23 Apr Tools Staffing Companies Can Use to Reach or Pass the Technology Status Quo
By Bobby Bartlett, Enterprise Sales Manager, TargetRecruit
In part two of this series, I will dive deeper into what some common technologies are that other companies are utilizing that have not caught on, due to the issues discussed in part 1, (i.e. why the staffing industry lags behind the technology curve). What I am trying to point towards is taking cues from the entire technology world, not just your competitors in the world of staffing and recruiting. In this article I am going to cover: sales enablement, marketing automation, CTI, financial/accounting software and scheduling tools.
[In case you missed it here is part one of the series, Why Has the Staffing Industry Been Behind the Technology Curve?]
Some examples of other technologies that have largely gone unused in the staffing industry from an adoption standpoint that I will not cover are: data management and cleanup, database enhancement (for contact and company info), business intelligence tools, customer service/case management tools, document creation (candidate packets, proposals, etc.), HR/performance management tools (for recruiters and consultants), project management tools, gamification, account management and retention platforms, and last but not least, artificial intelligence. Maybe in a future installment!
Sales Enablement: These solutions are mainly for sales productivity but there is often times crossover with how recruiters can use them. I’ve personally been using this technology for two years now, with two different technologies, and it has made a major impact on my productivity.
How does this impact productivity? These tools originally started by creating email cadences to send for prospecting, lead follow-up, etc. They have now taken on a life of their own with other bonus features like calendar scheduling, automatic email logging, email reminders and scheduling, tracking open rates, email templates, VoIP integrations, and so on. I actually had a TR client come up to me at a conference recently and tell me since they implemented one of these tools, their meetings have increased by 50%!
Sales reps can put someone in a “cadence” and they can be auto-emailed, auto-“inmailed” or put in a queue for you to call during a scheduled call block. These tools save time for sales reps but maybe more importantly, add structure to their prospecting efforts which can be difficult to achieve otherwise.
Why is there a missed opportunity? Most staffing firms I’ve spoken with over the years haven’t come around to pipeline management and forecasting in a traditional sense, which I think is an important function for running a financially healthy company. More so than this, not using sales productivity tools is a bigger missed opportunity because you are losing out on major productivity gains and the ability to streamline some of the most difficult sales items. The good news is, few companies in the space are utilizing these types of tools so it could be a major advantage today. I speculate that in 5 years, the majority of staffing and recruiting firms will be utilizing these types of tools as sales continues to become more of a focus. Especially as the economy scales back and the war for talent eases up and the war for jobs ramps up.
Marketing Automation: Not completely dissimilar from the sales prospecting cadences I just covered, marketing automation software gives you the ability to create rules-based drip campaigns or “journeys.” These tools are meant for marketing experts though, not salespeople. They allow you to engage with prospects/customers and/or candidates/consultants at different stages of their life cycle, providing very targeted messaging at each stage. In a perfect technological ecosystem, marketing would have their clients and candidates that would be interacted with at a higher level and salespeople and recruiters would have theirs that they would use more targeted campaigns with.
How does this impact productivity? Highly targeted messaging is crucial for differentiation and gaining real estate in the brains of those who matter. We have been trained to tune out generic marketing approaches and to expect a tailored approach if someone wants our business. It is also important that the quality of the returned results from these campaigns is high. You want your salespeople and recruiters being handed leads at the perfect time to maximize their time and effort. This makes adoption of marketing automation tools much higher.
Why is there a missed opportunity? Most staffing firms could greatly benefit from bolstering their marketing teams and the technology they have access to. Being on a platform that gives access to those technologies is step one. For small to mid-sized firms, it is very rare to see companies utilizing marketing automation technology. Across the board, it is rare to see companies utilizing it to its full potential, especially in the candidate engagement arena because it is usually not integrated with their ATS…unless it is built on Salesforce (shameless plug).
Examples of companies in this space: Marketo, Hubspot, Marketing Cloud, Pardot, Eloqua, Silver Pop, and over 100 more in the AppExchange
Scheduling Tools: Appointment scheduling automation allows for recruiters to reduce the back and forth emails and calls usually required to schedule phone screens, interviews, etc. They allow you to book meetings with individuals or entire teams as well.
How does this impact productivity? I would assume every recruiter spends at least 3 hours each week with the back and forth of scheduling. This is easy time returned for productivity. Not taking advantage of this is a mistake in my eyes but you need scheduling tools to directly integrate with your calendar (Google, Outlook, etc.) and your CRM/ATS. Some tools are even leveraging automation to schedule bots to reach out to candidates once they surpass a certain score or threshold and setting up screening calls. Automation at its finest!
