Yearly Archives

2019

CEO’s Guide to Creating and Maintaining a Positive Culture in Franchising

By | Franchise Culture
Franchising Positive Culture

Business culture exists in every company, whether it’s managed effectively by the leadership team, or is the result of neglect.

A positive culture significantly impacts business productivity and profitability by enhancing team commitment to the goals of the enterprise. Conversely, a negative culture disrupts the ‘team spirit” and significantly reduces cooperation among team members, increases turnover, and reduces productivity.

In many ways, franchise organizations are even more dependent upon a positive culture than other business models. Franchisees are independent business owners, typically with entrepreneurial spirit, and less inclined to follow instructions than typical employees and managers. Many franchisors are looking for alternatives to the cop perception of franchisors, and want to make compliance a part of the culture.

To help franchisors in our community, Franchise Business Review, an independent market research firm that has partnered with over 1,100 top-performing franchisors, has created a guide, that will help you:

  • Learn about what culture means in the franchise context
  • Several real-life examples of culture programs in action of top franchisors
  • 12 steps on how to build a positive franchise culture

Download the free guide

Why Culture Matters in Franchise Systems

  • Increased engagement
  • Increased performance
  • Compliance is more likely
  • Creates consistent behaviors across the organization (because they WANT to)

Despite its critical importance to organizations, culture is frequently overlooked by leadership, and the result is an organization that lacks clarity and purpose. Leadership is responsible for the creation and maintenance of a positive culture that creates alignment of team behavior and company values, as well as aligns individual employee goals with those of the enterprise.

The best leaders personify their vision, mission, and passion. Only through authentic values and principles can you provide clear organizational expectations that drive norms and motivate employees at all levels.

6 Elements of “Leader” Driven Culture

  1. Vision – a leader’s basic job.
  2. Mission – innovative and inspirational.
  3. Relationship – lead by example.
  4. Employees – must align team goals and objectives with company values and mission.
  5. Accessibility – continually connect and share knowledge with the team.
  6. Business Acumen – strong skills for today’s business environment.

 

Ready to Make Positive Culture a Priority?

In many ways, franchising IS culture. The same attitude, the same behavior, the same tools, even the same words used in each franchise location, impart the culture of the brand. Each location may have some flexibility in how they deliver service, but they can’t be so far from the standard to undermine the underlying franchise brand “culture” as perceived by their customers.

This eBook will examine the three foundational components of a positive culture—and provide practical advice for franchise leadership teams for creating and maintaining a culture that leads to greater productivity and profitability.

 

Download the free guide

Capture franchisees’ feedback on your culture and franchise community with Franchise Business Review’s Franchisee Satisfaction Surveys, and measure and improve employee engagement and franchise culture at the corporate and/or franchisee level with Employee Satisfaction Surveys.

Michelle Rowan FBR

About the Author: Michelle Rowan

Michelle is the president of FBR, vice chair of the International Franchise Association Women’s Franchise Committee, and a Certified Franchise Executive. She has facilitated CEO Performance Groups and Executive Networking Groups and is also a mentor of UNH college students. When she is not at work she is usually reading, playing outside, or hanging out with her husband and daughter.

8 Important Automotive KPIs

By | Automotive, KPI
automotive kpi

According to Franchise Direct, there’s almost 32,000 auto franchise units among over 100 concepts currently operating in the United States. These concepts include aftermarket parts and accessories, maintenance and repair and cosmetic and paint. We took a look at the most important KPIs in this segment of the franchise community.

Sales and Marketing

Star Rating

87% of consumers will not consider working with a business with only 1-2 stars, according to SearchEngineLand. Franchisees who don’t stay on top of reviews could pay a heavy price. Tracking their star rating on Google, Yelp and similar sites is a key marketing metric.

Quote Capture Rate

Quote capture rate helps you track what percent of people are buying after they are quoted. If this number is too low, dig into sales or do some competitive analysis on what is happening in the local market.

Quote Capture Rate = Total Sales ÷ Total Quotes

Customer Acquisition Rate

A strong automotive business has a combination of new customers and retained customers. The customer acquisition rate, as a ratio, tells you how good the business is at sales. In the world of “hunters vs. farmers”, these are the hunters.

