We’ve had an amazing run.
For more than a decade, the staffing industry has been booming.
Job orders have been plentiful. If you could recruit talent, you were making placements.
But the times have changed. Selling staffing got harder…a lot harder!
Selling staffing is never easy. But now, it takes more effort. A lot more. And to make matters worse, recruiting is still a challenge. As my friend Mike Jacoutot at Butler Street says, “You’re going to have to work twice as hard for half the results.”
That’s what a downturn in the staffing industry feels like. It’s hard. It’s stressful. And if you look at the past two recessions, 30% of staffing companies do not survive.
But this post series isn’t about gloom and doom.
Quite the contrary.
It’s about what you can do to succeed, regardless of what happens in the economy. In the coming weeks, you’ll discover dozens of ideas in this post series to LEVEL UP your marketing. You’ll see the strategies the most successful companies used during past recessions to minimize sales loss, accelerate recovery, and drive growth at more than double the rate of the staffing industry.
You’ll also see some of the most advanced marketing techniques being used by staffing companies right now to generate leads and improve sales efficiency.
Are you ready to LEVEL UP?
LEVEL UP YOUR POSITIONING
What makes your staffing company different?
Your service? Your expertise? Your combined 72 years of experience?
The problem in staffing, and in any highly competitive industry, is that the majority of companies say the same things. They make the same claims. They offer the same benefits. And in the process of selling, they make themselves (and everyone else) look like a commodity.
In staffing, great service is critical. And you definitely should leverage your expertise. But there’s only one source of differentiation that none of your competitors can copy – your company’s mission, vision, and values.
As Simon Synek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
So why does your company exist?
What problems do you solve better than anyone else?
What is your “holy grail” – the quest you are trying to fulfill?
To LEVEL UP your positioning, take a hard look at your company mission. Does it address critical problems that employers face? Does it motivate your ideal clients to want to work with you? Does it clearly identify your target audience and the value you can bring to them?
How about your company vision? Have you written out a clear and compelling vision of where your company is headed? Does your vision address your people, your culture, your unique approach to service, and how you will achieve your mission in the years to come? A great vision is essential for attracting top talent.
And what about your core values? Are they clearly defined? Do all your people live by them—with every client, every day? Are your values providing clear guidelines for delivering a better service experience than your competitors?
Mission, Vision, and Values (MVV) are fundamental to who you are…the clients you serve…and why you are better qualified to serve them than anyone else in the world.
Want to Level Up your MVV?
Download our eBook, Differentiation is Bullsh!t, a step-by-step guide to creating a more compelling mission, vision, and core values.
LEVEL UP YOUR MARKETING MIX
Want to really differentiate your staffing business? Think beyond promotion!
In business school, Marketing 101 (or more aptly 601) teaches that the key to marketing strategy is to optimize your marketing mix, otherwise known as the four Ps:
So far, I’ve focused heavily on promotion – ways to define the right message for your audience, and then using the right tools and processes to get your message to those people.
In downturns, many of the most innovative companies will create sales opportunities by looking for new and different ways to think about the other three Ps.
What is the product you sell? Is it staffing services? Labor by the hour or recruiting for a fee?
In the staffing industry, almost everyone is selling the same product, which creates commoditization. However, if you look at past recessions, new forms of staffing arose. Technologies like VMS. Services like MSP and RPO came from entrepreneurial-minded people thinking about new ways to deliver value to clients.
In the coming years, as the staffing industry adopts more of an e-commerce mindset, you’re likely to see new business models such as staffing as a platform (e.g., UpWork and UBER), staffing as a subscription service, total talent management solutions (staffing firms taking over not just temps, but also freelancers, gig workers, consultants, and offshore talent), and maybe even staffing in the metaverse.
Creating new products (business models) is not easy, but it can disrupt industries and create incredible sales opportunities for market leaders.
How do you charge for your services? Most likely, just like everyone else.
While most of the staffing industry is focused on protecting mark-ups and direct hire fees, others are looking at entirely new ways to charge for staffing services.
As just mentioned, some companies are looking at offering staffing and recruiting as subscription services. Others are looking to eliminate contingency fees and offer recruiting more like an hourly consulting service. And some firms are experimenting with different payment terms to make staffing more affordable to smaller clients.
When it comes to your marketing mix, pricing is not about lowering what you charge; it is about finding new models for billing clients that make your services easier to buy…and harder to quit!
Where do you deliver your staffing services? Are there other delivery models?
Staffing is and has always been a relationship business. Salespeople meet with clients. Candidates are interviewed face to face. And temporary associates are sent to client offices to do work.
2020 changed all of that. Many staffing companies use recruiters from remote offices all over the country (often all over the world). Interviews are conducted via Zoom. Asynchronous tools like video interviewing are used to save time.
As the staffing industry continues to evolve, ask yourself, how will the place where I deliver staffing services change over the next few years?
Rethinking place enables you to attract better talent (you can recruit employees globally), reduce service delivery costs (you may be able to get work done faster or less expensively overseas), and expand the range of services you offer (you can help clients build their own global teams).
Your challenge is to find ways to eliminate place as a barrier to hiring—for your firm and your clients, so you can then increase your value by providing better talent management solutions with a lower cost of delivery.
Up Next: 12 Strategies To Level Up Your Marketing: Part 2 – Capturing Clients’ Interests
Don’t want to wait? Download the entire LEVEL UP eBook here for free!