Whenever a new lead management or CRM system is put into a dealership there is always a conflict between salespeople who want the process to be fast, and marketing/managers/CRM people who want as much data captured as possible.
From a salespersons perspective, they need a process that that fits around their existing workflow. No salesperson wants to have to interrupt their flow by capturing extensive details from the customer. Marketing/crm staff come from the other extreme. It’s their job to ensure the database is complete as possible and it’s something that is often a key part of their responsibilities. From a marketing perspective, it’s nirvana to have every possible customer contact point (phone, mobile, email and address) as they each provide a different opportunity for marketing communication.
As with most things a balance needs to be struck between the bare minimum and overzealous collection of customer info. The issue with not collecting enough customer info is obvious - can a “lead” really be called a “lead” if there not enough info to follow up? If only a phone number is captured, then you lose the opportunity to follow up via eDM’s. Additionally, many people change phone numbers or email addresses from time to time. With multiple points of contact you have less chance of not being able to reach the customer in the future. In addition, the fewer contact details you have for a customer the harder it is to match with your existing database – causing situations where there are multiple customers called “Bob”, each with a different phone number or email address.
Conversely if selling starts to become more about capturing data, and the customer experience starts to suffer then the balance is clearly wrong. There is a school of thought that capturing adequate data is such an essential piece of the pie, that salespeople should be forced to capture certain fields when dealing with a new lead/sales opportunity.
The problem with this approach is that no matter how good your system, there is always a way around it. For every salesperson that sees the benefit of asking a customer for an email address there are two that will just enter their own or a fictitious email to get around the requirement. From a technology perspective, it’s very difficult to control a user who is determined to get around the rules, without resorting to draconian policies (that inevitably result in barriers for the salesperson to do their job well).
At AutoPlay, we have a flexible system that enables each of our customers to customise exactly what fields they want as mandatory when capturing leads. However, we believe best practise is to capture the following;
· A name – without this how will you address your customer. At AutoPlay, we recommend at least the first name but last name and company are also very helpful
· One of Phone, Mobile or Email – From our experience we don’t find value in forcing users to capture all of the customers contact detail at the initial point of contact. It’s obvious you need one method of contact, and good salespeople will get all 3, however a customer not having an email address they want to share should not prevent the user from loading a lead.
And that’s it. We don’t make address details or marketing questions like where they came from compulsory as it’s not always appropriate. Additionally, forcing salespeople or customers to answer marketing questions can actually backfire and lead to false results as many users will just choose the first option available. (Note – collecting this information is still vitally important but you need to sell it from management down to salespeople, and allow salespeople the freedom to enter it when it is appropriate to the customer experience).
The beauty of digital lead management and CRM is that it’s incredibly easy to identify who among your team is not putting the effort into capturing customer info, and the types of customer info that is not being captured. At AutoPlay, we have an out of the box report we call the Data Quality Report which does exactly this – providing managers with a detailed breakdown of how each salesperson is capturing customer info and providing opportunities for further coaching by managers.
If you would like to customise your mandatory fields when loading new leads please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
AutoPlay Sales Pipeline is a pre-sales lead management tool designed for dealerships, dealer groups and automakers