Customer Acquisition Rate = New Customers ÷ Total Customers

Operations

Customer Retention Rate

As a complement to the sales metric above, the customer retention rate tracks how well your service team is performing. Automotive businesses rely on repeat customers, so you want to keep this KPI strong.

Customer Retention Rate = Repeat Customers ÷ Total Customers (a complement to customer acquisition rate)

Productivity

Productivity measures how much free time your technicians have. If this is low, it shows there is not enough work to support the staff that you have.

Productivity = Hours Clocked ÷ Hours Available

Efficiency %

If a tech takes 4 hours to complete a 5 hour repair, his efficiency is 125%. This number tells you about the systems you have in place, the accuracy of quotes and your team performance as a whole.

Efficiency % = Sold Hours ÷ Worked Hours x 100

Sales Mix %

As a franchisor, you may see advantages of franchisees performing one service over another. Usually these services are higher-margin and can enhance the profitability of the business overall.

Sales Mix % = Revenue from X Service ÷ Total Revenue x 100

Cycle Time

Cycle time can be measured in many ways, but the most practical one according to experts is from time from drop-off to delivery. This can be measured based on the POS or other operational systems.

 



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10 Important KPIs for Education

By | Education, KPI

In education, tutoring and children’s services, you want to have your students to have good habits. But sometimes it is worthwhile to take a look at your own habits. Is your business getting an A+? Also, what habits will predict success? After years of experience and looking at dozens of franchised businesses, we compiled the list of KPIs below.

Sales and Marketing

Cost/Lead

Cost/Lead is an important metric for any small business and is best done both overall, and by marketing method that are popular in education such as Pay Per Click (PPC), Social, Direct Mail, Events etc. Start by tracking it overall, and the buckets can be added on over time. The Home Office should set cost/lead depending on the economics of the business and the franchisees can follow. This is a great way to benefit from the “network effect” in the franchise model. When counting leads, you want to focus on the qualified one, not ones with incomplete information or ones that are vendors trying to sell you something. It should only be people who want to buy your services.

Cost/Lead =(Total Marketing Cost)/(Total Qualified Leads)

Leads

This simple metric reflects the overall health of the business. Year Over Year (YOY) comparisons are useful in education businesses, since they are seasonal depending on the school year and standardized tests.

Trials

Many education businesses focus on trials giving potential customers a “taste” through one free class or a trial. Having a goal for trials for your franchisee is a fantastic way to encourage them to keep momentum within the business. Seasonally, they will wax and wane but there is always opportunity for momentum.

Trial Conversion

Trial conversion measures a few things. It looks at the experience of the trial – did you have the best coach work with that student, and did they get a good outcome? It also measures the sales process after the trial is done. Trial conversion can vary widely depending on the individuals in your organization, so it is definitely worth studying. Some organizations also choose to do deeper qualitative research on former trials.

Trial Conversion = (New Students for Period)/(Trials for the Period) 

Students Created

Having a regular flow of students keeps the environment vibrant and lively. Benchmarking these across franchises can also create a healthy sense of competition.

Operations

Attendance %

While some see low attendance as a good thing – since students are paying but not attending means facilities are not used as much yet the business is still making revenue. But this attitude is outdated. Having students attend regularly means they will come back, instead of losing interest in the program. Also – parents will leave more positive reviews.

Attendance %=(Total Attended)/(total Scheduled)

Churn %

Churn rate, also known as the rate of attrition, is the percentage of users who stop using your services within a given period. In these competitive times where customers have a myriad of options, it is good to watch this number closely.

Churn %=((Students at Beginning)-(Students at End))/(Students at Beginning)

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS is a customer loyalty metric which rates customers as a Promoter, Detractor or Neutral depending on their answer to the following question: “How likely would you be to recommend us to a friend or family member?” on a 10-point scale. Promoters are 9-10, Neutrals are 7-8 and Detractors are 0-6. It can be calculated as follows:

NPS =  (%Promoters)-(%Detractors)

CSAT is also a popular way to measure customer satisfaction

Coaches or Tutors

Hours Taught

Hours taught tracks the operational side of the business, and does not depend on payment plans etc. This is another metric that varies with the seasons and is better to be compared YOY.

