Many of the conversations we get on the DealerRefresh forums are about dealership CRM choices and practices. With all the different conversations cycling around this topic, I have to assume that many dealers are changing or signing up with a new CRM company. I’m very glad to see the industry taking this extremely important technology more seriously, but I wonder if we might overlook some things during a change.
When changing CRM or ILM companies, you have to change your Internet lead address. It is a seriously major pain in the ass if you have a lot of lead providers (OEM’s, third-party, freebies, classified sites, your own site, etc.). If you’ve made a change, did you forget a lead provider? Did you remember to inform CarFax, Vast, Google Base, or one of those other sites that you don’t pay directly for leads?
I have a suggestion that will make this change only take 5 minutes and open up many more opportunities for your leads:
Make 1 email address that is [email protected] and have all your lead providers send to that address.
Do the same for your other profit centers: [email protected], [email protected], etc. Then you control where things forward to off those addresses. If you ever make another CRM or ILM change, then you’re just changing the forwarding address instead of having to contact all your lead providers.
Some other benefits of controlling your lead delivery address:
1. You can have backup systems in place
I have all of our leads sent to each member of our BDC, the ILM tool available in our website’s backend, and to our CRM. If the CRM is lagging on showing the lead, the BDC knows about it immediately. If something crashes with our CRM, we can still respond to leads through the ILM in our website’s backend. And I can quickly check to see that all leads are always coming into the CRM. After being on numerous different CRM & ILM products, I’ve learned that lead forwarding for backup purposes is absolutely crucial.
2. Lead Analytics
If you ever hire a company to grade or build reports around your leads, you can just add that company to your email distribution rules without having to have your CRM or ILM company set it all up. This is more of a convenience.
3. Reporting Systems
If you’re like me, you can’t always trust the CRM reports because your staff is working in the CRM; tainting the data. Let’s face it, you’re never going to get an entire staff of sales people to understand why they should enter data and update data appropriately in the CRM. Because there is a human “taint” to the data, I have to use an outside system to get accurate reporting on certain things. Again, this is just another way to quickly and easily control where your leads are going. Your reporting system can also work as your backup communication product. In our case, we use an ILM.
4. Never losing Leads again!
If you always use the same email address for where your leads are going, you never have to worry about whether you’re missing leads (unless the lead provider just isn’t sending – that’s a separate issue). This is especially good when you do a lot of free trials or submit your company for various endeavors.
Each CRM/ILM is a little different and none are perfect. When you control your lead routing, then you have the peace of mind to know you can catch issues quickly and not miss any business. Just remember to use your new lead routing address forever, and get it to ALL your lead sources.
<< Example of Checkered Flag’s Lead-routing setup
I know of quite a few dealerships who already practice this, but if you don’t feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.