Whether you’re a new franchise company trying to make the best initial investment possible, or an established brand looking to shift your marketing strategy to better reflect today’s market, there are a number of options available to help make the most of the resources you have.
If you aren’t familiar with recent findings from the Annual Franchise Development Report, the numbers regarding franchise lead sources might jump out at you:
Internet sales are accounting for about four of every ten franchise sales in the United States.
Compared to the numbers of past studies, it’s clear franchise lead generation in general is changing from a practice that finds customers to one that focuses on them finding you.
As prospects take to search engines to discover the kinds of franchising opportunities they find most appealing, it’s up to franchise teams to make sure their website is providing relevant, regularly-updated information about the opportunity as well as the broader industry prospects are eager to learn about.
We’ve talked about content strategies proven to improve visibility and generate interest among prospects, the internet can bring in all kinds of leads—some of which are simply a waste of your time and money.
This post will cover three simple strategies you can apply to streamline your sales process by understanding who your quality leads are quickly while developing an automated nurturing process.
1. Establish a system to qualify leads as early as possible
A long list of leads doesn’t mean much if none of them are seriously considering the opportunity. After all, the more bad leads you throw to your sales team, the more money they waste trying to close them—almost always to no avail.
If you’re you don't have a way to apply basic scoring to your leads, it’s one of the best ways to start prioritizing your contact lists.
In short, lead scoring simply attaches a value to each contact based on the personal information they’ve submitted through forms, as well as what content they’ve looked at on your website.
The more a particular prospect engages with the content on your site and the better suited they are as a serious buyer, the higher they’re valued as a viable lead.
Creating a an accurate scoring system can take a lot of work however, so we recommend starting simple. If there are certain criteria about your leads that you always flag as a positive attribute and put them on the fast track towards sales, use that as a starting point. These criteria could be something like their employment history or their overall budget for purchasing a franchise system.
From there, you can layer on criteria you've learned from reviewing your website data. Is there any correlation between number of website visits and purchasing a franchise? Are people who view a particular page on your site more likely to end up purchasing?
2. Create sales-ready leads by focusing on lead nurturing
Buying a franchise isn’t something most people do without serious consideration and confidence in their decision.
To build that confidence, prospects are looking for franchises to provide helpful resources at the right time—not just virtual brochures and email blasts that fail to deliver content based on where the lead is within your sales pipeline.
Franchise lead nurturing should focus on offering prospects customized, relevant content carefully aligned to the buying cycle. Your content nurturing system should be designed to not only familiarize them with the opportunity, but also with the industry they’ll be entering into as a franchisee.
To lessen the constant stress on your sales team to organize and manage leads as they move through your pipeline, more and more companies are turning to software to move the process along automatically.
3. Automate your efforts with lead management tools
If your marketing and sales team simply needs a better way to organize, prioritize, and systematize the entire process from first contact submission to sale, digital marketing automation tools can help streamline and improve each stage of the process.
Whether it’s simply categorizing leads according to their value, establishing a system for sending out targeted content at just the right time, or alerting your sales team of highly qualified leads who are ready to speak about the opportunity, automated tools can help you better understand where your best leads are coming from, who your customers tend to be, and how well your strategy is working to grow your franchise.
Interested in learning more about how to get your franchise opportunity found online? Check out our guide to franchise SEO.