Beautiful accounting software INDUSTRY MARKETING PLAYBOOK: FRANCHISES INDUSTRY PLAYBOOK: FRANCHISES What is marketing? 1 Why a pl...
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Beautiful accounting software




What is marketing?


Why a playbook?


Play 1: Know your target market


   What’s unique about their needs? 2–3 Play 2: Match the product with their needs


   What are the benefits of Xero for franchises?


Play 3: Your elevator pitch


Play 4: Go to them; don’t wait for them to come to you


Play 5: Make yourself heard


   Mail 7     Social Media 8     Blog 9     Search engine marketing (SEM) 10     Digital display ads 10     Landing page 11     Sponsorship 11     Brochure 12 Play 6: Always add value


Wrap up


Appendix – Xero Branding



WHAT IS MARKETING? • The combined disciplines of sales, public relations, pricing, packaging, promotion and distribution. •  The act of connecting clients to services. •  Everything you do to place your product or service in the hands of potential clients. • Your strategy for allocating resources (time and money) in order to achieve your objectives (a fair profit for supplying a good product or service). Marketing is all about communications – your success is dependent on your ability to communicate the benefits of your services to your clients. Industry marketing is effective because it’s so efficient. By marketing to a group of organizations with similar needs, you achieve economies of scale in your marketing efforts.

WHY A PLAYBOOK? Xero wants to help you grow your practice so we have developed a marketing tool that takes you through the steps to successfully market your practice to franchises – both franchisors and franchisees. Follow each of the plays outlined here to connect and engage with the franchise industry, selling your services along with the benefits of Xero.




KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET Franchising is about replicating and selling a proven business model. Franchises can be any type of business from fast-food restaurants and convenience stores, to real estate and tax services. Well-known worldwide franchises include McDonalds, Subway, Hertz and Hilton Hotels. Franchisors are successful business owners who have proven they have a business model that works for a particular product or service. They’d like to expand their business, but don’t want to invest their money, time and resource into doing it so they set up a franchise. Franchisees want to own and run their own business but may not want to start from scratch. Buying a franchise can be an attractive way to get into business with the support of the franchisor and a proven business model. This also includes the brand name, the business systems and processes. What’s unique about their needs? Franchisors put the reputation of their brand on the line every time they license a franchise, so they put huge value into standardization, consistency and uniformity. This means being in control of business functions that are critical to the ongoing success of the franchise network as a whole – financial performance is a key factor. Franchisees pay an initial fee to the franchisors; this gives them ownership of the business for a set period of time – typically three to five years. Franchisors may then receive monthly fees from the franchisees as



payment for support and marketing. Although franchisees technically own their business, franchisors need to have visibility across all aspects of the business in order to support the franchisees. Having comprehensive reporting tools allows franchisors to proactively monitor their different franchises and provide support and advice where needed, before potential issues become large and unmanageable. It’s also important to have a standard chart of accounts across the entire franchise network, so the franchisor can accurately compare between all the different franchises. Some franchisors will provide business coaching and work with their franchisees to set key performance indicators (KPIs). These are benchmarked against successful franchises in their network. Having visibility across all franchises in real-time ensures the KPIs are being met. Franchisors may not have the experience or capacity to provide business coaching or to develop KPIs with their franchises, so this is where you can offer real added value. Many franchisees tend to focus on operations, while the administration and finance side (the often painful parts of running a business) can be neglected. Franchisees, like many small businesses, are very susceptible to fluctuations in cashflow, so they need know what money’s coming in and what’s going out and when. But they don’t want to be spending all their time on the numbers – they want to be running and improving their franchise. Franchisees tend to have both permanent and casual employees and need to know they always have the money to cover payroll, on top of the usual monthly fixed costs including rent, insurance and their franchise fee. Franchisors and franchisees require different things from you as their accountant and business advisor. Franchisors tend to operate larger businesses (the ‘head office’) and would look to you to provide strategic tools and guidance to help them improve and grow i.e. consolidated reporting of the franchise including their aggregated and ranked KPI performance. Most franchisees require guidance around their day-to-day operations, managing their cashflow and ensuring they have the appropriate tools to grow their franchise/s. If they own a number of franchises, they would also need consolidated financials including KPIs, benchmarking, cashflow forecasting and performance dashboards for managers. Although franchisors provide all the procedures and processes to franchisees to run their business, many can tend to be ‘hands-off’ and don’t always provide in-depth coaching and oversight. This is where you can come in.




