Questions to Ask Yourself. Steps to Take.
If you’re like most dealers polled, you’re familiar with CDPs (82%), see their benefits (95%), and plan to buy one (82%). That’s according to a recent study by The Harris Poll2, commissioned by Urban Science. The investment costs, however, can be significant. The good news is you can get to the CDP future by taking wins along the way with CDP-aligned partners. Begin with a careful assessment of where your dealership currently stands in regard to your customer data, then plan accordingly.
Here are some questions to ask yourself (and your CRM/CDP-aligned partner), and steps to take, to begin the process of planning and executing a successful CDP vision and strategy that drives higher customer LTV and incremental sales.
When asking dealers about CDPs:
- 82% are familiar with CDPs
- 95% see their benefits
- 82% plan to buy one
- What actions have you or your CRM partner taken to lock down your data? It’s critical that – at a minimum – you control who has access to your data and know how they’re accessing, using and safeguarding it. There are updated requirements to the FTC’s Safeguards Rule as it applies to auto dealerships, and the deadline for complying is now June 9, 20233. You wouldn’t leave your dealership unlocked. Be sure to do what’s necessary to lock down your data.
- What standards and processes do you have in place to ensure people and partners you’ve tasked with enriching your data are capturing all the ups and adding all your customer information? How are they using your company hardware and software to communicate with customers? One way to accomplish all of that is to look for vendors aligned with your CDP vision. Make sure you’re working with companies whose history, culture and experience elicit confidence. Look for vendors who leverage technology to its full advantage and use science as their guide. Cross any company off your list that is not willing to work with you to invent your specific future in line with your goals (and budget).
- What are you doing to integrate and clean up your first-party data? Do you have a system to cleanse, standardize and validate it? Integrating your varied data sets (CRM, DMS and Service data) is a good first step toward getting to where you really want to go: that is, through a CDP that also links in-site, digital retailing and other data sets that require identity resolution. Make sure you choose partners/vendors who can explain what they’re doing to implement and use safe, secure, privacy-compliant methods and techniques for data integration on the journey to your CDP future.
- Are you working with a partner who can provide daily sales and defection data? Data is only as good as it is timely. Any salesperson who reaches out to a “hot” lead only to discover they’ve already purchased elsewhere can tell you that. Integrating daily sales and defection data directly into your CRM (and future CDP) means that it can become an integral part of your daily dealership operations.
- What’s happening to your defected leads? Too often, salespeople abandon those leads when the reality is what’s “cold” on the sales side could be “hot” in your service operations. Do you have the ability to train your salespeople on known lost opportunities and how to ensure they experience fewer of them? If not, look for a partner who can better empower your salespeople to pivot communications to truly relevant customer messaging, thereby creating a culture that nurtures relationships and encourages future business. Overall, choose a partner who can better empower your salespeople to learn from both their wins and losses, and confidently close more deals.
One final thing to keep in mind as you move forward: be sure to do your homework on the data sources you’re considering adding to your consumer database. It’s imperative you choose high-quality data from companies with proven data management and secure data-access experience, since it’s very difficult to remove bad data or overcome a security breach.
Going from where you may be now to the future you want to experience will take time. But asking the right questions, being honest with yourself about where the answers lead, and taking even small steps right now, is a good way to start.