NPS/Coach

Tracking NPS/coach helps you determine which coaches are stronger. It then stands to reason that your overall NPS will get higher if you put those popular coaches on more shifts. To calculate, attribute the NPS to each individual coach. You may need to extend the period if there are a lower number of survey responses.

Get More Educated

Looking for more KPIs for your Franchise? Look at our post on how to use KPIs in Franchising.



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15 Important Restaurant KPIs

By | Franchisee Scorecard, KPI, Restaurants
Restaurant KPIs

The majority of restaurants are franchised. The 2012 US Economic Census numbers say: “the estimated 122,042 limited-service franchise restaurants (NAICS 722513) make up approximately 54 percent of all fast-food restaurants in the United States, nearly 70 percent of the sales of fast-food restaurants ($185.4 billion), and about 73 percent of the employment of fast-food restaurants (3.6 million).”

So – how do you effectively manage a restaurant in terms of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the franchising environment. See our list of 15 helpful KPIs below.

Sales and Marketing

Average Online Rating

With 91% of 18-34 year olds trusting online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and consumers willing to pay 31% more on a business with positive reviews, there is a great reason why this should top the list for restaurant KPIs. The average star rating, along with the number of ratings within the last month or quarter is the right place to start.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS is a customer loyalty metric which rates customers as a Promoter, Detractor or Neutral depending on their answer to the following question: “How likely would you be to recommend us to a friend or family member?” on a 10-point scale. Promoters are 9-10, Neutrals are 7-8 and Detractors are 0-6. It can be calculated as follows:

NPS =  (%Promoters)-(%Detractors)

CSAT is also a popular way to measure customer satisfaction.

Number of Transactions

Number of transactions is a way to assess customer count. This can typically be retrieved from your Point of Sale (POS) system.

Average Check Size

Some restaurants prefer looking at this simple metric over worrying about upsell metrics. Essentially, a strong average check size shows that the location is getting more from each of their customers. It can be calculated as follows:

Average Check Size=(Total Sales)/(Total Transactions)

Number of New Loyalty Program Members or App Downloads

Loyalty programs and apps matter in the restaurant space, since increasing retention by just 5% through customer loyalty programs can boost revenue by 25 to 95%. Measuring this helps keep the franchisee’s eye on the ball when it comes to this vital activity. Another way to look at this is % of transactions using the loyalty app.

Service

Speed of Service

This is a great one for increasingly time-starved customers, and it does not require any new data points. Measure this automatically from time the customer walks in or drives up to your restaurant through the  POS, to the time when the food is delivered to them based on your kitchen display system. Some compare this to NPS as well.

Speed of Service=(Food Order Time)-(Food Delivery Time)

Customer Retention Rate (CRR)

Customer retention rates vary greatly depending on the location and the size of the restaurant. For example, you would expect the CRR at a location at the airport to be low, given the audience in transition. This metric can be measured using the following formula:

CRR=((#of customers at the end of the period)-(# of new customers for that period))/(# of customers at the start of the period)

RevPASH (Revenue per available seat per hour)

If your franchisees have empty seats, their profitability is likely suffering. If you watch this metric hour by hour, you can make adjustments to improve the bottom line.

RevPASH=(Revenue/hour)/((Available Seats)/(hour))

% Online Orders

With Off Premise sales becoming such a major part of franchising, this is a great metric to start with. The only caution is that you don’t want to punish those that are growing their revenue in the traditional business. Online orders also tend to have a bigger check size.

% Online Orders = (Online Order Sales)/(Total Sales)

Expenses

% Labor Costs

You may want to split your hourly staff wages versus your manager wages. Some owners-operator franchisees pay themselves a salary. Others pay themselves a dividend out of the profits for tax purposes. By carving out hourly wages into a separate entry, values become more comparable when benchmarked against the system.

% Hourly Labor Costs = (Hourly Labor Costs)/(Total Revenue)

% Food Costs

You should have the actual cost of the items you sold in that period so that you’re properly evaluating profitability. However, some systems don’t have this data easily on hand and they make an approximation using ‘purchases’ during that period. These two numbers don’t necessarily align, so be careful. Make sure you use consistent information for each unit.

% Food Costs = (Purchases)/(Total Revenue)

% of a Strategic Category

Some franchise systems have a very successful category with great profitability, such as soft drinks. Selling a bigger percentage of soft drinks, or whichever that category is within your system is a great start.

