We don’t really think you need us to explain the benefits of a CRM, but just in case you do, let’s just say that the marketing do-it-all wonder that is a Customer Relationship Management software - CRM for short - helps you handle all aspects of your conversion funnel from cold contact to upsells.
In fact, Customer Relationship Management is quite an understatement when you look at what a robust, well designed and customized CRM software can do for you business. You might even wonder how it is possible in 2020 that anyone would only consider running a serious business without one.
From strategy to lead generation to lead nurturing to customer support to post-sales management and support, there is hardly any aspect of your sales process that these babies can’t handle.
But while any CRM is a great start to align strategy, marketing, sales and support, most of them were made to fit any business model and sales scenario, which for franchisors is exactly where the beats hurt.
You see, contrary to what you might sometimes hear, a franchise business is precisely NOT “any” business.
“The one solution that actually works: Adopting a Franchise-wide CRM, not making your decision based primarily on your needs as a franchisor, but based on your franchisees business needs first and foremost.”
Of course, there are many overlapping areas and common concepts that will apply to any business AND franchise business : in both cases you need goals, marketing strategies, customer targets and segments, customer service and support etc.
Yet, all those tasks are usually geared towards local consumers, not towards franchisees themselves, which are definitely not the ones that will be using your CRM on a daily basis.
Those who do are your corporate marketing team of course, but in a perfect world it should also be all franchisees, who are the ones that happen to make or break your bottom line. Scattered around territories, with their own needs and wants to fulfill, they are not employees you can coerce into adopting whatever CRM system you thought might fit the bill. Far from it.
Those who do not understand this simple fact will usually end up with a half-baked customer relationship management system that no one is using properly and regularly, hence defeating the entire point of using such a system in the first place.
Among franchise managers who did understand this before investing in a CRM system, there are a variety of behaviors regarding how to obtain the best possible system with the highest adoption rate among franchisees, while still crossing all check boxes on the franchisor’s agenda.
Some will go with whatever CRM they have spent years to master, and push it beyond its intended capabilities to make it do what they want it to.
Others will start from scratch, often with the help of a specialized software company, to build the exact tool of their dreams to match every singularity their franchise business may need.
Finally, some will just go with whatever SaaS CRM platform is leading the pack, assuming they have to be the best one out there, then plug in whatever extra component in order to fulfill whichever specific functions they can do without, and call it a day.
Of course there are variations to these three main paths of CRM adoption, like choosing an industry-specific CRM, which there are a plethora of, and spice it up with extra development to plug it in your existing franchise software.
Bear with us while we show you why actually any of these strategies are just plain wrong and straight up dangerous if you decide to stick with CRMs that are made to fit any business.
Then, we will see why electing to go with an integrated Franchise CRM is the best way to ensure long term success for your franchise, regardless of your market or industry.
All you need to do is to follow simple precepts and you will learn that finding the perfect CRM for your franchise business wasn’t so hard after all:
DON’T waste time doing it by yourself
DON’T waste money having someone else do it for you
DON’T reinvent the wheel
DO integrate all franchise-wide sales, leads, and communications
Stop Wasting Time Doing it by Yourself
So you have used this great CRM software when you got your franchise off the ground, and you’ve become quite the guru of all things CRM over time, even managing to develop some in-house add-ons using a homegrown blend of native and custom objects that did fit your needs perfectly at the moment.
Great, right? Uh, nope. Alright, sure, you overindulged in getting everything right, and it worked for a while, but not so much anymore as you’re piling on new franchisees, while your sweet DIY-CRM pet project is just falling apart as you plug into dozens of independent websites, driven by as many user types with their very own needs and wants.
Where is that knowledge base and online learning system you always said you should’ve built from the get go? Could've, would've, should've... Instead of dwindling down, costs per lead are skyrocketing as you struggle to keep up with bugs you hardly noticed before, get swamped with network-wide database syncs, get lost in increasingly clunky dashboards, and constantly fight error-ladden prospect pipelines.
You and CRM had a blast, but it’s time to move on. There are systems out there that will fit your bill, keep up with your entire network even when connected to hundreds of franchisee websites, and evolve efficiently as you focus your time and energy where you need to: on growing your business, not your software.
