How Would You Grade Your Sales Team?
How would you grade your sales effort? Is a "C" okay for your company? Are your competitors scoring higher?
With 2013 trending to be one of the best years in the recent past for franchising growth, we must make sure we are prepared to take advantage and grow our franchise brands.
To do that, we need to examine our systems and procedures and create a "scorecard" for success. Today's franchise buyers expect the best in marketing materials, in systems, and in professional sales consultants who can guide them to a franchise that can meet their financial and personal goals.
The franchise systems that will be most successful today will have taken the time and invested the capital to implement the critical changes they need for success. They will also have tracked these five key components to franchise development success (and more):
- A profitable franchise system with happy franchisees.
- A franchise development marketing program targeted for success.
- An FDD that delivers a clear message to the candidate.
- A CRM system that allows you to make informed decisions on marketing and sales consultant training.
- A trained and informed franchise development team of professional consultants.
Essential building blocks
Profitable franchise units are the foundation of a successful development plan. When the franchise system is operating efficiently and the majority of the system is profitable, it allows the brand to move forward with the development effort. Too many franchise systems haven't taken the time to develop the proper systems and procedures that allow them to create the reporting systems needed to assist franchisees. These systems should not invest in franchise development marketing until they are confident these components are in place.
Understanding 1) the profile of your target franchisee, and 2) the geographical area you want to develop is the beginning of your marketing process. Once you have an understanding of who, what, and where, you can then implement a targeted franchise development plan. Several marketing strategies are available to help you focus your marketing budget wisely, and not invest in areas where you are not seeking expansion.
The FDD has become even more important as a tool when working with sophisticated franchise buyers. The FDD allows you the opportunity to present important information such as company experience, sales income, operational information, and many other key points to informed buyers in a legal format. The correct and legal disclosure of this information also will allow you to share this information in marketing materials, providing interested buyers with a faster, more organized document they can use to make an informed business decision.
A good contact management system is critical for a franchise system committed to franchise development. Without gathering the information about advertising media results, sales team pipelines, and individual sales consultant results, it is difficult to determine what step (or steps) in your process is not working and needs attention and additional training.
The franchise sales team is the conduit through which all information is conveyed to candidates; and the franchise sales consultant is the face of the company for prospective candidates researching the concept. The role of the sales consultant has always been 80 percent of the reason a candidate chooses one franchise concept over a competitor's. Professional relationship-building is a key.
During the past five years, my company, Kiekenapp & Associates, has conducted the mystery shopping for attendees for Franchise Update Media Group's annual Franchise Leadership & Development Conference (coming up next month, Oct. 9-11 in Atlanta). The results each year are shocking as we experience the same lack of professionalism, lack of follow-up, and lack of enthusiasm. In most cases, there's not even a simple, scripted first conversation with a candidate to assess their interest level and financial capabilities. While the same 15 to 20 companies score well year after year, others don't seem to improve.
We've made the investments in websites, CRM systems, and marketing plans to attract new franchisees - all without addressing the biggest key to success: our sales team. What are you doing to help your franchise sales team do a better job? Are you doing any or all of these five essential things?
- Weekly sales meetings
- Pipeline reviews
- Training seminars
- Role playing
- Mystery shopping
Mystery shopping can be a positive exercise and help your system in granting more franchise units. Invest in your sales team, and the results will bring more qualified franchisees into your system. A customized training program can be effective only when you know what your team requires to do a better job. Help your team of sales professionals be the best they can. Institute your training program today!
Marc Kiekenapp is President/CEO of Kiekenapp & Associates, a full-service management and sales consulting company dedicated to building notable franchise systems - from concept feasibility analysis and packaging through delivering single-unit and master territory franchise sales. Contact him in Scottsdale at 866-696-8521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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