% of a Strategic Category = (Category Sales)/(Total Sales)

Food Cost Variance

A metric a lot of franchisors are talking about today is the actual cost of food compared to the planned cost. Tracking this helps track forecasting and handling fluctuations in certain costs such as beef in the future.

Food Cost Variance = (Actual Food Cost)/(Planned Food Cost)

Employees

Employee Turnover Rate (ETR)

Every industry has to deal with turnover, and it is a good idea to determine what is an “acceptable” number in your system.

ETR= (# of employees who left in that period)/((# of employees at the beginning) + (# of employees at the end))/2

eNPS

Similar to Net Promoter Score for customers, above, the Employee Net Promoter score can help you understand how happy your team is. Though some franchisees are hesitant about measuring employees this way, it can add insight – and happy front-line employees mean happy customers.

Ready to Go Further?

Looking for more KPIs for your Franchise? Look at our post on how to use KPIs in Franchising. If you are ready to go one step further, check out our eBook: Ultimate Guide to Franchisee Scorecards.



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357 Franchise Field Audit Questions

By | Franchise Audits, Franchise Coaching

Are you looking for inspiration on your field audits? You are not alone. In fact, people have been asking for audit question resources since we started the company 12 years ago.

  • To meet the demand, we created a comprehensive resource, where you will get sample questions from the top franchisors around the world, and much more:
    357 Field Audit Questions including Customer Service, Marketing, Food Safety and Quality, Cleanliness and Management.
  • How to make sure that your questions link back to your processes.
  • How to “audit your audit”, ensuring it is as effective as possible.
  • Where to find your processes – it is easier than you think!

How to Resolve Franchisee Problems Effectively

By | Brand Consistency, Field Audits
resolve franchisee problems

It is true, when selling a franchise we sell systems, and then we coach them on how to navigate through those systems. But, what happens when there is a problem? This model of franchisee problem solving starts with determining if the franchisee problem is actually important. Surprisingly, sometimes you can determine that the franchisee may not be following the system perfectly, but it doesn’t really matter that much in the big picture. If it is a problem, then it is either a skill deficiency or a knowledge deficiency. If it is skill, then there should be some sort of training – executed by the training team, or by the coach themselves. If it is a knowledge deficiency – you want to figure out if it is a case of simply providing the information that the franchisee needs,or if you need to go into performance management.

This highly rational process is great to share with both new franchise coaches and experienced ones alike. It is also a positive spin on problem resolution. Instead of starting up a round of no one’s favorite activity: the “blame game” between franchisor and franchisee, going through this process analyzes what is going on, and moves towards a solution.

Franchisee Problem Resolution Process

When a franchisor first starts, the first question is often, “how do I sell more franchises?” Once that goal is achieved, there is a next challenge, “how do I solve problems with the franchisees that I have?” As with many phases in business, one challenge is often followed by a new, and sometimes even more difficult obstacle to overcome. In this post, we will take a look at a simple but powerful process for solving franchisee problems. We also worked with some of our friends in the franchising community to enrich the article with experiences.

Now for the fun part, let’s look at some examples:

Signage Example

Due to the popularity of off-premise sales, all stores are required to have a “Online Pick-up” sign. During an audit, the FBC saw that the store did not have that sign or a special area at all.

Is it a problem?

Yes – the fastest growing stores include online ordering. The store is also struggling to reach their growth goals.

Is it a skills deficiency or a knowledge deficiency?

Skills: The franchisee was more established in the system, and was not aware of this change. The FBC took some time explaining the benefits of off-premise, and talked about one of the franchisees long-time friends who was gaining a lot of traction in this area. After getting a post-audit task via e-mail, they promptly ordered as sign and created the designated area.

Outcome

Although the franchisee was violating the system, it was a more recent development, and they made the change promptly. It also gave the FBC some time to educate them on the off-premise opportunity, and get them engaged in the idea.

Customer Service Example

A customer calls into Home Office complaining that the franchisee is not picking up the phone. The receptionist smartly takes the order over the phone and e-mails it urgently to the franchisee. However, the Franchise Business Coach (FBC) has a problem. 

Is it a problem?

Yes – taking customer orders through the phone is key to the business.

