Chapter 2


What to know and what to do to successfully set up your CRM system

Successfully moving to a new CRM system will require work from multiple team members in the dealership, so the first step is to figure out what those departments are and how they need to work together.


Your new CRM system needs to be equipped with the right information about your dealership and your customers, so take the time to prepare your data. Dealers typically have two options with how to migrate and set up their data. You can either do it in-house or work with a technology partner (like your solution provider or vendor) to do it for you. Regardless of which route you take, you’ll need to prepare your customer database.

Before migrating your data, take the time to clean up your customer lists by: 

  • Deleting duplicate customer entries
  • Deleting duplicate unit entries
  • Removing inactive customers
  • Removing inactive units
  • Correcting any formatting, spelling, or data inaccuracies 

Doing so will not only make the migration process much faster, but it will help you kick things off on the right foot with your new system. Starting fresh can pave the way for smooth and efficient operations going forward.


The next step is to train the users who will be using the new solution. If you’re doing things in-house, prepare education modules, determine who will conduct training, and how various individuals should be trained. Bear in mind that you may need to train people differently, depending on their roles. 

Another option is to work with your software vendor to train your team for you. Have the solution provider train your in-store managers, and equip them with the knowledge to educate the rest of the team (i.e., sales associates, service team, merchandise managers, etc.).


Testing the new system will provide valuable lessons about how it works, and also allow you to spot issues that need to be addressed prior to deployment. Some of the different ways to test the new system are: 


In-house testing: This involves testing the new system in your dealership (but not with actual customers). 


“Real world” testing: While transactions can be simulated in-house, it’s still best to test the system with actual customers and sales.

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