For this installment of the CRM project report, I want to sidetrack a bit. One of the things that most confuses me about the Auto Industry, is that we seem obliged to put up with a lot of really, really crappy software. Now, I’ve found that this is often true of the enterprise as well. Big companies put up with poorly designed software with poor usability. Software that their employees and executives wouldn’t put up with as consumers. This has led to a rush of issues lately. Enterprise software is being supplanted by consumer software that simply works better. Read more
So continues the saga of how I talked my boss into building a custom CRM and put my ass on the line. In this thrilling episode, I want to go back to the beginning of process. Right to the beginning.
Well, I was born at a very early age… Oh, no. Wait. Not that far back. Read more
There are two ways to sell more cars. Frankly it isn’t that difficult an equation to master. Generate more leads, or sell a higher percentage of the leads you already have. It’s just that simple. Selling a higher percentage is the harder way to go. After all, getting more leads just requires spending more money. Throwing cash at the problem is always the easiest answer. Being more efficient, now that requires unflinching honesty on your part when you look at your sales process. Be brutal in determining where you’re going off track. One place where many, if not most dealers, stumble is on what I call, “long-tail leads.”
“The Long Tail,” is a term first coined by Chris Anderson of Wired magazine.
Anderson described the effects of the long tail on current and future business models beginning with a series of speeches in early 2004 and with the publication of a Wired magazine article in October 2004. Anderson later extended it into the book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More (2006)
Sorry for my long absence, but I’ve up to my ass in alligators these last few months. You see, back near the beginning of the year I suggested that we ditch our current CRM and create our own.
There were a few valid reasons for this —
- I wanted to own my data and be able to directly connect to my data live so I could create dashboards to check the sales activity company-wide in real-time. You can’t do this with a 3rd-party system that only allows you to export data and only in the way they want.
- Our current system was old, poorly built (from a programming standpoint) and slow. We had simply outgrown it. Maybe with four or five people on it, it would have been fine, but with 20 people trying to use the data it was grinding to a halt.
- Though it was technically a web-based CRM, our old one used an active-x control to run. So it only ran in Internet Explorer, making it a cross-platform nightmare to use. While we don’t have many Macs in our system, we are using devices like smart-phones and tablets more and more. The Windows IE approach was too limiting.
- It had become an accumulation of bad, outdated, and duplicated data. Over the years, misuse, indifference, and an inherent lack of accountability in the system had led to the “crapification” of the data. Cleaning up the old data, just to shove it back into an outmoded and outdated program didn’t make sense.
- We had looked at many, many off-the-shelf solutions. The really good ones were wickedly expensive and the really inexpensive ones weren’t really very good. I’m parsimonious by nature (doesn’t that sound better than cheap?), so the idea of “subscribing” to a CRM to me was like renting a key part of our business. I knew that for the cost of a year’s “rent” for one of the off-the-shelf systems we could build one from the ground up that matched to our workflow exactly That took advantage of our strengths, and compensated for our weaknesses.
In this insightful and eye-opening infographic, Wordstream highlights some of the reasons to believe that Google has declared war on organic click-through. As Google continues it move from “Don’t be evil!” to “Don’t be evil?” it’s becoming increasing clear to me that SEO, at lest traditional SEO that’s focused on keyword marketing and SERP is dead. Read more
Just read a great article over at Daily Blogma called, “Three Ways to Give Underperformers a Kick in the Pants.” The author identifies five main reasons for underperforming:
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of skills
- Lack of talent
- Cultural misfit
- Poor leader
He doesn’t go into much detail describing these failings (for example, how does lack of skill relate to lack of knowledge?), but I did especially like what he had to say about talent, and I thought I’d take it on myself to elaborate a bit on what he said.
In the article he defines talent as things like:
- Conceptual Thinking
- Problem Solving
- Self-starting Ability
- Work Ethic
- Likability (my addition)