Is it a skills deficiency or a knowledge deficiency?

Both: the FBC connected with the franchisee, and found that they did their customer calls at night, and could not pick up the phone. They followed the appropriate process in that they did not answer the phone while with a customer. However, the franchisee also did not check their voicemail regularly to call customers back in a timely manner. They knew that this was a bad habit, and that it violated the system – but sadly they did not see themselves making a change. 

Outcome 

The FBC recommended that the franchisee work with an answering service to resolve this problem. This way, calls get answered without the need for the franchisee to “break the flow” of their conversation on site with the customer.

Learning

Going through the process this way helped build a stronger relationship with the franchisee, and helped the FBC understand them better (such as a dislike for multitasking).

Sales and Marketing Example

Franchisee was using out of date marketing material which included an old logo and outdated message points.

Is it important?

Yes – keeping marketing material current is key to a strong brand.

Is it a skills deficiency or a knowledge deficiency?

Knowledge: The FBC discussed the issue with the franchisee, and discovered that she was putting saving costs ahead of keeping the brand consistent. Years earlier, she had invested in a large amount of flyers due to the economies of scale with printing. But, now those flyers were holding the business back from complying with brand standards. The FBC worked with the Marketing team to help the franchisee understand the importance of a consistent brand, and Marketing provided a recommendation of approved vendors who did smaller printing runs so this would not happen in the future.

Outcome

Due to this handling of the issue by everyone involved, the franchisee became an advocate in her region about brand consistency. Treating it fairly helped strengthen the system as a whole.

Parting Thoughts

This simple and smart process can help your franchise on many levels. It is also even better if it is automated. Check out FranchiseBlast’s brand consistency tools, which includes post-audit tasks, to learn more.



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7 Common Franchise Business Plan Mistakes

By | Franchise Business Plans, Franchise Coaching
Franchise Business Plan Mistakes
Making a mistake in franchising is both painful and embarrassing – especially when you really care about your franchisees and their success. So… as a Franchise Business Coach, are you really setting your franchisees up for success with their franchise business plan or are you just going through a “tick-box exercise”? We discussed planning with several franchisors, and we came up with some of the biggest mistakes, and how you can avoid them.

1. Mistaking Cash for Profits 

Franchisors around the world have been focusing on franchisee profitability over the years, but it is good to remember that cash flow is very important in any small business. Profit is an accounting concept and not necessarily money in the bank. You want to make sure that you are tracking both as you are balancing cash-in and cash-out with your franchisee.

2. Ignoring the Bad Year Before 

An experienced franchisee knows the long-term ups and down. If you have owned a business, you also know that it can sap the motivation right out of you and you can start the year feeling like a deflated balloon. A wise franchisor once told me at an IFA Convention: “To help the franchise out, tap into why the bought the franchise in the first place. Were they creating a vacation fund, a life of more abundance or a legacy for themselves? Reharness that energy to help them overcome that challenge and move to the next phase.”

3. Not Sweating the Details

You want to get the details right. In fact, the value of the franchise business plan is to understand details including who is doing what, and when that is going to happen. Business planning is the opposite to throwing caution to the wind, it is a time to sit down and look at the specific key results that will link to each objective or goal, and who is accountable for each. This helps understand workload and balance it out for everyone. Contrary to the popular book, in this case, you DO want to sweat the small stuff!

4. Hitching their Wagon to the Franchisor’s Star

As discussed earlier, franchisees hitching their wagon to the franchisor’s star will not help them in the long run. Franchisees are much more likely to be successful if there is a personal element to their plan, such as saving for another unit or becoming a mentor to others.

5. Overvaluing Experimental Ideas 

While it is exciting to work on a new initiative, such as a National Account or a new SMS Marketing initiative, overvaluing projected results to be at their most optimistic level will not help the franchisee in the long run. Before you know it, when the campaign plays out to a below-par result, the finger-pointing will begin. Be conservative with the projected results of the campaign, and then if they are better at the end of the day, you will be pleasantly surprised.

6. Not Experiencing New Initiatives 

Sometimes a franchisee needs to see to believe in terms of recommended elements in the franchise business plan. Code Ninjas, for example, has franchisees attend two grand openings before they go live themselves, and one after. This not only creates a realistic expectations, but it also helps with the practical side of budgeting to have the event that is right for them.