MATCH THE PRODUCT WITH THEIR NEEDS When developing Xero, we wanted to create accounting software that was easy to use and provided real-time financials for businesses so they would always have the most up-to-date information to make business decisions. Because of this, franchisors love how they have financial visibility over their entire franchise network and franchisees love that they have easy to use tools to manage their day-to-day financials so they can concentrate on the products and services they’re providing their customers. What are the benefits of Xero for franchisors? Xero can be used anywhere at anytime - Franchisors can easily review their franchisees numbers in real-time without waiting for them to be sent through. Xero connects to banks - Xero imports all live transaction data from their banks so franchisors always have an up-to-date and accurate picture of their finances. Xero has reporting templates - Franchisors love that they are comparing apples with apples with across their entire franchise network, helping them identify real business problems, not ones caused by inconsistent reporting. Xero connects with KPI and benchmarking apps - Franchisors love the deeper insight they get into their franchise network’s financials by using add-ons like Spotlight Multi or Fathom Reporting. What are the benefits of Xero for franchisees? Xero is simple - Franchisees love that Xero is so easy to understand and easy to use with no software to install or maintain. One less thing to worry about when managing a franchise. Xero connects everyone - Franchisees and their franchisors can easily collaborate and the franchisor can provide immediate advice and coaching based on real-time data. Xero helps with benchmarking - Consistency in reporting means franchisees can benchmark their business against others in the network with confidence.




YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH You know your market and how Xero will meet their needs; now you need to wrap it up into a proposition that will speak to franchisors and franchisees. In a few short sentences you should be able to describe why you and Xero are a great combination for them. Franchisors “ You’re going to love Xero. It is accounting software that runs in the cloud. You just login and use it from any device, anywhere, whenever you want. You get real-time access to all the franchises in your network in one place. This means you can provide guidance and advice when it’s needed. Xero also connects with other online business software such as head-office consolidation, benchmarking tools and industry-specific solutions, so you can run your entire business in the cloud. And I can login to help you out, whenever you need me to. We will help you make your business a success.” Franchisees “ You’re going to love Xero. It is accounting software that runs in the cloud. You just login and use it from any device, anywhere, whenever you want. It makes managing the day-to-day finances of your business accurate and up-to-date. By connecting with your bank, your transactions appear in Xero without you needing to type them in one-by-one. And connects you more closely with your franchisors and your advisors. I can login to help you out, whenever you need me to. We will help you make your business a success.” Xero has done some of the work for you on our landing page – – so use this a reference to support your pitch.





GO TO THEM; DON’T WAIT FOR THEM TO COME TO YOU Look through your list of current clients. Do you have any franchises on your books? Have they already been converted to Xero? If not, why not? Do they know about Xero? Reach out to them. Also make contact with other franchises they know that are not current clients. A franchisee who uses Xero without it being mandated by the franchisor will be able to connect you with other franchisees in their network who aren’t currently on Xero. Reach out to franchises in your area. You will already know many of them, but doing research on Google will help you find others you may not know about. Most countries have a franchise association or franchise council. Get in contact with them to see how you can reach their members. Some may require you to become a corporate member before having access to their members. Others may allow you to advertise on their website or in their newsletter. Others may have events you could sponsor. Even if you don’t want to sponsor an event, make sure you have a presence at your regional and even national association events. Franchisors use these events to meet, network and compare notes. Finally, organize your own event such as an open house or a seminar, on how you can help franchisors and franchisees in their business. Topics could include: •  Doing business in the cloud •  The Xero ecosystem: how add-ons can improve how you do business • Moving your franchise network to Xero

Coco Cubano is transforming the way Australians see cafés and bars, and Xero is transforming the way Coco Cubano does accounting.




MAKE YOURSELF HEARD So, you’re ready to market your services to franchises. How are you going to make yourself heard? At Xero, we use a wide variety of marketing tools to reach potential customers. We don’t suggest every one is appropriate for you. Get familiar with the different tools and determine which one or combination would work best for your practice and provide you the greatest return on investment. Contact details Your database of current clients should have all the contact details for clients you want to contact via email or personalized letter. And any sponsorships of industry events or conferences should give you contact details for heaps of potential clients in the franchise industry. You will want to send a different email or letter to each of these groups, as some are already clients and others you’ve just met. Email Easy to set up, low cost and immediately measurable email is one of the simplest means of online communication. Group emails are best managed via specialized email software that enables you to manage your database, build templates for your emails, measure email campaigns and keep an accurate record of your email activity. This software does not replace your normal email programs (such as Outlook, Apple Mail etc.) used for individual email communication. We use Campaign Monitor, but there are free options as well, such as Mail Chimp. Direct mail A bit more old school than an email, there is something about receiving a personalized letter in the mail that people still like. And they are less likely to throw it out before reading. It is a more expensive option than email (printing, postage), but can be highly effective. Content So what do you say in your email or letter? If you’re writing to current clients, talk about the features and benefits of Xero to them, how you can work with them to make the switch and additional services you can offer once they make the switch. For potential clients, introduce yourself and your practice, talk about how Xero can save them time and money and how they can benefit from working with you and Xero.

