Franchisors need to use technology not only to drive leads for prospective franchise candidates, but also to ensure that they are spending franchise recruitment dollars in the most efficient way possible, suggests Lincoln Marks. Online franchise lead portals are one of the most effective methods for securing new candidates. Besides their obvious wide reach, they can provide invaluable statistical feedback.
1. When online lead portals to drive leads to your sales management system, what happens next? Your system should segment the leads by a number of qualifiers such as capital available and the candidate's target geography. Your sales management system should then begin an automated email campaign specifically matched to the candidate's profile.
I highly recommend the use of a sales management system (CRM) such as Sage, ACT or Salesforce, to track and respond to all leads. This technology not only ensures that every lead is followed up on systematically, it also allows you to focus on following up by phone or in person with the candidates who show the most interest in the brand through their online activities, such as the number of times they visit your website, or clicked on embedded hyperlinks within your on-line or email campaigns.
2. Once a month use a mail system to send a HTML-based newsletter to your entire database of candidates to ensure you continue to be "top of mind" for candidates who may still be in the pipeline but whose activity may have slowed down.
Remember “Opinion without data is a guess” all of your work can be a waste if not measured.
3. One of the most important uses of the data generated through this technology is a return on investment, or conversion rate for any given platform. Every week look at the lead flow statistics for each active campaign; run a quick calculation to show the cost per lead for each. You could then work with the platforms that are underperforming to retool the message to increase the number of leads and subsequently reduce the actual cost per lead that you are paying.
Each year as you devise your planning and budgeting for the coming year, look at which campaigns, portals or shows have had the highest conversion rate, meaning which methods have actually produced the highest number of signed franchise agreements. The traceability that technology provides us is invaluable in forecasting budgets needs for the coming year.
The effective use of tech based lead generation in combination with a sales management system will result in more sales, better franchise candidates and a stronger franchise system.
Lincoln Marks is a franchise development consultant at Business Essentials