7. Mistaking Deviation for Adaptation 

Sometimes a franchisee will have a creative initiative in the plan, which can be a good thing. People have to adapt to their market, such as McDonald’s Teriyaki burger in Japan, or serving wine in France. However, sometimes those initiatives will deviate from the Franchise, and create confusion in the market about the brand. When looking at initiatives, you want to understand if it is bringing the brand forward, or setting it backwards.

Last Word 

Planning the right way means tracking progress throughout the year. Check out FranchiseBlast’s Audit and Brand Consistency tools to learn more about tracking progress along the way.


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6 Tips to Keep Franchisees Motivated Throughout the Year

By | Franchise Business Plans, Franchise Engagement
franchisees motivated

Did you start your New Year’s resolution to create a franchise business plan across your system? Guess what – it is half-way through the year.

Question… how are those plans going?

While most franchisors recognize the value of franchise business plans, with competing priorities, they can be hard to stick to.

The good news is, we are not down to the wire. It is not too late. Your franchisees can still achieve their goals – but they have to start now!

So get energized and get focused on these 6 actionable ways for franchisees to stay motivated towards their goals.

1. Leverage Triumphant Franchisee Stories

In the daily grind, sometimes it is hard for franchisees to stay motivated. Hearing stories of fellow operators who pulled through a challenge and succeeded can be a fantastic way to motivate. This can be done through webinars, pictures in one of your regular eBlasts or even through internal social media.

2. Encourage a Healthy Routine

Exercise, nutrition and sleep are fantastic for mental and physical help. Exercise alone has been scientifically proven to create more confidence and a more positive demeanor. Some franchisors have taken this idea and ran with it, creating fitness contests for their franchisees, encouraging them to submit a new healthy habit to be put into a draw, for example. Everyone likes to do business with someone who is healthy and confident, so this will be positive for the system as a whole.

3. Reward Regions on Achieving Milestones

Milestones are so important when it comes to motivation. In franchising, we have the unique opportunity to reward whole regions! This could be with an appealing Marketing initiative from the Adfund that would boost business further, such as money towards exhibiting at a prestigious regional show. It could also mean a visit from the CEO, or a motivating learning opportunity. Rewarding a region will also create harmony there, which helps everyone, including your customers!

4. Encourage Personal Time

With an increasing mountain of workloads and an “always on” culture, sometimes we lose track of our franchisees and what is going on in their lives. We have discussed before on this blog about co-creating plans and keeping the personal in mind. You may want to remind franchises to have a little personal time – whether it is getting out fishing, going to the game on the weekend or practicing yoga, asking about these activities can cement relationships and help prevent franchisee-burnout.

5. Remain Positive

It can sound trite, but it has to be said. Although franchise networks can be an incredible support structure, sometimes they can also get negative. The stakes are high – getting into a negative mindset can hurt even the most successful business. It is important to listen and respond to challenges, but you also want to balance that with a bright view of the future and a clear vision of where the franchisee can go. Introducing franchisees to a group of positive friends can make a world of difference, if they are open to it.

6. Set Reminders

Part of staying motivated is having reminders on what to do. We spend so much time distracted by reminders, having ones that keep the franchisees focused on the business can “break through the clutter”. You can do this with software, with FranchiseBlast’s automatic reminder system, for example.

Last Word

Ready to learn more about franchise business planning? Check out our collection of articles here.



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Databox: Top Marketing KPIs

By | News

We are pleased to be featured on the databox blog on 28 Advertising KPIs that Every Marketer Should be Tracking. These list the top Marketing KPIs, and are definitely worth a read. Sr. Marketing Director, Stefania Sigurdson Forbes says:

“If you’re only going to track one metric, I would recommend tracking cost per lead (CPL),” says Stefania Sigurdson Forbes of FranchiseBlast. “It is your North Star.” 

“Qualified leads are people who are looking for your product and are qualified to buy it; vendors contacting you or spam don’t count.”

“The disadvantage of this metric is that if you are not spending on media, it doesn’t work. It also reflects the media type that you are using, not just the quality of your site.”

To learn about how to track Marketing KPIs in your franchise, check out FranchiseBlast’s performance tools.