Lead Nurturing 101: Why Your Franchise Needs It
According to the FranConnect/IFA Franchise Sales Index, franchisors are only closing on average 1.2% of deals that enter their sales funnel.
There are many reasons for this, but a lack of focus on lead nurturing is a big part of the problem. Too many leads are disappearing because of a lack of time being spent in this area, along with a lack of focus on the communication and content that is required during the process.
Imagine this. You are a franchisee prospect browsing through the world’s leading franchise portal (that’s Franchise Direct by the way!) and you come across a business opportunity that fits exactly what you are looking for.
You fill in your details, await a call, or an email, or even a messenger pigeon.
Then, not much happens. Or, on the other end of the scale, you’re bombarded with marketing content and feel as though you are just another number in the system.
During either scenario, do you feel valued?
The answer is probably not.
Significant effort and time are often placed on franchise lead generation. However, a lack of focus after the lead comes to you can make the effort worthless.
That is why lead nurturing for you as a franchisor is so important.
With the right type of lead nurturing, you can demonstrate that your franchise offers a proven track record of success, proper and insightful training, and anything else that is worth communicating with potential buyers.
Obviously, not every franchise prospect will become a buyer, but a lack of lead nurturing will ensure that less and less of them end up as a franchisee in your system.
How Do You Generate Leads?
To nurture leads you must first get leads. That is where we come in.
Franchise Direct is the leading global portal for quality lead generation.
Our network spans six of seven continents.
Our experts can build your profile into a lead generating machine and we are constantly looking to build upon our over two decades of expertise in this area.
However, there’s very little point in putting all that effort into lead generation if there is no follow-through, is there?
Which brings us to…lead nurturing.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Different websites give different definitions of lead nurturing, and they usually involve buzz terms, such as “sales funnels” and “sales cycles.”
However, at its simplest: For franchisors, lead nurturing is the process of building and furthering a relationship with a lead at every stage of their journey to becoming a franchisee.
And that journey can take some time. According to research by Ascend2, almost half of businesses say their leads require “long cycle” sales. In addition, research done by Hubspot showed that it usually takes around 10 nurturing steps to convert a paying customer and, for franchises who are converting people into franchisees, this may even be more.
However, though franchise buying can be considered a long cycle process, the immediacy of the first contact is extremely important. Research from Harvard revealed that the most effective time to reach out to sales leads is within an hour of receiving the inquiry. Further, waiting just one day can reduce the likelihood of turning the lead to a conversion by up to a factor of 3.5 times.
Why is Lead Nurturing Important?
At this stage, you might be thinking to yourself that “this lead nurturing stuff sounds like hard work.”
Obviously, you are right, but the alternative is worse.
Research done by Marketo shows that the “best companies at lead nurturing produce 50% more sales-ready leads, at a third of the usual cost.”
When leads fill in their details to be contacted, they are stating that they are happy to receive further information about what your brand can offer. The right type of content and communication can inspire these people to invest in your business.
If you don’t nurture your leads, you are leaving a huge number of franchise sales behind. Unfortunately, though, many companies neglect the process. Per Ascend2, 26% of marketing professionals do not have a formal strategy in place for lead nurturing, nor do they plan on implementing one.
Don’t be one of those without a plan.
What are the Stages of the Lead Nurturing Process?
Everything becomes clearer and easier to understand when broken down into stages and lead nurturing is no different. For franchises, this process can be broken down into four separate stages, which can be remembered by the mnemonic FIND (Focus, Interest, Nurture, Deal).
After all, this is what you want to do – find new franchisees!
Stage One – Focus
The first thing you must do is focus on your ideal franchisee and use the right tools to find them.
This can be done by advertising on the right channels, becoming an thought leader on these channels, and doing competitor research to identify what other franchise businesses do and don’t do well during the sales process.
Stage Two – Interest
When the potential franchisee signals interest and has given you their contact details, it is important to follow up this interest carefully. As noted above, you need to reach out to the prospective investor briskly, but it is important not to bombard them with messaging.
Email marketing campaigns can and should be used, but the message and content within these needs to be useful and not just correspondence for the heck of it.
This sales opportunity can and will go to waste if the communication is not right. The content that is used should be both useful and practical, with the likes of short videos, blog posts and online discovery days all useful examples.
Stage Three – Nurture
This is where the lead is interested in hearing more and potentially coming on-board as part of your franchise system. During this stage, you can get personal with content, develop a one-on-one dialogue and schedule further contact down the line.
This is where the sales and marketing teams combine to understand the needs of the leads and to try to satisfy them and close the deal.
One-on-one conversations are a key component to this stage, with franchisor-franchisee meetings, follow-ups and details of potential return on investments being discussed.
Stage Four – Deal
This is the stage where the franchisee has decided to come on-board. You want to sustain that existing relationship to ensure it is a fruitful one for you both and that it potentially extends beyond the signing of the franchise agreement.
If the franchisee is happy with the relationship formed with you, you can potentially reap the benefits of more leads directly to the second stage of the process through word of mouth.
Find More Franchise Prospects to Nurture Today!
If you would like more information on our lead generation services and how Franchise Direct can assist you in your franchise system expansion, contact us today to hear more about how we can work together!
COMPLETE LEAD NURTURING FOR FRANCHISORS SERIES