But Don’t Waste Money Having Someone Else Do it For You! Wait, What? But Didn’t you Just Say?
Not to pat yourself on the back, but you’ve always considered yourself quite the smart one, always ahead of the pack. You’re definitely not into going along with the flock just because.
A few years back you looked at a few popular CRM systems, and did simple math. At $99/month per seat for enterprise-level SaaS CRM software, just three years of subscription for only 30 users adds up to $99 x 30 seats x 12 months x 3 years = $106,920. Yikes.
Being the smart one, you thought outside of the box, and got started on the marvellous adventure of getting your very own CRM system tailor-made to match your franchise business needs for years to come.
Unfortunately, years did come and pass, and one hundred grand later you’re still struggling to get it done right as you’ve dumped those local developers that did not quite understand the uniqueness of your business, or that independent contractor who disappeared just when you needed a full system upgrade to match your ever growing franchise network needs.
Now you are down $100k, and stuck with a half-baked robotic program that barely keeps up with your organizational left-and-right expansion, let alone integrating new customizations, transversal operational needs, or franchisee onboarding, sales, and marketing support. Welcome to the pack.
If the Wheel Turns Fine, Don’t Reinvent It
If you’re fortunate enough to have fended off the temptation to fall into any of the aforementioned pits, it might be because you were smart enough to carefully sidestep them, and consider the alternative to building your own franchise CRM or getting one built for you.
As far as the CRM market is concerned, “booming” is quite the understatement: five years ago, it was expected to hit $37 billions by 2017. It’s now 2020, and the CRM market has actually passed the $120-billion threshold.
What that means is that there are literally hundreds of ‘out-of-the-box’ CRM systems out there to match your exact industry and market. In fact there are special CRM’s just for restaurants (Eat, PosIQ, Toast POS, Punchh...), for B2B services (StayinFront, Nutshell, Bitrix24...), for pet shops (Toolbox, Magsta...), and yes also CRM’s dedicated to the franchising model (Franconnect, FranchiseSoft…).
But, ain’t a CRM just a CRM, you ask? Well, not quite. CRM’s are as diverse as business owners, and it rings even more true for franchise businesses. To be efficient (as in quick and organized) AND effective (as in getting results), your franchise needs a CRM that integrates the very essence of what a franchise is.
And that is not the territory sale aspect that most Franchise-specific solutions came from. We are talking about the distributed nature of the franchise model and the flexible nature of its relationship.
More than being custom-built for restaurants, pet stores, or even Franchise territory sales, your customer-facing CRM needs to address the specific needs of franchisees: easily scale up from one to one thousand locations, meet the unique challenges of your franchise e-commerce business model (pure-play, shared or distributed), track multi-level KPI’s, manage multiple franchisees in shared territories, while making it easy for the Franchisor to track, access and support any territory.
SeoSamba CRM Mobile App - SeoToaster Ultimate CRM screen view (As a franchisor you can access all your franchisees individual CRM’s and contacts from a single mobile app without logging-in and out)
Which leads us to the one solution that actually works: adopting a Franchise CRM that integrates all aspects of your franchisees business needs first and foremost.
By not making your decision based primarily on your needs as a franchisor, while keeping them highly ranked on your secondary list, will let you consider with an open mind all solutions on the market:
Comparing first what client-facing features are available with each solution, then considering deploying and management inherent to a franchise network, before considering how, at last, it caters to your need as a franchisor for bird-eye visibility and/or can be adapted to your franchisors needs.
SeoSamba’s marketing and sales automation software suite are used by thousands of businesses, small and large, around the world, with service centres in the United States and Europe. SeoSamba’s software is private labelled by solutions providers and media companies alike, and available in 14 languages.
SeoSamba combines email, SEO reporting and execution, centralized blogging for WordPress and SeoToaster powered websites, PPC, social media marketing, CRM, a website builder with built-in call tracking, analytics and more, under one roof, at an affordable price.
SeoSamba offers turnkey services, including franchise development and franchise brand marketing for local lead generation packages.
SeoSamba was recently named ‘Best in Marketing’ for franchise brands by Entrepreneur Magazine for the second year in a row.
For more information about SeoSamba and the services we offer, visit www.seosamba.com, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us: + (1)877-450-9894 (U.S.) and in Europe at +33(644)-600-678