlessly with social media applications – be it for sales or service.

Absence of self-service

Beyond the service personnel, customers too need to be able to access their past records, including service requests or feedback, on-demand. Inability to access historical data is a major deterrent to customers embracing a CRM application. Uninterrupted flow of communication – anytime, anywhere – is key. Self-service capabilities like self-booking, two-way interactions through chatbots, or relevant push notifications, are today the bare minimum that users as well as sales and service personnel expect.

Lack of analytical insights and custom reports

I have seen instances where business users had to extract data from the CRM system to manually build a more informative report for leadership or for daily consumption. This time-consuming exercise, which deprives businesses of on-time competitive intelligence, is a critical reason behind the eventual abandonment of the application.

Concerns of information privacy

We all know that cyber threats are on the rise. Naturally, companies and business users will be wary of this – especially with cloud hosting and mobility on the rise. It takes a seasoned technology partner to advise companies of cautionary measures, address their concerns with utmost transparency, and assure them of data privacy.

What has been your experience with auto CRM? Share it with me.

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Bhargavi Pagadala

Bhargavi Pagadala is a business visionary and entrepreneur. Her company BeetleRim, a technology innovator based in the US, has been successfully connecting businesses to innovative technology solutions for the last 12+ years. She’s passionate about technology, and an expert in applying them to solve business challenges. She’s always looking to expand her network of contacts, so feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.