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Customer Relationship Management is King

 

ADP Lightspeed’s new customer relationship module for its DMS offers a whole new level of opportunity to connect with customers and prospects.

 

Kevin Albertson, ADP's vice president of sales, and Kris Denos, director of research and development, are pictured in the company's offices in Salt Lake City. ADP is now actively promoting its new customer relationship management (CRM) software module, which gives dealers a host of new options for leads tracking and customer follow up.

Any RV dealership worth its salt today believes in offering good customer service. But translating that sentiment into reality requires more than having a written mission statement that emphasizes good service and a can-do attitude. That’s where ADP Lightspeed’s new customer relationship management (CRM) software module comes into play.

The software module – when combined with ADP Lightspeed’s dealer management system –offers a wide range of customer management relationship services not previously available to dealers, according to Kevin Albertson, vice president of sales for Salt Lake City-based ADP. “One of the things that we’ve known is that in this market there is such a need for customer follow-up and for being able to have a closer and better grip on customers,” he says. “That’s exactly what this new product does.”

The new module is particularly useful when it comes to leads tracking, says Jim Vaughn, a vice president for Tampa, Fla.-based V-SEPT, which developed much of the technology for ADP’s CRM module. For example, the CRM module integrates with a dealership’s website, allowing leads from the Internet to be automatically downloaded into the CRM system.

“So as (a customer) goes through a dealership’s website and requests more information the CRM tool automatically pulls all leads off of the dealership website and uploads them to the salesperson designated as handling website leads,” says Vaughn. “This is a proficiency and timesaver for the dealership because all of their Internet leads are coming into their CRM tool automatically; you don’t have to re-key that information in … whether it’s from their website or RV Trader or something like that.”

What’s more, the software module provides a new level of tracking in terms of customer e-mails. Vaughn notes that with a traditional CRM system, a dealership might be able to track e-mails that a salesperson sends out to a prospect, but that it has no way of tracking e-mail replies from customers if they take place outside of a company-sponsored Outlook system, such as a salesperson’s personal Yahoo! account.

“One thing ADP’s CRM system does that no other system does is, as an e-mail is sent out, when the customer responds back, an alert is sent to the salesperson, via the CRM, that the person has responded back,” he says. Thus, the system helps ensure that e-mailed leads don’t get lost.

 

ADP's CRM system integrates with the company's dealership management system (pictured here), which has other DMS modules, such as accounting, parts, service and rentals.CRM System is Fully Loaded

Vaughn says ADP’s CRM system does everything a dealership would expect it to and then some. For example, the system is specifically designed to help salespeople follow up with prospects prior to a sale and keeps the lines of communication open once a deal is completed.

“The software shows all of the salesperson’s active deals he is currently working on and it shows follow ups that he needs to work on,” he notes. “With the system, a salesperson can follow up with a phone call, an e-mail or a face-to-face appointment.”

ADP's CRM module allows dealer to check the inventory on their lot, to look up unit specs and to print out brochures on given units.Vaughn adds, “The other really huge feature of our CRM package is the ability to send out cards, letters, postcards, electronic newsletters and electronic surveys. … So, as soon as a salesperson logs a customer it automatically generates a ‘thank you for considering us’ letter. This letter can be e-mailed or it can be printed, signed by the salesperson and sent out to the customer.

“And as soon as the deal closes, it automatically generates a ‘thank you for your purchase’ letter. Once again, that can be e-mailed out or printed and sent out.” That kind of attention to detail can only help dealerships when customers receive their survey from the RV manufacturer asking about their experience at the dealership, according to Vaughn.

“Then there’s a series of other letters it (the CRM system) generates as well, based upon activity. Like the ‘have a happy birthday’ letter. And once anybody has any service done at the dealership it will automatically send a completed service survey. That can be sent out as an electronic survey, an e-mail or a printed letter signed by the service manager,” he says.

And because the CRM module is tied in with the DMS system, it can be programmed to send out service reminders and extended warranty reminders, as well as custom-made reminders based upon the individual customer’s sales and service activity.

“So I can go in and do dealer mailing lists,” Vaughn says. “For example, I can say I want to send a letter to every customer that bought a 2007 Winnebago because there is a manufacturer recall on a catalytic converter. It gives me a list of anyone who has bought or even looked at a Winnebago, from a certain time range.”

 

Eric Johnson, director of software applications development, displays ADP Lightspeed's customer relationship management software on his computer. One of the main selling points of the new CRM module is that it is website based, so dealership employees can access functions on their laptops, PDAs or cell phones equipped with Internet access.A Useful Tool for Managers

The new CRM module is also designed with sales managers and general managers in mind. It allows them to easily track what their salespeople are doing – things like what activities they have scheduled for the day, any past-due activities, how many follow-up calls or e-mails have been sent out, what notes have been typed up in the system for a particular salesperson, information about the types of products the customer was interested in and of course how many deals a salesperson has closed in a set period, like a week or a month.

“So not only will it make a salesperson more productive and customer satisfaction increase and individual sales performance go up,” Vaughn says, “but a manager’s productivity will go way, way up, because now, with just a couple of mouse clicks, (he) can see exactly what each individual salesperson’s close ratios are, what their write-up ratios are; how many customers they’ve talked to on a daily basis on the phone, with e-mail or through walk-in customers.”

