Customers work with you, the dealer, for one reason: they own equipment. (And let’s not forget, it’s also because you’re great people!)
Numerous people in the industry have pointed out the value of customer equipment information. Most frequently, and in the topic of my presentations, the customer equipment information provides a clear indication of future sales opportunities. Our industry is focused on equipment with a predictable life cycle. If you’re a dealer representing any OEM, you should be using this information by now, to drive potential sales opportunities and providing your sales reps with new leads. Furthermore, by analyzing and predicting the replacement time of a machine, it’s the easiest way to make sure low volume customer aren’t lost to competitors. Think about the customer with only a few machines, who doesn’t engage with the dealership frequently. These types of customers are often lost because they didn’t connect on time. However, if they had used a CRM system to notify the sales rep to reach out at the right time, we could have prevented this loss. How do you get this information? Either through the sales team or by digitally engaging with the customer.
Equipment information is just as valuable in aftersales at the dealership. We all know having this information makes parts and service support easier. For example, customers call with unit numbers because they don’t use serial numbers to reference their equipment. With a CRM, your team can quickly find the serial number of the customer’s unit from the database.
From a marketing perspective, equipment data can help you measure the potential size of the aftersales market. If you’re selling maintenance contracts, you already know how many dollars per hour of parts and labor each machine should produce. With a complete fleet list, you can estimate total potential revenue and market share. Now, you have a sales lead for your aftersales PSSR reps.
In the Digital Dealership, aftersales should also be utilizing equipment data. By integrating the equipment data with your Digital Dealership, you can present equipment information in the online parts store, but more importantly, all over your Digital Dealership. You can promote Parts Kits, PM kits or Maintenance programs to the customer when they visit. As a comparison, the digital world’s success started when websites stopped being static and started to tune the content to each visitor. It’s no different with your Facebook, Amazon and countless other social sites. These businesses present you relevant information based on what they know about you.
To make this all work, it is as simple now as it was 20 years ago. To build an information driven dealership, your systems need to be up to the task. An ERP, DMS or CRM that can store customer fleet data is critical and should be a key item to consider when switching to a new Dealer Management System. If your current system can’t handle customer fleet data, and you’re not switching, get an integrated CRM. Next, make sure you have your sales and aftersales teams think about collecting this data. If it becomes a normal part of your conversations throughout the dealership, and a focus of your customer service, gathering the data gets easy.
Finally, invest in a partner or team member who’s full or part time job it is to analyze the data and implement programs using the data, with the business unit owners. Your sales manager or product support manager needs support. Most of the dealers I know have limited resources in house, so it might mean a new person or finding a vendor to help you.
One thing is for sure, and you see it all around you, the most successful businesses today, have a strong digital presence and use the information they have to their advantage and their customer’s benefit.