THE POWER OF PERSONALIZED FRANCHISE RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS
In today’s increasingly technological world, all franchise executives involved with sales and compliance come to us with derivatives of the same fundamental question: “How do I navigate the maze of franchise relationship management?”
They know their franchise sales prospects are eager to learn more about their brand online and they know their franchisees are eager to access online data and company updates, but they have constantly struggled to find an effective solution that elevates their brand.
Well here’s the good news – FRM Solutions can help these franchise executives extend the online dialogue with their franchise prospects as well as their existing franchisees by building personalized and customizable franchise relationship management solutions. And in this expert advice column, I’d like to answer some key questions to help franchise brands discover what companies like Focus Brands, NAPA, Aaron’s, Bruster’s, Huddle House, Money Mailer and a growing roster of franchisors have already realized out-of-the-box franchise relationship management tools and solutions are key to generating sustainable system growth in today’s world.
What defines an effective Franchise Relationship Management solution?
It’s no secret that the Internet has inherently changed the way people communicate. Within franchising, specifically, franchise prospects conduct the bulk of their due diligence process by researching and communicating
with brands online. Many prospects, particularly younger prospects, want meaningful, self-directed discovery powered by online resources/tools (websites, e-Mail, portals, social media profiles, etc.). Similarly, existing franchisees want to receive information/ reports and communicate with the franchisor via fast and effective online tools.
The Internet has no doubt changed the game and it’s the brands who embrace new technology who have, and will continue to emerge as industry leaders. These brands use software and technological tools to streamline their franchise development and franchise compliance processes. From a franchise sales perspective, they have built a fully customizable and Outlook-integrated CRM platform that allows them to communicate effectively with prospects and lead them to online resources that help them develop an emotional connection to their brand. And from a franchise compliance perspective, they are able to use the same CRM platform to generate and deliver comprehensive reports, automate anniversaries, legal reminders and updates, workflows and company announcements, all helping to keep franchisees informed and compliant.
What can you accomplish with a personalized Franchise Relationship Management solution?
An effective Franchise Relationship Management program should allow franchise brands to…
• Seamlessly integrate all of their franchise sales and compliance efforts with Outlook – millions of franchise executives, franchise prospects, and franchisees rely on Microsoft products to complete daily tasks and communicate. Therefore, all correspondence/outreach created by a franchise brand’s franchise relationship management program should be fully integrated with Outlook, including e-Mails, tasks and calendar events.
• Build franchise relationship management solutions that are multibrand compatible – Many franchise executives work for a parent company and would be better served by a “single” franchise relationship management tool that could work across multiple brands.
• Manage your franchise sales leads and guide candidates through the sales process – franchise sales executives should be able to instantly manage and update the content that they share with candidates and track how candidates are engaging with that online content related to their brand, so they can send follow up materials that answer key questions and enhance their emotional connection to the franchise opportunity.
• Continue the conversation after the sale with complete lifecycle management – Many CRM tools and franchise relationship management programs lose their value once a prospect becomes a franchisee – that’s not effective in today’s world.
• Generate comprehensive reports, including legal, compliance, and a simplified annual Item 20 update – Similarly, if your franchise relationship management program is not generating information that is easily sortable, reportable and dashboardable, it’s falling short of the mark.
How does this help all executives who are interested in cultivating sustainable system growth?
As we all know, success in franchising is always a team effort. Leading executives, franchise sales teams, and legal/ compliance teams must all be on the same page for a brand to achieve sustainable growth. Here’s how the right franchise relationship management tools and solutions keeps all systems on the right track and benefit all executives responsible for a franchise brand’s success:
• C-Level Executives – Robust and comprehensive franchise relationship management tools cultivate long term, sustainable, and profitable partnerships between franchisors and franchisees. These tools allow C-Level Executives to focus more time on innovation, brand-building projects and growing top and bottom line, enabling technology to manage administrative and process driven requirements.
• Franchise Sales Executives – Customizable franchise relationship management tools allow franchise sales executives to extend the dialogue with qualified prospects from the first call through the grand opening. With the right tools and technology, franchise sales teams can build a personalized candidate gateway, accessed only by qualified candidates, who can then view content that consists of streaming videos, WAV files or documents and learn more about the brand without the distractions of anything else that might be competing for their attention. These executives can track prospect activity within this gateway and use Outlookintegrated CRM tools to follow up with important key messages and information to help prospects make a smart and informed business ownership decision.
• Legal/Compliance – The information gathered from within this gateway, coupled with CRM technology used by franchise sales teams allows internal legal and compliance teams to create mission critical reports faster than ever before. Important annual administrative tasks, like item 20 reporting, that typically require days of deliberation can be completed accurately with the push of a button. This allows legal and compliance teams
to proactively protect the brand instead of spending countless hours generating tedious reports.
In 2015, few things are more important to a franchise brand’s long-term success than developing more systems reliance, as opposed to people dependence. The right solutions, powered by the right software and technology, will increase franchise sales, improve compliance, and build sustainable relationships between franchisees and the franchisor. And in franchising, everybody wins when those things are in alignment.
Stan Friedman, CFE is a 26-year franchising veteran who is passionate about helping others grow their franchised businesses. His #1 specialty is maximizing the value proposition of franchising, for all parties concerned. As the President of FRM Solutions, his role is to harness intellectual capital and deliver easily navigated and functional solutions and experiences to FRM clients and their users. Always an “outside the box” thinker, Stan has also been committed to enhancing diversity in franchising. He is responsible for creating the Urban Expansion initiative, a Blimpie International diversity program that earned him an invite to the President’s “Conference for Community Empowerment,” and for co-creating the Pro Athlete Franchise Initiative (PAFI), an organization devoted to creating a bridge between transitioning professional athletes and franchise opportunities. In recognition of his ongoing work in diversity, Friedman very proudly accepted the IFA’s Ronald E. Harrison Diversity Award – an honor bestowed fewer than 10 times in the IFA’s 50+ year history.