From Prospect to Promoter: How CRM Works Throughout the Customer Lifecycle for Franchises 

From Prospect to Promoter: How CRM Works Throughout the Customer Lifecycle for Franchises 

Today, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a key part of any franchise marketing or sales strategy focused on sustained business growth. In fact, Gartner — a leading tech research and consulting firm — found that “91% of businesses with over 11 employees now deploys CRM software. Small businesses are also jumping on the bandwagon, with 50% of companies with less than 50 employees adopting CRM.” To say that CRM is big business would be an understatement. In 2023, there were 1,573 CRM system providers in the U.S. — an 11.5% increase from 2022. So, let’s review how CRM works throughout the customer lifecycle for franchise brands.  

Why the demand for CRM? Businesses want real-time data in hand for every stage of the sales funnel to target qualified leads or prospective customers and personalized communication to boost conversion as well as customer retention.

Franchisors on Board with CRM 

As with any smart business, franchisors are actively deploying CRM software. What was once a formidable manual process is now a streamlined, data-rich process that helps franchisors turn leads into franchisees, and franchisees turn prospects into customers.  

Curious Jane does not recommend a particular CRM, however, we manage HubSpot, FranConnect and Pardot for clients.  We also provide access to Serviceminder, a CRM for home services franchise brands. We recommend that franchisors host and manage their CRMs to support their franchisees who need to gain access to their data on a more local level.  

Nuts and Bolts

So how does CRM work? The system follows the customer’s sales journey from the moment they first engage with the franchise. It provides a holistic view of the customer — capturing how the customer interacted with the company from the initial contact to opening an email or answering a call. The same process applies to franchisors seeking qualified franchise development leads.  

By providing transparency, a CRM enhances customer relationships, taking the guesswork out of which message should be delivered when. It’s all about laser-focused communication prompted by customer data. CRM delivers communication on a hyper-personalized level at every stage of the sales pipeline, whether awareness, interest, decision, action or retention. Is  your prospect still looking? Is this a new customer? In those cases, the messaging would be quite different, whether delivered via email message, SMS or any number of vehicles.  

Enhanced User Experience

Simply put, a CRM helps companies become more “customer-centric,” creating a need for personalization and sending messages at the right time to the right customer. The result? The user/customer experiences more seamless messaging via different channels. Whether that’s remarketing ads via paid media integrations (abandon cart), SMS, email or chatbots, the experience is super enhanced for customers.

For franchise development email marketing in particular, we leverage a certain image that speaks more to where the user is in the pipeline. For example, HubSpot and other CRMs house customer data, and using code, we develop and display specific data points about their touchpoints with the brand/company.

Bottom line: CRMs allow brands to leverage data points to keep them engaged, nurtured and moving from TOFU (top of funnel) to BOFU (bottom of funnel), and eventually to loyalty and advocacy.

Automated Workflows

For sales and marketing, a CRM helps make easier work of communication. It works in automated workflows, helping your teams communicate with potential customers — or franchisees — without the need to manage it manually. As FranConnect puts it, “Workflows allow you to create system guidelines for when campaigns are sent, tasks are created, and statuses are changed automatically.” In other words, it gets the tasks done without the need for your sales and marketing folks to do those things manually, saving your company a significant amount of time and effort while effortlessly keeping track of the pipeline.  

Integration with Paid Media Campaigns 

Another benefit is that CRM can be integrated with paid media campaigns and follow the customer or lead once they’re in your CRM. One of our franchisor clients had paid media campaigns in Meta, LinkedIn and Google. We integrated the media buyer platforms with their CRM, so when a prospect completed a form on a landing page, we were able to see which part of the campaign pushed them to convert. Which keywords, creative, landing page and platform? This was invaluable data that helped inform future campaigns. 

CRM also takes media buying campaign data and centralizes it, so all data is in one convenient location. This facilitates decision-making, which can turn a prospect into a customer, and further, into a promoter—not to mention a lead into a franchise contract. 

Bottom Line Impact 

Consider these numbers: Our client, a top 100 global company, did not have a CRM and engaged us to boost leads and to go even further into the funnel to qualify the leads. We deployed a CRM for the organization and created a paid media campaign that consisted of Facebook, Instagram and Google. The results were overwhelming. 

  • Average of 13,000 leads per month from the paid media effort 
  • 4% conversion rate of qualified leads 
  • Cost per lead for Meta – $16 
  • Cost per lead for Google – $19
  • 13% conversion for form completions to qualified leads — an impressive rate! 
  • 12% email click-throughs 
  • 7.7% conversion from CRM 

This shaved months off the company’s process. What used to take nine months to move a prospect to a signed contract now takes about six months.  

Clearly, CRM works for franchisors, franchisees and all businesses. By putting data in hand and hyper-personalizing messaging through automation, CRM is especially good for business — moving the prospect to promoter, and lead to franchisee.