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Choosing a CRM for your Franchise Business.

If you are a franchisor, then you understand the importance of managing the relationships you have with your franchisees. It is your job to be attentive, responsive, and supportive to each unit you have in your franchise system. There are a number of software platforms out there that help you manage these important relationships. Customer relationship management software (CRM’s) help you automate, analyze, and streamline the relationships you have with your franchisees. The software industry has grown significantly and choosing a CRM platform has become overwhelming. At Fewer Hats, we help franchise brands select, customize, and deploy software for their organization. Over the last few years we have built numerous relationships with a large list of software providers. We provide an unbiased opinion on which platform will fit your needs and fall within your price range. We have worked with numerous franchise brands over the years who wanted to improve the way they manage their franchisee relationships with a CRM. In order to avoid making a costly mistake, I highly recommend that you ask the following questions about customization and automation capabilities if you are currently shopping for a CRM platform.

Customization  - make sure you understand how customizable a platform is before committing to it. Ask the following questions;

  • Can I add my own custom fields?
  • What type of custom fields can I add? (Examples below)
    • Drop down fields
    • Numerical fields
    • Multi-Line fields (write a whole paragraph)
    • Function fields (enter your own algebra to calculate things based of the information in your CRM record)
    • Lookup fields (mapping one record in the CRM to another)
    • Multi-Select fields
    • Date and time fields
    • File upload fields
    • Checkbox fields
    • Percentage fields
    • Long integer fields
    • User mapping fields
  • How many custom fields can I add?
  • Can I create AND SAVE reports and filters based off of custom fields that I add?
  • Can I reorganize the placement of fields?
  • Can I customize the names and organization of modules in the CRM?
  • Can I create NEW CUSTOM modules in the CRM?
  • Can the CRM make time zone adjustments based on the location of my franchise locations?
  • How many custom email templates can I create?
  • What kind of customization can I do within the email templates I create?
  • Does the CRM allow me to “Mail Merge” fields into my email templates?
  • What kind of data sharing rules does the platform have?
    • Can I create parent child viewing rules for an area developer to only be able to see information on their own units?
    • Can I create regions with associated data sharing rules?
    • Can I create field based sharing rules where corporate can see fields that franchisees cannot?
  • What kind of custom reports can I create?
  • Can custom reports pull information from multiple modules?
  • Can I create visualizations (graphs, charts, gants) for the reports I create?
  • Can I create MY OWN custom dashboards full of the visualisations from the reports I created?
  • Is there a cost to create a custom report?

Automation - before committing to a CRM you need to understand if the platform will help you wear FEWER HATS by automating portions of your business. Make sure to ask the following questions;

  • Can I create MY OWN customized workflows? (Examples below)
    • Based on a trigger such as (when a record is created), and the record status says “Franchise Broker Lead”, immediately send out a custom welcome email template and then 3 days later a text with a task for me to follow up with the lead.
    • Based on a trigger such as (when a franchise office renewal date is 3 months out), set a task for corporate to schedule a time to talk about renewal and send a “we love working with you {insert franchisee name}” text to the franchisee.
    • Based on a trigger such as (franchisee forgets to submit monthly revenue report by the 5th day of the month), send out a text daily reminding them they need to submit their report until it is completed.
    • Based on a trigger such as (if a franchisee falls below a performance KPI that I define), set an alert for my team that we need to reach out to them to help them improve their performance in that area.
  • How many customized workflows can I create?
  • Are there ever costs associated with customized workflows?
  • Does the platform have an FREE and OPEN API?
  • Does the platform have any native integrations?
  • Does the platform have integrations to tools like Zapier.com

I could go on and on about questions you should ask before you commit your organization to a specific CRM platform. Rolling out new technology to a well established franchise with many franchise units can seem overwhelming. Prior to committing to a specific platform you should seek the advice of a software consulting firm like Fewer Hats that understands the nuances of the franchise industry. Remember that software companies are going to try and sell you on their platform. If you don’t ask the right questions while you are evaluating a platform then you might make a costly mistake for your business. We love helping brands make well informed decisions on software, and we do it for FREE. The software industry has become so congested that you can not afford to shop for tech with naivete.

Peter Maxwell Sessions Founder and CEO - FewerHats
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