CMO Roundtable: Working with the Sales Team in Franchisee Lead Generation and Franchisee Recruitment

CMO Roundtable: Working with the Sales Team in Franchisee Lead Generation and Franchisee Recruitment

How closely do you work with the sales team in franchisee lead generation and franchisee recruitment?

Brian DeLong
Director of Marketing, Advertising, & PR
Goddard Systems Inc.

Twenty-first century learning skills--which include STEAM concepts (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) and the 4Cs (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity)--are at the foundation of The Goddard School's play-based learning program. At Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), we practice what we teach by continually assessing and learning from our past successes, opportunities, and challenges. Promoting the right culture for our brand begins here with our internal team. From recruitment through our unique support model, our focus on maintaining transparency and accountability extends to our franchisees. Through this culture, we uphold our brand promise and build healthy relationships with our franchisees to achieve mutual success.

We have found that the most successful franchisees are the ones who conduct their business by adhering to the principle of "doing well by doing good," a favorite saying of past Goddard School franchisee Bruce Ford. Like Ford, those who are most engaged in the business, involved in their communities, and have a genuine passion for positively shaping future generations are typically our most successful franchisees. There is no singular factor or profile that determines a "good franchisee fit" with The Goddard School brand; our franchisees come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. This is a community-based business, and it's important to know that our franchisees are on-site operators. This creates a strong bond with families and communities and also adds that extra layer of accountability for franchisees.

The GSI team is highly collaborative. We conduct morning huddles to complement more detailed weekly meetings with our franchise sales team to discuss lead generation, evaluate franchisee recruitment, and review campaigns. In vetting prospective franchisees, we immerse candidates in our brand through a discovery process. Our FDD is widely regarded in franchising as exceptionally detailed and thorough. We also include a comprehensive, but easy-to-understand financial performance representation. We encourage candidates to contact as many existing franchisees as they can to truly gain a sense of the lifestyle and of how the system operates on a day-to-day basis. During our Meet our Team Day, held at the corporate office, candidates meet with the senior management of every department to give both parties an opportunity to further gauge whether there is a good fit. The final step of the discovery process includes an in-depth interview with the prospective franchisees where we review the franchise agreement in detail and confirm that the candidates' goals and principles align with ours.

Growing the system does not mean compromising the quality of franchisees or school sites. We believe in reasonable and responsible growth as well as finding the best franchisees who fit our system. Our support team at corporate headquarters is in place to support expertly those who franchise with us. Our team and are scalable along with the growth of our system.

Michael C. Branigan
VP, Marketing & Product Innovation
Bruster's Real Ice Cream

The Bruster's marketing team works very closely with the franchise sales department. This is a significant collaboration between the two departments and is the lifeblood of the organization. Besides the standard public brand communications to prospective franchisees, the department works diligently to provide the franchise sales team with franchisee lead generation programs and tactical marketing tools that help them generate leads.

The lead generation process has grown to be more and more complicated over the past seven years with the tightening of available bank funding and the influx of new QSR competitors to the marketplace. The days of just showing up to a franchise expo or running an ad in Nation's Restaurant News have passed. We have experimented and tested multiple lead generation tactical applications over the past two years that have yielded great returns. This has been an arduous trial-and-error period, both financially and from an analytical standpoint, because the normal channels that marketing professionals would follow in the past have expanded greatly and have changed.

We are fortunate to have a very strong franchise sales team that truly understands our "franchise consumer" and how to talk to them. These include things like lifestyle, where they are in their career, if they are a good cultural fit for the brand, and their propensity to succeed in our business model. This certainly aids the marketing function from a communications standpoint. You have to understand this first, before you randomly go out and spend money on advertising mediums that do not specifically target these consumers.

We also have very specific protocols and tracking systems that allow us to now make informed decisions on all of our collaborative efforts. The departments meet together regularly every week to discuss our progress, wins, and losses. We take this seriously, learn together, and challenge each other to make the right, informed decisions that will produce results every day. It is not a perfect science, but we learn something new every day. That is truly the exciting part of the collaboration.

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