We all know the rap.. what's expected of your b2b sales teams when they walk through the door at the beginning of the day and see no viable job orders on the board. It's a horrible feeling, but it happens, and it's going to happen again.
So, what do you have them do? Pull up Staff Suite or Salesforce, or maybe an Excel spreadsheet, sort their lists based on who they haven't called in awhile, and start pounding the phones?
What's the format? Mystery messages? Skill marketing? Calling posts from Careerbuilder or Monster? gossiping about Kim Kardashian? How is YOUR agency going to stand out from the dozens of other calls those hiring managers are inevitably going to receive today? And how is your brand going to break the bonds of their favorite firms with yours?
Why not try something different? Why not look for waters that are less congested and find ways to develop relationships between your brand and prospective customers, rather than relying on cold-calling techniques that have literally been around for decades?
How to Sell Staffing Services Organically & Digitally in 10 Steps:
Inbound vs outbound marketing: Staffing Style
The good/great news is that if you're a smaller, boutique agency, these steps toward organic marketing are likely to elevate you above some of your biggest competitors, because... guess what? They don't get it, and the idea of shifting their hefty advertising budgets (which have historically served them well - so they think) into something new (to them) is terrifying.
But you're not dropping 6 figures on marketing every month, are you? You're smaller and more nimble, and with these methods you'll find yourself popping up on the front page of local searches for things that aren't even on their radars, and so will your prospective clients.
Now, before I dive into the 10 steps, I want to preface this blog with the idea that going into any of these marketing strategies half-baked is more likely to harm you than help you, as is ANY sales or marketing campaign. Plan it out, and be specific.
Step 1: Get Social
This is one of the quickest things you can do. Create pages on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. If you're in a specialty industry, find those specialty social platforms, but the big 4 will carry you pretty far.
Don't stop at just creating profiles. Get active , and ask your employees to follow you and share what you share. Of course, by getting "active" we don't mean spitting out nothing but ads and words that describe how great you are. Social media is a beastly digital marketing tool, and you should approach it strategically and professionally. This means curating quality content that jibes with your marketing voice, and getting involved with others.
Make sure you space it out too. I highly recommend you find some social media management tools that allow you to schedule posts ahead of time (I use Hubspot, but also like HootSuite). Not only can you schedule posts, but you'll be able to distribute content on multiple platforms and profiles from one place.
Step 2: Divert Resources
If you're wondering where the bandwidth will come from to take on these new tasks, start asking yourself why you're still attending trade shows and pouring resources into broadcast advertising. Look, these are yesterdays tools, and while they may work to some degree still, we both know how challenging it has become.
Ask yourself how many verifiable quality leads you have been able to generate for your branches through your current efforts. Better yet, ask your sales people how good the "corporate leads" are.
Step 3: Stop Saying "Me" So Much
This is an age-old concept in sales, and often one that pushes perfectly viable prospects into the valleys of death. Simply put, don't let your brand talk about you, and nothing but you, all day. I get it, you have a lot going on, and you're proud of your firm, but your clients really don't care (no offense). They want to know about how THEY win by using you.
Look at your website and social media feeds... Count how many times you talk about yourself versus them, and how many of your posts are ads about your company or write-ups about your employees.
Step 4: Immerse Yourself in SEO
Marketing, this one is for you. Do not delegate it to IT or your web designers, and certainly don't ignore it. SEO is how you get found online organically, and if you can craft a quality strategy, you'll attract the leads that NOBODY can seem to get through to by cold-calling.
SEO should be apart of every online marketing strategy in your company's playbook. Social media. Blogging. Emails. Downloadable Content. If it's digital, SEO should be at the very core of it.
(Not sure how to get started? We have you covered! - Check out this free ebook)
Step 5: Create & Gate Valuable Digital Content
We both know how powerful your salary guides have been in helping break through the most challenging barriers to entry, but we also know your competitors get it too. 10 years ago it was a breeze to score in-person appointments with that yearly guide, but now that so many offer theirs digitally, you're not doing yourself any favors by continuing down this older path.
In addition, there are TONS of other great values you can deliver to your prospects digitally, such as white papers, salary & payroll calculators (Excel), and hiring trends surveys. Why not develop some beautiful digital versions of everything, and offer them for free on your website?
But make sure you gate it, and don't give it away for NOTHING. This is a huge opportunity, so exchange the content for their contact information so you can start engaging them in other aspects of your outreach efforts.
Step 6: Redo Your Website
I know that you probably just dropped $10-$15k on a beautiful website overhaul, but be honest... is it really working for you? Not sure?Take a step back and ask yourself these three questions:
- How many organic visitors am I attracting every month?
- How many of those visitors convert into viable leads every month?
- And what should those numbers ACTUALLY be?
If it's not generating leads, it's broken.
There are many reasons why this may be, but the most common one I see is that people are not using proper lead conversion paths once visitors arrive. By gating your valuable content, you will have calls-to-action (CTAs) that engage your prospects to actually DO something, not just read. By sending them to custom landing pages from those CTAs, you create a portal to organic lead generation. Finally, by sending them to a custom thank-you page with steps that take them further down the buyer's journey, you close that conversion path and capture even more information and higher levels of engagement.
(more on "fluid marketing" here)
Step 7: Get Real About your Blogging Strategy
Blogs are the best. They fuel your SEO strategy. They attract visitors to your website. And they work for you 24/7/365.
But don't fall into the same traps of so many of your competitors who use blogging to regurgitate their broadcast advertisements or case studies. Those are not blogs. Those are ads and case studies.
The best blog ideas are those that cater to solving problems without asking for anything in return. Feel free to include links and CTAs throughout your blog, but don't shove them down our throats. And please, please, please, PLEASE make sure you blog around keywords.
(need ideas for your blog? Check out this post!)
Step 8: Fire up a Custom Email Marketing Strategy
Did somebody from a targeted company download your salary guide? Drop them into an email campaign that builds on that based on their position in the company and industry. Make sure you space out your communication, and don't just blast company ads during the holidays. Use email to nurture relationships by providing access to your free content and blog posts.
Don't be afraid to cut the cord either. They may not bite during your first campaign, and if that's the case, drop them into something a little more laid back and less frequent.
Step 9: Integrate with Your CRM & Score Your Leads
Sales & marketing shouldn't be on two separate islands anymore, not if you want your marketing to REALLY work for you. The more content your prospects download, the more emails they open and click, and the more they like/share you and/or visit your website, the more engaged they are, and ripe for the plucking. You should have a lead scoring system in place (co-developed between sales & marketing), and triggers for your sales teams to know when to call.
This is not as hard as it sounds if you have the right digital marketing management tools.
Step 10: Put your back into it... again & again
"The secret to success is to do something once... perfectly," - said no champion ever.
Whether it's about sports, fitness, or business, strength and endurance come from hard work and practice. Period. If you want to be great at something, you have to do more than just show up.
One blog post isn't going to cut it. Posting 5 times on Facebook within a 4 minute span isn't either. Your search engine rankings won't go anywhere but down if your website and digital footprint never grow or if it only happens once in a blue moon.
Organic search engine ranking takes time, consistency, focus, and effort. Blogging with purpose, social media curation and distribution, email nuturing, and quality content marketing will get you there, but you must commit to doing them long term...
I know it seems like a lot all at once, so take it one step at a time - and get some help.
Selling staffing services among the ocean of competition is not a simple process, and those who adopt inbound vs outbound marketing practices like these will find themselves competing at a whole new level. This is how YOU own your marketing, and don't lose your investment when turnover occurs. Customers will become connected with your brand, because your brand is making a real effort to connect to them.