Aww those glorious 3 little letters we all love: no, not IOU but CRM! We all know we have to have a CRM to succeed in this competitive world and stay on top of our customer base, but I am constantly brought back to the basics of simply what is CRM? Do we really know what it is and why it is so important?

I know we all have been that person in the room that is nodding in agreement like a complete imbecile, only hoping no one calls their bluff that they have no idea 1. The topic of conversation or 2. Any clue of what the words mean coming out of the mouth of the person speaking. We simply hope and pray the conversation doesn’t turn to us for some intelligent input or definition. Whether we haven’t brushed up on our celebrity gossip, cared to remotely pay any attention those speaking, or simply thought we always knew about said topic but SURPRISE we don’t know, I am assuming we have all been in this situation at some point.

Let’s start at the beginning. As I don’t want anyone nodding along saying “Yeah, Brooke. Sure, Gotcha,” but be that person we have all been, let’s start with what is CRM. CRM is short for Customer Relationship Management. You may hear some people call it “Customer Retention Management,” but its actual acronym is “Customer Relationship Management.”

Many industries have and need CRM’s, not only the auto industry. Now the auto industry has dominated and, for lack of better words, hoarded the CRM technology to itself for some years. In the last couple of years, the other companies have seen the light and jumped on board.

I am sure we all can list about 10 reasons off the of our heads why and how our CRM has helped us close a deal, make an extra deal, or in some way has helped us. For those that are new to CRM, let’s examine a few numbers.

Gartner predicts CRM to be a $37 Billion (yes that is Billion with a B) industry by 2017. In case you are counting your pennies in your piggy bank, yes that is VERY lucrative business! One of the biggest proponents of a CRM is staying in touch and retaining your customers. As there is no hard and fast number on this, the general averages for returning customers vs new customers is that it costs between 4-10x more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Some may even tell you this number will range from 3-30x. Gartner says that 65% of your business is coming from your existing customers (business).

To take this one step further, let’s look at the technology aspect of your CRM. The 2013 US Census showed 84% of US households owned a computer, and 73% of US households have broadband internet. Car Buyer Journey study commissioned by Autotrader and conducted by IHS Automotive showed that 60% of the car buying experience (5 hours and 12 minute) is spent “shopping” the car online and at third-party sites. 88% of shoppers used the Internet for shopping. 78% used third-party sites during the car buying process. Consumers that researched or shopped on the Internet use Autotrader or Kelley Blue Book 73% of the time. Jared Rowe, President of Cox Automotive Media said “Dealers have less than 30% chance of changing a purchase decision once a customer is on the lot.” Driving this home a little more, 71% purchased the initial vehicle upon dealership arrival.

HOPEFULLY, I have driven home how vital it is to retain your customers; how essential your internet presence is; and how necessary it is your CRM interacts seamlessly with your different sites.

There are endless aspects to CRM and CRM usage, which we we tackle one by one, blog by blog. Until next time!


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