Challenge The Pros: Using Technology to Identify, Reach, and Track Prospects

Challenge The Pros: Using Technology to Identify, Reach, and Track Prospects

"How are you using technology to identify, reach, and track prospects?"

James R. Walker
Chief Development Officer
The Johnny Rockets Group

At Johnny Rockets we use technology not only to drive leads for prospective franchise candidates, but also to ensure that we are spending our franchise recruitment dollars in the most efficacious way possible.

We have found that online franchise lead portals are one of our most effective methods for securing new candidates. We also like the traceability these sites provide us. We use as many as six different online lead portals to drive leads to our sales management system, which immediately segments the lead by a number of qualifiers that include available liquid capital, as well as the candidate's targeted geography. Our sales management system then begins an automated email campaign that is specifically matched to the candidate's profile and area of interest.

We also use our sales management system to track and respond to leads we generate from our own website, franchise and trade shows, and phone calls that come into our Restaurant Support Center. This technology not only ensures that every lead is followed up systematically, it also allows us 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 our website, or clicking on embedded hyperlinks within our generated email campaigns.

Once a month we also use a direct email system to send an HTML-based email newsletter to our entire database of candidates to ensure we continue to be "top of mind" for those who may still be in the pipeline but whose activity may have slowed down.

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 we look at the lead flow for each active campaign we have and run a quick calculation to show the cost per lead for each. We will then work with the platforms that are underperforming to the messaging to increase the number of leads, and subsequently reduce the actual cost per lead that we're paying.

Each year as we enter into our planning and budgeting for the coming year, we 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 the technology provides us is invaluable in forecasting budget needs for the coming year, as well as what we can expect to in new franchise agreements and see in subsequent new openings.

Van J. Ingram
Vice President for Franchise Development
Taco John's International

At Taco John's, we are capitalizing on technology in a few areas. Selling a franchise is a systematic process. From solicitation to prospect management to executing an agreement, and then providing support through the term of the agreement, we use technology to provide structure and maintain system compliance.

Today's franchise prospect is tech-savvy. By using technology in our solicitation process we are ensuring that our brand matches up with how they prefer to conduct their research. Prospects want to engage in initial due diligence on their own time and are using smart phones, tablets, etc. We have optimized our website for clear viewing on each device and are finalizing our electronic brochure to allow them to review the opportunity before speaking with a sales representative.

This is a departure from the industry norm of even five years ago, when we relied on initial phone calls and printed brochures. Candidates are clamoring for more information, and the technological advances allow us to provide the data in a professional, easy-to-digest format that eliminates some of the up-front questions of the past.

We also have implemented a CRM system, with FranConnect as our platform. We can track all our leads, determine their origin, and monitor their progress on key milestones within the selling process. We use an email drip campaign to provide multiple touch points in the process.

Once a franchisee has executed an agreement, we also use technology in the and phase. We have an electronic site package that can be completed online. The franchisee is responsible for providing their rationale for the proposed location, and our chief development officer adds his assessment so that our approval committee has a comprehensive package for review.

As a legacy brand in existence for more than 45 years, Taco John's continues to evolve to match up with the technological requirements of an ever-changing prospect base.

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