Tip: In any marketing you do, always lead with your brand, because it should be about you and how you can help your clients. Xero features by the fact that you partner with us.


Sample email or letter: Xero is accounting software for people who aren’t accountants – people like you. The user-friendly design and intuitive interface turn the nightmare of doing the books into an easy task. With Xero, all your data is online. So you can have easy access to your data: anytime, anywhere, on any device. We use Xero to offer a range of services for franchises. If you just want to make sure your taxes are filed correctly and more efficiently at the end of each year, we can help you out. If you want a virtual CFO for your company to provide financial advice, we can help you with that too. Give us a call if you want to talk about what we can do for your company. Best regards Social media Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn let you create an online presence and publish your ideas, photos and videos. This is a great way to grab the attention of franchises who are already following you. They can then share your messages with their networks earning you fantastic (and free!) exposure. The more compelling and interesting your content is, the more likely you followers will like, comment and share. When they do this, they’re engaging with your brand and their networks (friends, family, colleagues) are seeing that engagement and may be prompted to check you out for their own accounting needs. The most challenging part of social media is resourcing. Each account that you create online needs to have a person on the other end to provide updates and respond to customer conversations. Don’t set up an account if you don’t think you’ll be able to keep it up-to-date. Twitter Twitter was originally marketed as a means to let people share what they are doing in real life, in real time “in between emails and blogs.” Twitter is now widely used by businesses to stay in touch with their customers and their competition. Use Twitter not just as a sales tool, but also as a way to communicate, share interesting news and information, provide customer service and just get to know your customers. Look at tweeting one to three times a day, but obviously only if you have something interesting to say or share (sharing can include retweeting relevant tweets from other sources). Don’t just tweet for the sake of it. Sample tweets •

From @shubooksandtax: Why you should make integrity a core pillar of your business

From @sleetergroup: Good info --> What Three Adjectives Describe Your Brand? Here’s How to Find Out

From @spotlightrep: Spotlight News - Google Integration, New UI, Great Videos, Xerocon Season! -




Facebook Facebook pages are for businesses and brands to share their stories and connect with people. People like your page and you keep them engaged with interesting and compelling posts. Let your followers know what you’re up to, show the human side of your practice, share interesting articles, ask questions and take polls. Show an interest in your followers and what is important to them. And always try to include an image with your post – it helps grab attention. Post on Facebook at least a couple of times a week, but never more than once a day. Your followers are busy people and you don’t want to overwhelm them with posts. Sample posts •

Weekly top tip for running your franchise more efficiently

Link to a great article on a successful franchise weathers downturns in the economy with your take on what it means for your clients

International trends in the franchise industry

LinkedIn LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community. The goal of the site is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally. Both franchisors and franchisees are active users of LinkedIn and participate frequently in discussions on one or more of the hundreds of groups set up for this sector. Find groups in your region and make sure you join the discussions. Become a thought leader in franchising and cloud accounting. Blog What is a blog? Simply put it is a section of a website that is used for regular updates of information and articles regarding topics important to your practice and your clients. A blog is a great forum to talk directly to your clients and potential clients and start conversations. They’re also easy to share across social media platforms. Most templates have the ability to add links to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ allowing you to encourage readers to post a link to your blog from these platforms. It’s simple – just add “Like this? Share ...” Most blog post are 200 - 400 words long and it is better to publish short, regular little paragraphs that are well written and relevant. Simply adding a photo, chart, illustration or any type of image can increase interest and readership. Just ensure you attribute any images that are not your own to the owner. Blogs take care and attention. Set yourself a goal to write two or three blogs a month. If you don’t think you have the resource to do that, then blogging may not be for you.

Use your blog to update clients with the latest news that affects them. And don’t always make it all about you.