CTI (Computer Telephony Integration): This is often referred to as click-to-dial or VoIP Integration but what it mainly does is allow for your recruiters and salespeople to set up lists of people and power through these lists at warp speed.
How does this impact productivity? Rather than dial, you can click. Rather than leaving a voicemail, you can voicemail drop. Rather than adding a note, you can have the system auto-add a note or activity for every person you called. Rather than scrambling to find notes on a record of a candidate who is calling you, they just automatically pop up when they call. I’d say this allows you to call at least 3x the amount of people you normally would in an hour block.
Why is there a missed opportunity? Some of these companies already exist in our space but here’s the issue: usually they’re not compatible with your phone system. For example, if you are using Cisco for your phone systems (as many are), and you want to utilize an integration to your CRM/ATS, you will need to build that. Salesforce already has a ready integration with Cisco called Cisco CTI Cloud Connectors. Some vendors may make you choose from 1, 2 or maybe 3 options here. Salesforce has hundreds of options.
Financial/Accounting/GL Software: The software that “holds all of the information needed to prepare financial statements and includes assets, liabilities, equity, revenue and expenses.” Sounds incredibly important to me.
How does this impact productivity? Dual data entry and worse, input mistakes. You should not be keying information from your ATS, time-tracking system, invoicing or payroll system into your general ledger. I don’t think I need to explain why this data needs be pristine.
Why is there a missed opportunity? I can’t tell you how often I talk to mid-to-large sized staffing companies and they are manually keying data into these systems or at best, exporting and importing. There’s no need for this. Even if you are using Great Plains, Netsuite, Peoplesoft, or any other heavy-duty financial software, you should be using a middleware provider that can normalize the data and make sure it can seamlessly travel from your recruiting software to your back office, and from there, back into your recruiting software (your central hub of data). This will reduce the need to pull the data from each of your systems into excel pivot tables or worse, into SRSS (SQL reports), as those can be tough for anyone to understand. Here’s another novel concept: rather than using any of the aforementioned systems, you can use a tool like FinancialForce or Accounting Seed that built a GL on Salesforce so your data never has to leave your system! That will also allow you to easily report on it with Salesforce’s robust ad hoc reporting tool.
Examples of companies in this space: Quickbooks (for smaller shops), Great Plains, FinancialForce, Accounting Seed, Sage Salesforce, Zumzum Financials and over 100 other integrations on the AppExchange.
SMS/Messaging Applications: By now, we all know we can send SMS messages from our ATS, so why am I bringing this up? Keep reading.
How does this impact productivity? I can’t say this is a productivity concern. More of a recruiter-effectiveness opportunity.
Why is there a missed opportunity? Without utilizing SMS integrations, you’re missing out on the major opportunity to greatly increase your response rates from your candidates and consultants. How this relates to having a robust marketplace like the AppExchange is options. You will have a handful of options for SMS capabilities with any ATS provider at this point. Within the AppExchange, you will have well over 100, and competition is the consumer’s friend. Especially with some of the lower cost options that provide free trials as well.
Newsflash, if you look at staffing companies’ LinkedIn pages and mission statements on their websites, they’re VERY similar! “We want to help our customers realize their goals by helping them improve the thing that matters most, their human capital,” or, “We want to help you meet your full potential in your career with our white glove recruiting experience.” I’m not being critical, I’m just pointing out that staffing companies all strive for the same things and it is tough to stand out.
So how do you differentiate your company from the crowd? Technology. Every day I see companies that are growing like a weed and companies that are stagnating or even worse in this economy, in decline. The main thing that differentiates the fast growing and the stagnating is how they use technology. Your tech stack and strategy around it is your single biggest opportunity to differentiate your company. It is a very difficult thing to conceptualize as a whole with all of the moving parts, and that’s why the most effective strategy is finding the brain, the center of the universe, also known as your CRM/ATS, making sure it can plug and play with other enterprise technologies, and building around that. If you do it that way, you can easily make adjustments as you grow by pulling parts out and plugging other parts in. This only works, however, if they are already pre-integrated. That’s why 3,000+ options are better than 30.
It’s time for the staffing industry to catch up with and start to even outpace other industries with technology adoption. But they need solutions that can allow them to outpace competition through technology in a way that makes sense for the end user and that aligns with the goals of the company.
Feel free to reach out to me via email or send me a message on LinkedIn if you have any questions or would like to discuss some of my points. I’m always happy to talk shop. Thanks for reading.