Building Relationships Grows Revenues

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Lori Strew knows that staying competitive today means reaching out to customers. Strew, assistant business development manager for Johnson-Sewell Ford Lincoln Mercury, in Marble Falls, TX, spent 18 months researching how to create a state-of-the-art dealership. "We had to move into the future," she says. "We couldn't wait for people to come to our lot. The lot had to go to the people." For Johnson-Sewell that meant having a CRM system that could help track customers for life, track sales leads and opportunities, and manage marketing campaigns to attract new customers. Before CRM Johnson-Sewell had no defined way of tracking customers or staying in touch with them--and the dealership's principals were convinced that this lack of contact cost them money. Now everything is tracked: the source of every incoming sales call, sales calls converted to appointments, appointments converted to sales. Using ADP's Right Relationship 360, Johnson-Sewell officials say that 80 percent of confirmed appointments show up, and a whopping 60 percent of those people purchase a vehicle. In fact, sales increased more than 33 percent after the CRM system was installed, according to Strew. The dealership has 118 workers. Forty-five of them currently access the CRM system, which was rolled out this past June. That group of users includes sales consultants, service advisors, finance people, and sales managers. Sale managers went from tracking customers via manual logs and Rolodex cards to accessing information gathered at the 85 computers deployed throughout the dealership. And managers find the system's Daily Incentive Appointment log helpful for keeping tabs on how each sales rep is performing. Strew says that the sales agents like the system, because it protects their individual customer base. "If a customer from five years ago walks in and wants to buy a new car, we can get his info and see that in the past he dealt with salesman Joe Smith. We would then say, 'Let us get Joe Smith to help you,'" she says. The system also includes automated triggers like sending a thank-you letter the day after a car is sold; three days later sending a letter to ask if everything is OK with the new car; and letters for scheduled maintenance. It can even send birthday cards to customers. Additionally, Johnson-Sewell is using the system to manage marketing campaigns and measure the effectiveness of those campaigns. By polling incoming sales calls on how and where the callers heard about the dealership, the company is much better at budgeting where to spend its advertising dollars, according to Strew. And the company has dramatically reduced the number of returns on direct marketing pieces, because the information is more up-to-date. The dealership has also seen savings on its service end. It used to spend $3,000 every month to outsource a satisfaction survey about its service; it took a month to get the results of the survey. Using the new system the company can field service calls and have that information relayed immediately to the service department. Another area where Johnson-Sewell has experienced ROI is in online revenue. Two years ago the company didn't have an Internet presence. Now 20 percent of annual sales happen via the Web. The Payoff Using CRM Johnson-Sewell has
  • increased dealership sales 33 percent;
  • contained its advertising and marketing spending;
  • eliminated a $3,000 monthly expenditure on outsourced satisfaction surveys;
  • grown online revenues to 20 percent of annual sales.
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