The tool that lets managers track if salespeople are following up with customers once the sale is completed is one that Vaughn says he believes dealership will especially appreciate. “Go into any dealership today and ask them this question: ‘Do you know if this is happening?’ (follow-up stuff) and the answer is going to be, 90 percent of time, ‘I have no idea,’” he says. “If they do do it, somebody is doing a lot of paperwork and it’s probably two people doing nothing but paperwork and reports to get that kind of information.”

Additionally, the system can even track door-swing traffic at the dealership and it has an interface with the National Weather Service, so it’s possible for the manager to find out what the weather patterns are at the dealership even if he or she is not on site.

Another useful function of the CRM system for a dealership is that it lets the business track its inventory in detail. “I can also see what products are the hot products on my lot – both for customers buying and customers just looking,” Vaughn says. “So when I start to look at buying used products I can look at previous months and what customers are interested in buying and what I don’t have.”

Vaughn says the CRM module also can greatly assist a dealership with its marketing operations. “(As a dealer) I can see what advertising campaigns are working and which ones are not working. If I’m spending $250,000 on advertising – most dealers have no idea what brought customers into the dealership. What our system will do is track–on an individual basis, out of all of the advertising campaigns going on-what’s bringing customers into the dealership? This will tell me how best to spend my advertising dollar.

“The other thing we can do under marketing is give you a lead map showing where your customers are coming from geographically,” he adds. “So when I do a mass mailer or if I do a newspaper ad or a radio ad or a regional TV ad, this is going to map out, real-time, where my customers are coming from on a geographical map.”

The CRM module has applications for the F&I department as well. “This system generates sales follow-up reports: It shows which customers bought GAP insurance, pre-paid maintenance, service protection, etc. It gives (dealers) a list of which ones didn’t buy (those services), so they can follow up with them to see if they are interested in buying,” Vaughn says. “So it gives more opportunities for back-end sales.”

Vaughn says the CRM system, working with the DMS software, also has the capability to greatly strengthen a dealership’s interdepartmental communications because messages sent through the CRM system can be more readily tracked than through other means, like a phone call or a sticky note. “It creates a paper trail that creates some accountability so customers don’t fall through the cracks,” Vaughn notes.

 

Product Manager Chris Hauck diagrams on a window how the dealership process works and how ADP's new softwar program helps dealers, as Marketing Manager adam Schiflett points for emphasis. ADP officials say the CRM module helps employees become more effective and helps sales managers and general managers better manage their employees.CRM Accessible Anytime, Anywhere

One of the main selling points of the new CRM module is that it’s as mobile as the dealership’s salespeople and managers need it to be.

“Not only does it work inside the ADP Lightspeed dealer management system, but it’s website-based. What does that mean for the dealer? It means that I can use any desktop, laptop, PDA, Smartphone, iPhone or anything else with Internet access, and I can log in and manage my customers,” Vaughn says. “The great thing about that is that it allows the RV salesperson mobility. As I’m (a salesperson) walking around the RV lot and I’m 100 yards from the dealership store I can whip out my Internet-enabled cell phone and I can look up specs, I can capture customer information and I can check my inventory.

“For example, I can type in ‘2008 Winnebago’ and it will give me a list of all the 2008 Winnebagos. It will show me their specs, show me their features. I can print the sales brochure for my customer for any one of these Winnebago RVs. I can check to see how many I have in inventory.

“And, let’s say a customer is at my dealership looking at Winnebagos and he’s also going on the road to look at some other product I don’t carry. I can do a side-by-side comparison between the Winnebago 22B and any other product that’s on the market today by clicking on the vehicle identificator and showing me the specifications for that (unit) with any other (unit) I have. It tells me how many I have in inventory because of the integration with the dealer management system,” he says.

The system has obvious benefits for managers as well. “I can also log in, as a manager, and manage my sales team (remotely),” Vaughn says. “I can see what activity they’ve done for the day, what leads they’ve logged and followed up with, on a daily basis.”

 

Dealer Feedback is Encouraging

ADP Lightspeed began retailing the new CRM module in late August. A number of dealerships that use ADP’s DMS system told RV PRO that the new module sounds promising.

Rick Worth, parts and service manager for All American RV in Farmingdale, N.J., says the dealership hasn’t had a chance to preview the CRM module yet, but that he’s looking forward to trying it. Worth praises ADP software as being user friendly and says the level of dealer support is second-to-none. He notes that his dealership was able to do away with three separate software programs when it adopted ADP’s dealer management system about two years ago.

Chris Campbell, an owner of Wasatch Trailers in Layton, Utah, also is complimentary of ADP Lighstspeed’s dealer management system, which she says is very user friendly and which fully integrates the dealership’s various business operations. She says that Wasatch Trailers, which has been using ADP’s services since 2004, would be interested in hearing more about the CRM module.

Albertson, ADP Lightspeed’s vice president of sales, says the new CRM component complements the company’s existing DMS modules, which include accounting, parts, service and rentals. “This is really the thing that adds the final element of a complete package,” he says.

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