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SMART IDEA #2: How Small Staffing Companies Win

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When David beat Goliath, he didn’t do it by being stronger.

Or faster.

Or a better fighter.

He won by being smarter.

In the staffing industry, most companies are “Davids.”

In the U.S. alone, there are more than 20,000 staffing and recruiting companies, but only 251 are over $100 million in revenue.

That’s just 1.3% of the market.

Yet somehow these companies control 77.2% of the industry’s revenue (Source: Staffing Industry Analysts).

These companies have massive resources. Huge budgets for sales, marketing, and recruiting. They’re making enormous investments in technology to try to lock up even more of the market.

How can you compete?

Just like David, you have to be smarter. And just like Goliath, the big guys have weaknesses.

Here are 7 strategies that small to midsize staffing companies can use to win:

  1. Focus. Don’t try to be all things to all employers. Pick specific niche markets—by company size, industry, skill disciplines needed, or business problems they face—where you can outperform any competitor.
  2. Be more visible in your market (and with your ideal clients). You don’t need a bigger marketing budget. You need to be more targeted with your marketing, so your ideal clients see you everywhere.
  3. Provide exceptional service…based on what your clients value. You may need to focus on speed (time to fill), talent quality, better management of labor costs, better communication, more proactive workforce planning, or other ways to help your clients get the best return on their investment in your services.
  4. Build deeper relationships. Get to know more people inside each of your client’s organizations. Then get to know each of those people more personally. Understand their needs. Do more to help them solve problems. And personalize your service, so your company is the one every hiring manager demands to use…and every HR manager prefers to work with.
  5. Go small. Big companies need big clients. Small companies can very profitably serve smaller clients. While you won’t get the same volume of job orders with smaller clients, you’ll have less competition and face less margin pressure.
  6. Out hustle the competition. This doesn’t just mean “make more calls.” It means being smarter in your sales strategy. Being more responsive. Providing more thorough information about the candidates you refer. Making your buyer’s job easier.
  7. Attract (and retain) the best internal talent. Your salespeople and recruiters are your greatest differentiator. As a small to midsize staffing company, you can offer a work environment big firms can’t match. While it may seem scary, you can also afford to pay people at the top of your local market because in staffing, top-performing salespeople and recruiters produce dramatically more revenue—and more profitable revenue.

If you want more ideas to level the playing field, download our marketing checklist 150 ideas to Make your Marketing Smarter or sign up for our staffing hot tip sheet SMART IDEAS Weekly.

Want to make smart marketing even easier? Reach out to our staffing industry marketing experts. We’re always happy to help!

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