Sample blog topics •  Top ten tips to make your franchise stand out in the network •  What it takes to start a franchise • How latest regulations/tax changes/industry developments effect your clients • Events you are holding/going to Search engine marketing (SEM) Search engine marketing is the practice of advertising your website within the paid areas of search engine result pages (SERP). Advertising in appears above and/or to the right-hand side of the search results. SEM has become very popular because of its cost-effectiveness – advertisers can get a lot of value from even tiny budgets. With SEM you have the ability to target your ads at precisely the market you’re hoping to reach with little wastage of spend on people outside the target market. For example, if you only want to reach franchises based in the UK, you can set your ad to only appear in front of people who are in San Francisco and searching specifically for franchise accounting. SEM is also cost-effective because you’re charged on a ‘cost-per-click’ basis. This means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You also set your own price – you specify how much you are willing to pay for a click through to your website. You can also put a cap on your spend, so there is no need to worry about a huge bill at the end of the month if your ad is too successful.

Search engine marketing is a cost-effective way to reach potential clients.

Getting started is easy and because you can put a cap on your budget, the risks are small. Both Google and Bing provide simple self-service platforms that allow you to get up and running within five minutes. Google AdWords: BingAds: Digital display ads Display advertising is a type of advertising that typically contains text (i.e. copy), logos, photographs or other images and similar items. Digital display ads are the ads you’ll see on websites as opposed to the text only ads used on search engines (SEM) You can target very specific audiences with digital display ads depending on where you choose to place them. Franchisors and franchisees tend to gravitate towards certain websites, read specific blogs and follow other franchises in their network and outside through social media. You can advertise on all of these platforms. Determine where you would like to advertise and the site will have information on cost, reach (how many people will see your ad), specs (the size and format of your ad) and how to book.

The tools you need to run your franchise Find out more

We created display ads that relate to the landing page you’re directed to when you click on the ad.



If you are going to spend money on digital display ads, then you want to spend time on the design to ensure that they stand out, in a good way. As with your website, first impressions are lasting impressions. Look at getting a designer who specializes in digital advertising to develop your ads. All digital ads should link directly to your website, and more specifically, your dedicated landing page (see below). This means that when someone clicks on the ad, it takes them directly to your site. It’s also a good idea to have an offer in the ad to entice the potential client to click to learn more. There are two ways websites charge for display ads. At a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost per click) rate. With CPM, for every thousand people who see your ad, you pay a certain price. Websites will provide their average impressions per page over a specific period in their media kits. Based on those averages, you can determine how long your ad will be displayed. With CPC, you only pay when someone has clicked on the ad and comes to your website. The more popular your ad, the more people will click and the more you will pay, however, you know you are achieving your objectives because people are clicking through to your site. Different websites will have different prices for CPM and CPC, so determine which websites would be best to target franchises in your area and then look at how they charge and how much they charge. Landing page A landing page is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search result or an online advertisement. The landing page will usually display information that directly relates to the search result or ad. The general goal of a landing page is to convert site visitors to sales leads. We encourage you to create a dedicated landing page to promote Xero and its benefits on your website, detailing just what Xero is and how it allows you to take the advisor-client relationship to the next level. As with your website, you’ll want to make sure your landing page is welldesigned in order to draw potential clients in as soon as they hit it. The designer who created your website would be a great choice to design your landing page as well. Your landing page should have a very clear call to action (CTA). Your CTA is what you want people to do when they land on your page. If you want them to contact you for more information, make sure you have your contact – We created this landing page specifically to attract franchises with the benefits important to both franchisors and franchisees.



details in a prominent position on your page and make it easy to link to your email/contact form. At Xero, we have created a number of landing pages targeting specific industries or to complement a promotion we are carrying out. We have created our own landing page to attract franchises – Sponsorship Sponsoring an industry event or conference is a great way to get in front of potential franchisors and franchisees. There are a number of events tailored specifically to franchises, so it is worthwhile taking the time to do some research online. Begin with franchise associations. If they don’t have information on events or conferences on their website, ring them and have a chat about where the best places to get in front of them is. Sponsorship can seem costly, but if the event is targeted directly at franchises, in close proximity to your office and the expected participant numbers are high, then it can definitely prove value for money. You can’t beat face-to-face interaction with potential clients.

Find out where franchisors and franchisees go and make sure you’re there as well. Get involved in the franchise association in your region.

