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Can’t. Remain. Mediocre

By Nate Stickney

1-15 Nate Stickney blogI don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but after going through the process of kick-starting new dealership again, the old CRM saga continues. When recruiting a new sales team you're often stuck with two choices: 1) Hire the guy that’s worked for every competitor within 150 miles or 2) Hire the green pea with what I call “The Little Engine That Could” mentality (“I think I can, I think I can.”)

With either choice, logging customers can become a constant battle. Typically you’ll hear two complaints: “The system is bogging me down, when we should be out selling!” or “I was too busy!” Then you set daily benchmarks (five mandatory logs per day, etc.) but after a while you seem to find your salespeople cutting corners, cheating the system or not logging at all.

So, how do we as managers hold our salespeople accountable for their daily, weekly and monthly customer logs?

In today's powersports dealership, 80 percent of the leads dealerships receive come through the phone and Internet. That means that 80 percent of our business is dependent on the salesperson's ability to set appointments and drive people into the showroom. It is absolutely imperative that you get buy-in from your sales team on logging everyone that calls, emails or walks in that front door. Otherwise you can’t measure what’s going on.

Simplifying your system is a great start. Some of these CRM platforms can be very discombobulated, so start with the basics. First, utilize whatever free training the company offers and make it mandatory to attend three sessions within the first 90 days of employment. It’s impossible to retain everything in one training session, and there’s always a potential to pick up bad habits from other staff over time. Multiple sessions won’t hurt anything, and you’ll find that your salespeople will begin to teach you a thing or two about the system's full capabilities.

Second, build value daily in the system with your managers and sales team. For example, “Logging your customers enables you as salespeople to work more efficiently, be better organized, manage your time and MAKE YOU MORE MONEY!” This mantra must be expressed every single day. If they don’t get it, this isn't the right job for them.

Most sales managers have been trained over the years to hold a morning huddle in order to motivate the team, squash any interdepartmental issues and set up the day.  These meetings are a great time to print off each salesperson's log report from the previous day to show what was done and what had not been done. Low call volume and a lack of emails sent and customers greeted can be revealed and discussed to further enhance productivity that day. After a few weeks of these huddles you’ll see major improvement in their logging and begin to see an increase in their sales. It is crucial for salespeople to establish a set of daily, weekly and monthly benchmarks that help them measure and reach their sales goals. If one guy stands out frequently as a renegade logger, make an example out of him and send him home.

At the end of the day having managers and a sales team that’s bought into using the CRM will get you more sales and the ability to retain more customers.

Nate Stickney is an industry veteran and managing partner with the Sky Powersports Group based in Orlando, Florida. He’s well known within the industry as an innovative operator and expert team builder. Nate has a unique vision on how dealerships should be managed, motivated and maintained. He’s spent the last 16 years in American and metric dealerships working hands-on in all departments from sales, F&I, parts, service and marketing.

Follow him on twitter @NateStickney.

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