Your goal of profitable growth for your franchise business faces daily challenges. You may have information in multiple systems and on spreadsheets and it’s impossible to consolidate all the right pieces together to give you the truly informative insights you need. You may struggle to easily see who owns which franchise territory and how they are performing. Your territory maps may still be on paper or in a basic system. If these issues are frustrating your growth or wasting your time, it may be time to consider a better solution.
How To Match a Solution To Your Needs
Any business that operates with territories or sites will benefit from the right software solution but this is especially true in the case of franchise companies where territories are not just part of the organisational structure but a revenue generating element of the business in their own right.
With this in mind, it’s essential that a franchisor can quickly and easily share information about the location, boundaries and make-up of a territory and the sales potential contained within it. A good territory system should be able to meet this requirement.
Equally, existing franchise companies are in a strong position to capitalise on the cumulative data from franchisees over time and again a territory management system should be able to help them exploit this. Such data can be used to fuel growth by aiding the restructuring of unsold territories, refining target customer profiles, territory performance comparison and so on. Find out how you can make more profit for your franchise with this great article - How To Create A More Profitable Franchise Using Territory Intelligence.
Characteristics of Effective Territory Management Software
It’s vital to realise that franchise territory management software is not the same as general mapping software; it is geared toward increasing franchise territory sales, and improving the sales process. It’s also important to understand that the value of any system to your franchise will be greatly enhanced if the information it contains is specific to your business model and way of working.
That being said, ensuring your solution has the following characteristics is of the utmost importance.
1) A Custom Solution
A quality system will provide a territory solution that’s tailored to your business. It will contain exactly the data you need and the terminology your organisation uses. It will assist you with the planning, selling and management of your territories, as well as providing you and your franchisees with sales growth options.
2) Demonstrating Your Franchise Offering
When you’re selling franchise territories, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate available territories and details of their make-up and value so an on-line system accessible wherever you are is essential as you could be at a franchise show or on the road.
3) Sharing Maps & Territory Information
When it comes to selling territories, you need a quick and easy method to share maps and other selected territory data to prospective franchisee candidates and also internal staff. Check how this would be achieved in any software you are considering; remember you will be doing it frequently so you need an efficient process.
4) Creating Territories & Dynamic Updating
You will need to be able to create or import territories and their associated “building blocks” such as postcodes or zipcodes. If you adjust a territory boundary, you then need to remember who may have a copy of the original map and send them an up-dated one – franchisees, prospective buyers, internal staff. Save hours of time if you have a system that automatically up-dates all other on-line maps without you having to do anything further.
5) Target Market Matching
A system should contain just the demographic or business data your business needs sitting behind territories and postcodes; this will let you generate heat maps based on varying customer profiles. Heat maps highlight concentrations of your target customers so your franchisees will know exactly where to target marketing and sales activity.
6) Website Maps
Many franchise companies like to have their territories displayed on their websites, either to show territory availability or to help customers find the nearest franchisee. Keeping these maps bang up-to-date all the time with details of new franchisees or boundary changes can be time consuming. A good territory management system will dynamically update website maps as soon as changes are made in the main system so no need to spend money with your website designer.
7) Marketing & Road Lists
When you need to get the word out about your franchise, the ability to provide instant road lists for the delivery of your advertising materials and then record and monitor the results of your campaigns will be critical to your success. Top quality territory software will allow you to accomplish both of these tasks with ease. It will also allow for the comprehensive analysis of territory demographics, so that your marketing activities can be planned with precision.
8) Anywhere Any Time Access
Your franchisees are everywhere, and your franchise software should be, too. It should offer an online system that can be accessed from anywhere a franchisee may be located, and at any time. Whether by iPad, Notebook or even a large smartphone
9) Multi-Brand & Multi-Country Capability
Another characteristic to look for in franchise software is the capability to handle multiple brands and countries within the same system. Even if not needed initially, when your operation grows, the software should grow with you, offering a range of options you can customise to extend your capability.
10) Centralised Information Storage
Often overlooked are the benefits of having a centralised database of customers and prospects with the franchisor having access to data from all territories and individual franchisees limited to data from their own territories. This is a great aid to marketing and sales as well as comparing territory performance so check if this option is available.
11) Your System Provider
The value of a territory system to your franchise organisation can be greatly enhanced by the right provider. Questions you should ask include:
- Are they experienced in working with franchise companies?
- Do they understand your business objectives and where you want to take your franchise?
- Can they translate such understanding into a practical, easy-to-use system for you?
- And if you don’t want to become a mapping expert (no easy feat when done properly), can they do parts of the work you don’t want to do?
- Do they understand the complexities of territory mapping?
- Can they advise on the specific data you might need? How is support provided; can you actually speak to a real person.
An Easy & Free Way to Optimise Performance
The road to getting a larger slice of the franchising pie can be fraught with challenges and obstacles. But when you have a better understanding of how to use your franchise data to gain a market advantage, and the right tools to take action, you can be even better positioned for success.
Our experts at Tech4T have created the ultimate tool to optimise your franchise’s performance and provide the most benefit to your franchisees. It’s called The Franchise Territory Optimisation Guide, and it contains all you need to know to optimise your franchise business. Discover how to restructure under-performing territories, analyse existing territories and much, much more. Click here to claim your copy.