Question: CRM (and its use for both marketing and sales) is only as good as how committed the entire sales and marketing teams are at entering notes, activities, conversations, inquiries ... How do you measure and hold accountable throughout the organization? What are consequences of not doing it?

Thanks for your question. You’ve hit at the crux of it with “hold accountable,” so I’ll build from there. Accountability = Clarity + Commitment + Consequences, so the formula for CRM could look something like this:

  • Clarity: Clearly connect the data being requested to the action that will be taken on/with it to generate leads, sales and customer loyalty. Use data and examples to give evidence that it will work. Now the team knows WHY and HOW.
  • Commitment: After the hard work of providing clarity, you need agreement from sales reps that they will provide the information required. So, “Yes, I understand and I will do that.” The trick is, the request needs to come from their boss, not marketing, IT, etc. The commitment cascade starts at the top (of sales, at least). Now two-way expectations are set on WHO does WHAT.
  • Consequences: Most CRM efforts never even make it to consequences, good or bad, but this is critical to locking in results and making future improvements. First, measuring results and celebrating success is paramount. Don’t assume they know that your new data-driven plan is working. Second — and back to the boss requirement — there needs to be supervisory follow-up wherever commitments are not kept. In most cases, a reminder of WHY, HOW and WHAT was agreed upon will work, but sometimes it will require a performance discussion. Positive and negative consequences provide the required SO WHAT to reinforce improvements.

Each step takes hard work, close collaboration and alignment across teams, and several iterations. We’re continually working through this process at our dealership. If you notice your CRM effort losing traction, check first to see if one or more of the “3C’s” have been missed. (P.S. It's a pretty good formula for any important change!)


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