Crafting the perfect pitch is only part of the challenge. For hyperlocal vendors trying to generate traction in a crowded marketplace, being able to locate the best point of contact at each of the individual companies being pitched is an incredibly important part of the sales process. After all, a pitch that goes to the wrong person is one that will likely end up in the trash. Franchises, in particular, can be difficult for vendors to navigate. With so many layers of management at both the local and national levels—and some franchises favoring cooperative advertising, while others are leaving decisions up to corporate executives—trying to find the right point of contact can be an especially daunting task.
Here are four strategies for finding the right person to pitch at a franchise organization, from hyperlocal executives who’ve had success targeting businesses in the industry.
1. Go the corporate route. “You used to be able to engage and test with a franchise group, then go to corporate, but lately it seems that many times corporate will be ahead of the franchisees and you may lose out. As far as who to contact, it seems to be a mix of marketing and IT right now. We try to meet the CMO and CTO, plus the person in charge of their loyalty and gift card programs. If payments are involved we involve the CFO and or the controller. We [make contacts] at conventions, meetings, and trade shows, plus sales and business development people have industry relationships that we network with to get introductions.” (Karen Moritzky, Mocapay)
2. Start with the marketing department. “For B2B service providers like Pirq, the marketing department is a good place to start, although I’ve also had a good response from contacting CEOs directly. It’s pretty easy to conduct a few searches via Google or LinkedIn to determine who is the correct contact person within a given organization. Corporate numbers and email addresses are pretty easy to locate, as well. I prefer to use email as my first point of contact. I’ll send a short, succinct, to-the-point email that provides an overview of our service, an example about how our service can benefit their specific business, and of course a call-to-action which typically includes a call or meeting for a product demo.” (Keegan Hall, Pirq)
3. Look for an executive with something to gain. “Online scheduling is about convenience and ease-of-use, but it’s also very much about growing your business. So, we’ve found success talking to people who are responsible for converting website visitors into customers. For franchise organizations, that’s usually someone in corporate marketing. We’ve had our best success when you find the person you are going to make a ‘hero’ in the organization.” (Bill Lange, Full Slate)
4. Take advantage of LinkedIn. “Research is important so you can understand the dynamic and hierarchy of the organization you’re reaching out to. LinkedIn is a helpful resource. You’d also be surprised how many people overlook the company’s own website. There’s usually a lot of information including direct contact information. When you put the work into finding the right person, chances are, you’ll receive a more thoughtful response and set the foundation for building a relationship. Providing visuals or sending easily digestible materials is also helpful. PaperG’s technology is such that we’re able to send customized materials like artwork or an ad creative example so potential partners are quickly able to assess the opportunity and are therefore much more likely to respond.” (Brooke Frederick, PaperG)
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.