Dealers packed together into a room for the Lead Generation vs. Lead Management roundtable at the Dealership Minds Summit 2018. The discussion was lively and wide-ranging, though the group frequently went back to the topic of customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Quint Campbell of Birkey’s Farm Store, a Case IH dealer in Illinois and Indiana and moderator of the roundtable, notes not many of the Dealership Minds Summit roundtable participants said they were using a CRM system for generating and managing leads.

“Out of our group there were maybe 10% who are actually using the CRM or putting one in place,” he says. “Most of us are still in that manual process of tracking leads.”

One dealer notes they have heard from others at the summit that “‘it’s too difficult to implement.’”.

However, many of the dealers who were successfully using CRMs spoke highly of their benefits. “It seems to me like, from everything we’ve been hearing the last couple of days, it (a CRM system) is a really good checkpoint for everything we’re doing, if we’re doing it correctly,” the dealer continues.

Many dealers noted having trouble with convincing at least some of its employees to use the CRM software. A few dealers said older employees in particular didn’t readily accept the new programs. In addressing those issues, one dealer suggests not referring to it as a CRM, and instead call it a “sales quoting tool” or something similar. Another dealer says that demonstrating how a CRM has made a difference in generating and managing leads, using specific examples, is a powerful motivator.

Some dealers say they’re sending out weekly lead reports to branch managers. “The struggle is getting that lead and that information back to the person that’s sending out the reports and what came of those sales,” Campbell says.

Some CRM software being used by dealers include Iron HQ and Oracle, and pipeline-management tools include Trello and Smartsheet.

Finally, dealers discussed best website development and maintenance practices. Several dealers noted that even if they hired a company to build a website for them, they ensured that they were able to easily manage the site.

One dealer’s suggestion for those looking to upgrade their web presence: “Find the best website you like to use and figure out who made it.”