Lead conversions must be tracked at each stage of your sales cycle. If you’re attracting the right prospects to your brand, then conversions should increase, building more predictability and reliability into your pipeline.
FranConnect's 2018 Sales Index, an analysis of performance data from 462 franchisors, shows that many leads that enter the top of the franchising funnel never receive a response at all, and those that do are often contacted too late. Responding to new leads in a timely manner is critical in engaging a candidate and potentially closing a deal.
How critical is response time?
For leads that closed, 39% received a response within 4 hours of initial contact. This percentage drops to 18% for leads that are contacted from longer than 4 hours and up to one day.
A cornerstone of good funnel management is getting the first follow-up step right every time. Respond to leads, implement a consistent qualification process, and develop a positive candidate experience, starting with the first phone call.
The gold standard for responding to an inquiry is within 30-minutes. At this point your franchise is top-of-mind and the prospective lead is sitting by their phone or laptop. However, only 12.9% of franchisors conduct initial outreach within this time-frame. Our data indicates that only 1.9% of franchisors follow up within two-to-four hours while a further 16.9% are contacted in the first 24-hours. In the meantime, the potential franchise buyer is placing inquiries to a number of franchise brands, all competing for their attention. The onus is on you to ascertain why the sales team is unable to contact leads on a timely basis and to immediately put measures in place to improve average response times.
Tip: Start by setting up an automated reply set up for inbound email inquiries. This will confirm that you have received the inquiry and sets expectations for follow up. In addition, regularly review data about when leads flow into your system, and act accordingly. For example, if a sizable number of calls come in during the evening or on weekends, have staff on hand during these times or employ an answering service to field these calls. This type of attention shows potential buyers that they are valued and sets the standard for the quality of support they will receive if they become a franchisee.
For more details, and more than 40 other powerful data-driven insights and benchmarks for growth, get your copy of the 2018 Franchise Sales Index from FranConnect.