In an age when artificial intelligence, digital solutions, and advanced customer responses are becoming common, it’s essential for every growing franchise to integrate a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution.
The most essential function of a CRM system is the management of leads that may convert to potential customers. The features that franchise operators should seek out in a CRM platform include native apps to allow management and responses from smartphones and handheld devices; text-campaigning capabilities, ease of importing leads from various sources, integration with social media campaigns, and aggregation of operational data.
The most important thing to keep in mind is the end result — your franchise operation needs the capacity and capability to derive actionable insights from the data the CRM collects and manages.
So, what are the best CRM solutions for franchises? For your own operation, it depends on a variety of factors including the type of business you are in, the products or services that your franchise sells, the nature of your customer or client base, the size of your franchise operation, and your budget. Let’s take a quick look at some potential solutions.
The great white whale of the CRM market is SalesForce, which currently has more than 150,000 customers, averaging 25 users per customer, putting them at nearly four million unique users at any time. SalesForce is a powerful, somewhat customizable tool with an all-in-one, cloud-based solution with onboard lead generation, contact and opportunity management, sales forecasting, and workflow automation, among other features.
However, franchise operations should also recognize that because SalesForce has to cater to such a broad market of customers, the software can become too generic or too complex for your growing franchise operation. As with any leader in its field, SalesForce can also be expensive, so bear in mind that the functionality of any CRM is often proportional to your budget.
HubSpot is a high-functioning CRM solution with a free version along with upgraded services at tiered price points. Because it includes many of the tools a franchise needs, it can offer a robust platform to track and organize contacts and leads as well as generate a complete overview of the sales cycle. A sales add-on costing $50 per month includes email notifications and templates, document tracking, and in-app calling. HubSpot is a certified, premier Google partner and offers a solution that can be applied across a variety of franchise operations. It also easily integrates with other software solutions.
3. Zoho Office Suite
Another favorite among franchise operations, the cloud-based Zoho One CRM solution was invented with the needs of small and medium-sized businesses in mind. This option includes all the core functionalities of pricier competitors, and is offered for free. In addition to sales and marketing automation, product configuration, sales reporting, and customer analytics, Zoho One offers a gamification feature that rewards salespeople who achieve their sales goals. The free version supports up to 10 users, with upgraded services at a cost of $12 per month.
There are more than a dozen competing products that can match or exceed these solutions, so be sure to do your own research and find the one that fits best for your franchise and your budget. You should choose one with an easy and intuitive interface that provides a valuable experience for both your salespeople and your customers.
The ability to organize important data from multiple sources or locations in one convenient interface can be a valuable tool; it can help your franchise convert leads to customers and help identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.