Skip to main content

CRM Is Not Just for the Big Guys

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) in many dealerships is a desirable objective, but it’s often a hard reality. I find many dealers think CRM is something for big corporations that can spend big bucks on it. But good CRM is adaptable to small businesses willing to make the effort.

CRM today is just a broad business term for programs used to manage relationships with customers. While CRM often refers to computerized programs for contact management, etc., I’m referring to all aspects of connecting a dealership with its customer, whether sales or service related. Interestingly, just as the computers have changed the buying behavior of customers, they have also changed CRM approaches and made them easier than ever. Logically, more CRM is being conducted today via the Internet than by old fashioned direct mail. 

Some confuse CRM with Customer Service. They’re not the same. Customer Service is action taken to meet the customer’s expectations. CRM is intended to maintain a connection. It can, and should, be done by all dealers and the easy and least costly way to do it is via e-mail. That’s what the big boys are doing.

For example, Procter & Gamble regularly sends its customers an e-newsletter called “Home Made Simple.” First, what a great title! It implies what every homemaker wants -- keep it easy. Second, the e-newsletter contains helpful tips to make things easier for the homemaker, using P & G products, of course. This concept can easily be adapted by a boat dealership -- “Boating at Its Best” or “More Boating Fun for You!”

Another example comes from Unilever with its newsletter “Dove Dimensions.” More than just soap, Dove now includes a full line of personal care products so there are lots of tips and ideas that can be included in the newsletter to help customers get more out of their Dove products.

Four points: (1) Because spam is out-of-control on the net, you must have your customers sign up for your e-newsletter. If they understand it will help them enjoy their boat more, they’ll happily sign up. (2) The content needs to be enlightening, it’s not a sales piece. Articles that make maintenance simple, talk about interesting places to go, list upcoming customer-only events, and present ideas to improve every day’s outing are what will keep the relationship you want. (3) All departments -- sales, service, parts, store, marina -- should contribute ideas to the content. (4) Personalize your online newsletter (a process referred to as mass customization.)

After all, you’re communicating with people you know and with whom you want an ongoing relationship. It is personal.

Related

1_WHALESACTION

NMMA: Proposed Speed Rule an ‘Existential Threat’ to Industry

The association is calling on every marine brand, employee and boat owner to file public comment by Oct. 31 over a sweeping regulation to protect North Atlantic right whales.

1_AXOPAR

Axopar and Nimbus Renew Agreement

The boatbuilders have entered an agreement whereby Nimbus Group will retain exclusive rights to sell Axopar boats on the Swedish market.

1_IAN

Hurricane Ian Leaves Devastation in Florida

The storm left a wide swath of destruction, heavily impacting marine interests from Tampa Bay to Marco Island.

Norm

Email Is Your Ticket to Holiday Sales

Developing an effective email campaign can bolster sales and help fill winter coffers at your dealership.

1_NMRA

NMRA Presents Annual Awards

Edson CEO Will Keene and ComMar Sales president Tim Conroy were recognized for their contributions to the marine industry.

1_ PULSE.PING.2

DEALERS: Are Interest Rates Impacting Demand?

This month’s Pulse Report survey asks dealers whether interest rate increases are causing a downturn in boat sales. Take the survey here.

1_EPROPULSION

EPropulsion, Mack Boring Partner with Crest

Pontoon builder Crest will use an ePropulsion Navy 3.0 Evo electric outboard motor and an E175 battery for its 2023 Current model.

1_BENETEAU

Beneteau Reports Significant H122 Growth

The company reported that its revenue grew 8.6 percent and income increased by 30 percent during the first half of 2022.