We sponsor a number of events for franchises including the Franchise Expos in both New Zealand and Australia. We also attend conferences for specific franchise networks, ie McDonalds. Brochure

Your takeaway should be eye-catching, easy to read, clearly explain the benefits of your practice and using Xero, have a call to action alongside your contact information Our takeaway is ‘Why people love Xero’ ( media/161347/why_people_love_xero.pdf) that lists 10 reasons people love Xero on the front side. If you’d prefer to use ours instead of creating your own we supply these to Bronze and above partners for free.


SIMPLE. SMART. SECURE. including set-up, training and ongoing support.

• Automated bank feeds • Bank reconciliation • Invoicing and billing • Sales tax reporting • End of month management reporting • End of year financial reporting • Budget and variance reporting • Expense claims • Contact management

1. A utomated daily bank feed s

• Fixed assets

2. F ast, simple and customized invoicing

• Multi-currency • Available anytime, anywhere, on any device

3. A vailable anytime, anywhere you’re onlin e 4. R eal-time collaboration with us, your advisor s 5. Safe and secur e 6. S mart reports with links to source transactions


7. D ashboard gives a clear financial overview 8. Awesome support at no additional cos t 9. N o installation or IT maintenance require d 10. Pay as you go and no up-front cost s


If you’re sponsoring an event or exhibiting at an event, it’s a good idea to have something for potential clients to take away. Something that sells your services and explains how you can help their business to succeed and grow.

Make sure that potential clients have something to take away after meeting you. It should include a strong call to action and your contact details.



ALWAYS ADD VALUE As with any business, the financials are important for both franchisors and franchisees, but there are other elements that feed into their success. If they’re not already using them, advise clients on the value of using add-ons from the Xero ecosystem – add-ons that have been tailored to integrate with Xero to save time and money.

Spotlight Reporting is a cloud application that allows you to easily create useful standard or customised performance reports quickly. It also allows you to set and monitor KPI’s or targets, drill into cashflow and forecast the future for better decision-making.

Spotlight Multi is a specialist franchise tool that consolidates up to 500 Xero orgs for one head office report. Its Google Analytics integration allows an outward-looking marketing focus for franchisors and franchisees.

Fathom is a management reporting and financial analysis tool that helps you assess performance, monitor trends and identify improvement opportunities. Fathom also enables franchisors to benchmark and compare the performance of franchisees.

Talk to us about which add-ons may be best suited to the franchises you are looking to work with, as there are a range of industry-specific software tools as well including Vend, GeoOp and Unleashed.



WRAP UP The franchises have unique needs from their accounting software and Xero helps fulfill those needs. By following the plays outlined in this playbook, you’ll attract both franchisors and franchisees and grow your accounting practice. • Play 1: Know your target market

 What are franchises and what is unique about their needs?

• Play 2: Match the product with their needs

How does Xero fulfill the needs of both franchisors and franchisees?

• Play 3: Your elevator pitch

Sum up in a couple of sentences what you and Xero can do for franchises.

• Play 4: Go to them, don’t wait for them to come to you

Where do franchisors and franchisees hang-out? What they read? Who influences them? Put your message out there.

• Play 5: Make yourself heard

There are a large number of marketing tools you can use to reach out to franchises. Pick and choose based on your budget and resources.

• Play 6: Always add value

What else you can offer along side Xero that will attract franchises.

If you’d like more information on marketing to industries in general, login to check out our Partner Marketing section in the Xero Business Community –



APPENDIX – XERO BRANDING Xero is happy to support co-branding by partners. In any co-branding initiative it’s important to strike the right balance between the use of your brand and the Xero brand. Please remember that Xero must always approve co-branding. Rules •  Use of the name Xero in your company name, product name, service offering or URL is not permitted •  Use of the Xero logo, tagline and web address must conform to the brand guideline • Apart from the use of the Xero logo, use of the Xero brand blue is not permitted • Copying or obvious adaptation of the Xero design interface from either the marketing site or the Xero application is not permitted • Use of copy, images, screenshots, photos and any other content produced by Xero is permitted only with approval • When promoting or offering your products or services your brand must be the dominant brand • When promoting or offering Xero products or services you must use materials provided by Xero. You can only alter the materials and apply your own brand and content in ways pre-approved by Xero • Any implied endorsement by Xero or implied affiliation with Xero must be approved

Xero is a fast moving company that is dependent on close partnerships we will ensure you get a speedy and flexible response to all co-branding requests. For more on Xero’s Partner Communication Guidelines, go to And don’t hesitate to get in touch if in doubt.