Your staffing agency isn't growing fast enough.
You're moving in a positive direction, but you want to grow at much faster rate, and the solutions offered by your franchiser are somewhat lacking.
What do you do?
Invest in lead generation? Lord knows those cold lists aren't helping much... Update your technology? As much as you hate to admit it, you hate your CRM. Wait... you don't have a CRM?
Should you create a website of your own? ...hire an appointment setting agency?
I get inquiries from folks like you all the time. There's a lot of energy and excitement when you start your franchise, but it doesn't take long for you to realize how difficult it is to penetrate new markets.
Staffing is an old industry that has evolved to somewhat of a commodity. Relationships are everything, and since your franchise is new to the area, your brand is non-existent, and you have no relationships beyond those brought in by your staff.
It's a tough hill to climb from that to $10,000,000 and beyond...
But it is climbable.
You just need to understand what's broken, what to do about it, and in what order to do it.
No big deal, right?
What's Broken & How to Fix it:
Normally, I would go through an entire exploratory review before telling you what's broken. You're all different, even if you're operators of the same franchise... You have different personalities and appetites for risk. You have different finances... different staff... different objectives... different markets... different problems...
So, there is no cookie cutter solution at the end of the day.
However, there are commonalities. MOST of you suffer from what I'm going to cover.
1. Your Infrastructure
Namely, your CRM. It sucks. It was the wrong choice. If you're not using a CRM, you should, but make sure you choose functionality over industry on this one. Bullhorn doesn't do HALF of what a modern CRM will do for you, and it's unnervingly cumbersome. After all, it wasn't built for sales. It was built for management.
Unfortunately, since it's so cumbersome (your sales people spend a minimum of 1/5 of their time on administrative tasks), your data integrity sucks. Half of your sales calls aren't getting logged into the CRM. And your most important sales data likely lives on spreadsheets saved on individual computers.
This makes accountability impossible. It also makes succession planning an absolute nightmare. And since your branch is young, and turnover is likely to be high, this is a MAJOR problem.
You can fix this by:
- Implementing a modern CRM
- Defining lead stages and incorporating into your pipeline management tools
- Implementing automation features on CRM with individual reps
2. Your Leads
Selling staffing services is different from selling a service that is disruptive or new. You're not pitching anything new. Your differentiators aren't different. And your prospects are getting 10 calls a day from competitors that do exactly the same thing as you.
Standing out is impossible.
But you're following the same playbook as everybody else, so this shouldn't be news.
Inbound leads turn the tables on this model. Instead of purchasing lists of thousands of cold contacts and having your sales teams blast through them, you could send them 2 or 10 a day that are actively engaged to your brand.
If you have the right infrastructure in place, you can even have these leads distributed automatically based on region or other relevant rules. By doing this, your sales response time could be under 5 minutes, which will improve their chances of a successful connect by more than 2,000%.
Inbound leads help you cut through the noise and offer something different than your competitors. They allow you business development to play the role of consultant... Their pitches become questions, and pipeline predictability becomes possible.
But remember - infrastructure comes first. Without it, your inbound leads will most certainly fall by the wayside. They take a COMPLETELY different mindset (call NOW vs "primetime"), and you need the tools in place to ensure they are properly handled.
You also need to make sure that sales cares just as much about closing inbound deals as you do. (see alignment & accountability)
NOTE: You need control over your website and social channels to do this. Many franchises allow you to create and publish your own site, or to publish a subdomain to theirs. Inbound involves blogging, social media, email marketing, SEO, and landing pages, so control is imperative.
3. Your Internal Relationships & Expectations
Your sales team needs structure. They need to know what's expected of them on a daily basis. And they need to be held accountable to the milestones you set for them.
By implementing a modern CRM and defining your deal stages, you set the stage for alignment and accountability, but we're not quite there yet. Bringing inbound leads to the table complicates things, because it's one more thing to get screwed up.
One of the single most important things you can do to protect your investments and make firing and promotion decisions easier is to execute an SLA.
I suggest having it developed by sales & marketing leaders, not one or the other, and it wouldn't hurt to have an unbiased third party managing the process so all parties feel fairly represented.
In order to execute a successful SLA, you need to make sure that marketing and sales can be held accountable, which means you MUST have solid infrastructure in place, clear definitions of the deal stages, and buy-in from both sides prior to execution.
Being that you're small, a CRM implementation shouldn't cost too much, and it's a one-time deal, so once it's done, it's done. There is typically an ongoing maintenance need as well (reporting, adding new collateral, etc). The same goes for Alignment. It's typically a single project with ongoing reporting and cross-collaboration.
Inbound lead generation requires constant application, so I would definitely hold off until you have the infrastructure in place, and a plan to ensure your leads are being properly handled.
If you're interested in exploring some of these concepts, click HERE to download an introductory guide to Staffing Agency Growth: