1. A Convoluted Approvals Process (a.k.a. Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen)
Making your franchisees jump through hoops to get their proposals approved might keep branding consistent, but it will almost certainly delay sales conversations and lead to a loss of revenue.
If every proposal has to pass across the desk of an insanely busy person (it could be you, or it could be a BDC or director of marketing or it could be multiple people), there’s going to be a stalemate at some point. As soon as proposal numbers start ramping up, the designated approver is going to quickly get overwhelmed as they juggle this task with their other responsibilities.
How to Overcome a Convoluted Approval Process
Standardize, standardize, standardize.
Give everyone peace of mind with clear sales proposal parameters. Create a stock document like a proposal template that franchisees can tweak and send out without needing to get approval from the higher-ups every step of the way.
Having a core proposal template that everyone can work from will take the pressure off designated approvers too, particularly if there are lots of small-deal docs passing across their desks.
2. Franchisees Reinventing the Wheel with Every Proposal
If your franchisees are creating a new Word Doc or—gulp—printing out and hand-delivering paper quotes for every proposal, you could be losing hours of productivity. Even if franchisees are taking an old version and replacing names and pricing it’s a time-suck.
The manual work involved in copy-pasting existing sections, swapping out confidential information, and updating each proposal to reflect the opportunity is… a lot. It’s repetitive and time-consuming at best, and a total productivity destroyer at worst. And yes, it means fewer proposals and deals closed. There are only so many hours in a day.
How to Overcome Franchisees Reinventing the Wheel
Franchisees don’t need to reinvent the wheel if the wheel has already been created and approved. Ditch the Word Docs, spreadsheets, and paper quotes in favour of a central source of truth like a content library where all relevant parties can access the right files at the right time.
With a standardized format, franchisees can drag and drop the right info into each new proposal without needing to copy-paste from a previous version (we all know how Word handles that).
3. Multiple Versions of the Same Doc
Sales_Proposal_v1, Sales_Proposal_v4, and Sales_Proposal_v25.
You’ll usually find some variation of these buried deep in a 100-message-long email thread (or not find them, as the case may be). The risk in using Word Docs and other standalone doc tools is you end up with multiple versions of the same proposal that have been touched by many, many hands.
Is v1 is the right one? Or v25? Just finding out that information alone can take time, especially if your franchisees have to ask someone else for the answer. It’s a colossal waste of time and a fast-track ticket to human error (what if v2 gets sent to the client instead of v5?).
And look, we get it. A lot of people grew up on Word Docs (including us!). It’s the warm, familiar blanket of doc tools—we’re not knocking that. But comfort leads to complacency when there could be a much better solution.
How to Overcome Dealing with Multiple Versions of the Same Doc
The solution here is simple: don’t create multiple versions of the same proposal.
If you need a lot of eyeballs on a proposal, consider creating one master template that everyone can access and storing it in an easy-to-access, central place. Unlike Word Docs which tend to get lost in chaotic file systems on different devices, cloud-based proposals provide just one file to edit, tweak, and work on.
4. Over-Extended One-Person Franchisees
A lot of franchisees are solopreneurs. They not only manage the sales process, but they’re also out in the field performing the work. They’re spread very thin and have fingers in different pies. When they’re doing the work, they can’t be sitting at their desk sending proposals and vice versa.
And so it quickly becomes a bottleneck.
One-person franchisees can only get through so many proposals a week, and they’ll often set aside an hour or two to focus on the task. Timing is of the essence with proposals, so if this schedule is sporadic (which, let’s face it, it usually is), there’s a good chance prospects will go elsewhere.
How to Overcome Over-Extended One-Person Franchisees
In an ideal world, you’d employ a designated sales pro at each franchisee location. They would handle prospecting, proposals, and sales conversations. But obviously, that’s not always doable.
The next best thing is a tool that cuts down the amount of time franchisees spend on sales. The less time they spend formatting Word Docs and copy-pasting past versions, the more time they have to grow customer relationships and find more leads.
5. Lack of Transparency Around Franchisee Performance
Franchisors often experience what we call a “black box”, where they struggle to get a full, transparent view of each franchisee’s sales performance. They don’t know the exact number of leads franchisees are closing, what objections are cropping up, and which leads are most likely to turn into customers.
If they do have performance insights, it’s usually via a complex, in-depth CRM that they rely on franchisees using too (a.k.a. another task on their to-do list). Failure to understand why leads aren’t converting or what common objections are can lead to confusion about the entire franchise sales process and make it tricky to move forward.
How to Overcome a Lack of Transparency Around Franchisee Performance
Creating one source of truth where all signed proposals, lead objections, and conversations are stored helps you and your franchisees understand where business adjustments might need to be made. It can help you identify which franchisees might need more support or coaching, and what isn’t working in their proposals. This means they can make quick changes to reduce the number of proposal bottlenecks.
Banish Bottlenecks for Good
To eliminate bottlenecks in all shapes and sizes, your franchisee proposal process needs to be speedy without losing quality. Get rid of manual documents, multiple versions of the same files, and clunky copy-paste jobs by implementing one main tool.
With proposal software like Proposify, you can create boilerplate content, shareable branded templates, and a central style guide that allows franchisees to set up and send on-brand proposals quickly and efficiently.
Release control with a system that gives your franchisees autonomy to send proposals on their own schedule without waiting for head-office feedback or approval from higher-ups.
And do it in a way that doesn’t muddy your brand or dilute your values and pricing. Set proposal parameters across your entire franchisee network so no one location tries to reinvent the wheel.