Graveyard Image

Don’t Let Your CRM Become a Graveyard

Don’t let your CRM become a graveyard 

Consumers, rightfully, have come to understand how valuable their personal information is – and are less willing to share it without a good reason. This has made finding quality leads more difficult in the automotive marketplace, but this challenge is also an opportunity.  

It’s time to take advantage of what you already own: YOUR DATABASES. 

Your CRM and DMS hold information on consumers already known to you, and who may be familiar with your dealership. This is where much of your marketing opportunities live – if you know how to use them. 

The first step to unlocking this marketing engine is being rigorous on how new information about each customer or prospect is put into the system, and how that information is updated and maintained. Data is the fuel for this machine, and to run properly it needs high-quality input. To best use this information, you need to play the long game and not count any lead as “dead.” 

See Outsell’s article, 3 Best Practices for Turning Clean Data into Revenue, to get a head start.   

There are also three surefire ways to reengage consumers and win back defectors and unsold leads. 

Always Be Listening 

Each consumer’s journey to the sale is different, and you can’t afford to make assumptions about their timeframe; mistakes here will ultimately take your dealership out of contention for their business. By connecting with them with a timely, relevant message, your dealership can be their first – and only – stop on their way to a new vehicle.  

We’ve calculated that 46% of dealer databases are made up of prospects more than 90 days old. The average dealership we work with has about 48,000 records in its databases, which means it currently contains more than 22,000 unsold leads (about 46%!). 

However, since only a small fraction will be in-market shoppers at any given moment – about 2.4% is our estimate – finding the 500 or so shoppers ready to buy from that group of 22,000 is the true challenge. 

One of the best tools a dealership can use to determine which prospects are ready for re-engagement is buyer detection. With this technology, individualized consumer profiles are created that alert the dealership when a consumer shows signs of being back in market, and these profiles become more accurate with every interaction.  

Once your dealership can identify in-market shoppers, it’s time for contact. 

Follow Up Immediately 

Most shoppers defect from one company to another because the competitor provided a better customer experience. One of the best ways to keep a customer happy is to let them know you value their business and are ready for them as soon as they set foot back in the marketplace. The price of not being the first to show up for the customer can be costly. 

That’s a lot of turnover for leads previously considered “dead.” 

Again, buyer detection can be the difference between losing more than four-fifths of the business waiting for you inside your own databases. To build off the relationships you already have, however, don’t neglect the final step. 

Engage with Buyers Often, But on Their Terms 

To sell a vehicle, you must engage in a conversation with the consumer. And, with today’s more educated shoppers demanding more, it must be just that – a conversation, not high-pressure tactics, or simple generic sales pitches, but a conversation. 

To do this, the salesperson can use the information gathered through buyer detection, allowing them to understand that consumer’s needs, desires, and situation. 

“Relevance” is the watchword. Today’s dealerships must show they have their customer’s best interests at heart. While people are increasingly hesitant to submit information on a simple web form, a 2021 State of Consumer Data Privacy Survey by Entrust showed that 64% of consumers are at least somewhat willing to share personal information in exchange for more relevant, personalized, and/or convenient services. 

If your dealership doesn’t interact with in-market shoppers in a timely, relevant way, the consumer is still going to buy a car – they’ll just buy it from your competition. 


Finding new leads is important, to be sure. The modern dealership, however, can’t afford to lose sight of the fact that you already have thousands of customers – and potential customers – in your databases. These consumers are waiting for the right communications and individualized treatment to move them toward the next sale. 

When your dealership takes advantage of tools such as buyer detection, you can mine your data and provide services your competitors simply can’t match. Your leads convert sooner, your customer loyalty increases, and your dealership becomes their dealership.