Posted By Matt Gruhn,
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
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In a recent article for The Membership Management Report, MRAA President Matt Gruhn wrote about the association’s role in growing the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, which is co-produced by MRAA and Boating Industry magazine. Here is an expert from the article Matt was featured in:
Increase Attendance at Annual Meetings
“The Marine Retailers Association of America’s annual convention has grown by 1,100 percent over the last decade. Here’s how:
- “Authenticity. We exist to help our members find success and grow. We live and breathe that directive every day, so it’s very natural to extend the authenticity of that mission to our conference.
- “Curiosity. We could never fully understand the intricacies of our members’ businesses like they do. We need to remain curious about our members’ needs, so we ask them several times what they want to learn at our conference: in pre-event surveys, in personal conversations, in our committee meetings, in session evaluations, following a keynote, and in post- event surveys. And then we deliver exactly what they ask for.
- “Focus. We stay very focused on why this event exists: to educate our dealers. Association conferences tempt us with distractions to take us off of our mission, but we remain diligent about delivering a first-class educational experience. If we succeed in this effort, every other interested party succeeds as well.
- “Humility. We have a deep understanding that our formula is effective because our members gave us the opportunity to make it work. We owe our success to them for giving us the opportunity, for believing and trusting in us and for encouraging us to keep pushing forward. So, we shower them with gratitude in the form of complimentary tools and resources, in addition to personal outreach, handwritten cards and, sometimes, little thank-you gifts.”
— Matt Gruhn, President, Marine Retailers Association
Attached is the entire Membership Management Report.
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Membership Management Report
Posted By Liz Walz,
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
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Whether you believe in coincidence or not, you’ve probably had an experience like this. A topic comes up. Maybe it’s in conversation, a video or a podcast. You might read it in a book or on a website. And then it comes up again and again and again in the following days and weeks.
In my case, that topic is CRM: Customer Relationship Management. Wikipedia defines it as: “An approach to managing a company's interaction with current and potential future customers that tries to analyze data about customers' history with a company and to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth.”
If you attended the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo in December, you may have heard Sam Dantzler talk about the relationship between CRM and Business Development Centers or BDCs. He believes that BDCs are unnecessary if your team is highly disciplined in its use of CRM technology. That means entering every person who walks in your door, calls your team or shoots you an email into the CRM – and then following up with them to gain the 20 touches it typically requires to convert a prospect to a customer. That kind of discipline is pretty rare, which is why he says most dealerships can benefit from a BDC.
Sam and his team at Garage Composites spoke about CRM in more depth during a powersports customer event in January. But they didn’t just emphasize putting 100% of prospects and customers into it – including the UPS delivery person. They also said failing to do so should be a serious violation of company policy, one with consequences.
CRM was a popular topic in MDCE’s Marketing Track as well. Today’s technology allows us to be highly targeted in our marketing, which tends to be more effective than messaging designed for the masses. Who doesn’t prefer to receive marketing messages that apply directly to our individual interests and preferences? But if you don’t have much prospect and customer data in your CRM, it’s nearly impossible to pull off targeted marketing campaigns.
CRM, CRM, CRM. I can’t escape. In my inbox, in my conversations with my team and with MDCE speakers. Everywhere. I started looking in the mirror. How disciplined have I been in using the MRAA CRM? The answer wasn’t pretty. So, I’m opening up a conversation with the rest of my team about how we all can improve our use of it. Here are the questions we’re asking ourselves – and you may want to ask yourselves too:
- How does our CRM work? I thought I knew the answer, but it turns out there are several new features that make it much better than it used to be, which will help me use it more. If you haven’t checked in a while, make sure you do.
- When should I use it? If you believe Sam, the answer is all the time. Not just the sales department, but the service department too. And the marina and boat rental, if you have it. Maybe instead the question should be: When shouldn’t I use it?
- How do I get my team to use it consistently? If you believe it’s important – and I haven’t found a dealer or expert yet who doesn’t – you have to hold yourself and your employees accountable for using it. That means finding ways to incorporate it into your processes, tracking adherence to those processes, praising those who use it, and introducing coaching and eventually consequences for those who don’t.
- What information do I include in the CRM? Many dealers focus their CRM notes on products the prospect is interested in or the boat they own right now. However, dealers have the opportunity to strengthen their relationship with the customer by including personal information. How many kids or pets do they have, and what are their names? What do they do for work? What are their hobbies and passions? Use this type of information to transform your follow-up calls in the best possible way.
- How should I use data from my CRM? The short answer is sales, marketing and coaching. If you’re serious about improving and growing your people and your business, I can’t think of a more powerful tool.