After 2020, Everybody Needs Nurturing: Conquer The Longer Fran Dev Sales Cycle
By Lora Kellogg, CFE
2020 changed just about every aspect of life in America, including franchise development. Against the backdrop of a pandemic and an economic slowdown, many franchises are now experiencing new growth. Thanks to 2020, however, the industry now has a much longer sales cycle.
Just as many of our fellow humans needed a little more TLC this year, franchise candidates required some extra time and nurturing to close the deal.
Here are two ways you can give your candidates the nurturing they crave right now:
Use Your CRM To Send Emails
Think of all the leads you have paid for in previous months or years that, until now, have just been sitting in your customer relationship management system (CRM), collecting virtual dust. Now is the time to brush those leads off and get to work. Your CRM is a great tool that can help you nurture leads and nudge them down the funnel.
Your CRM can be used to segment your leads list by geography, engagement level and more. Create emails to test various message strategies and see which ones your leads are most likely to respond to. Segmenting can help messages feel more personalized or relevant to the recipients. For instance, someone who is new to franchising may be curious about corporate support, so they may be more engaged with messages that address support programs.
If your CRM is equipped with marketing automation tools, set it up to trigger a series of emails at a measured pace. As your leads begin to open emails and click through to your website to learn more, pay attention to what engages them. Use that information to score your leads and determine whether they are ready to move forward with an opportunity.
Finally, remember that while automation can save you a lot of time, nothing beats the human touch when it comes to closing the deal. When you have successfully re-engaged a lead who seems very warm, give them a call so that you can start a true conversation.
Host An Educational Webinar
In our experience, leads who are moderately engaged respond well to webinars. Webinars allow people who are interested in but not sold on your franchise to learn about the opportunity as part of a group and without being put on the spot.
Webinars are inexpensive to produce: Your sales team can create the presentation using webinar software and then promote it with a few ads, social media posts and of course, an email campaign using your CRM.
Plus, a webinar gives your sales team a great opportunity to share their passion for your brand as well as speak directly to people who have already expressed interest in your franchise. Speaking to a group instead of sharing a presentation with leads individually also saves your team time, which frees them to do more follow-up with the strongest candidates.
Lead nurturing is going to be a critical part of the sales process in 2021. Before you spend more money searching for new leads, be sure to spend some time taking care of the ones you already have.
Lora Kellogg, CFE, is president and CEO of Curious Jane, an ad agency specializing in franchises. With more than 15 years of experience and a portfolio of top brands, she and her team work with established and emerging franchises to grow sales, increase traffic, build brand awareness and generate leads. For more information about International Franchise Association (IFA) supplier member Curious Jane, click here.