How to Grow Your Staffing Agency – the ultimate guide
It doesn’t matter how talented your recruiting and sales teams are, or how hard they work. Becoming a high growth staffing firm is more about creating and following a roadmap and set of processes. When thinking about how to grow your staffing agency, you need to approach this from 2 fronts.
The first is through delivering more value to your current clients by optimizing your recruiting function. The second is through creating repeatable sales processes to get more clients. This article will explore both.
How to grow your staffing agency by optimizing your recruiting efforts
Start by considering how clients want to benefit from working with staffing firms. The 3 things clients want most from staffing firms are flexibility, speed, and access to talent. If you’re able to provide them with these 3 benefits faster and more consistently than other staffing agencies, you’re going to be able to grow.
The study, Opportunities in Staffing found clients reported the following as their key benefit from working with staffing agencies.
- 41% want access to more candidates
- 38% want to fill positions more quickly.
- 32% want the flexibility to change the size of their workforce
- 26% want access to talent with specialized skills
Use the right mix of processes and technology to deliver these benefits to clients
The staffing industry is more competitive than ever before. In the U.S. alone, there are about 20,000 staffing and recruiting agencies with over 39,000 offices.
Search and placement sales account for 10-17% of revenue while temporary and contract account for anywhere from 90 to 83% of revenue.
Speed is critical for your agency to make placements first and transition a temp/contract worker onto their next contract or temp position before anyone else can get to them.
The only way to do that is to use your internal talent more effectively. How are your recruiter’s spending their time today? Are they doing any of the following tasks?
- Creating outreach emails or text messages to large lists of candidates to see if they are interested in new roles and managing those conversations
- Managing interview scheduling communications with candidates
- Entering data and updating candidate profile data in your ATS or CRM
These are all tasks that are necessary for your recruiting teams to operate but aren’t necessary for your recruiters to do. Artificial intelligence and automation can and should be used to complete these tasks for your recruiters.
High volume candidate outreach should be automated, interview scheduling should be automated, and data creation and entry should be automated as well.
Using recruiting automation like conversational AI, will free your recruiters time and allow you to use your internal talent more effectively.
Automation and AI enable you to use internal talent better
You’ll be able to provide better service to candidates and to your customers. You’ll create a better candidate experience, reduce downtime between contract positions, and have an automatically updated passive candidate database.
For clients, you’ll be able to provide a more hands-on personalized service, a closer working relationship, and faster access to the right talent.
Automation and AI can increase your available engaged talent pool
There are many other ways AI and automation can help you to recruit more effectively. AI and automation can help you to run more efficient job advertisements on every major platform. This means you’ll reduce your CPC while also getting more qualified candidates and less irrelevant ones.
Candidate referrals are a great way to increase your talent pool. You can use automation on your candidate referral program to generate 57% more referral leads. Conversational AI can also be used to engage your passive candidate database, find active talent, and update your candidate data.
High growth agencies are powered by recruiting team culture
Part of developing a high growth staffing agency is ensuring that you hire and train your recruiters the right way. Your recruiting teams need to be balanced in their focus on candidate experience and their ability to have a sales mindset.
The first way to ensure the right culture is to make the right hires. Recruiting is both candidate experience and a sales profession. The ideal recruiter has a mix of those qualities. A few things you should look for in your recruiters are sales experience, a desire to sell, tenacity, and the ability to deal with rejection.
Both candidate experience and sales priorities can be managed by careful structuring of recruiter priorities, quotas, and measurement. To orient your recruiters around candidate experience you should measure interview metrics, reputation metrics, and satisfaction metrics. To orient, your recruiters around sales make sure you measure things like the contribution to lead pipeline and their placement rates.
By ensuring your recruiters focus on candidate experience is balanced with an ability to manage things like counteroffers through effective sales negotiation you’ll increase your ability to make placements and grow your staffing firm.
How to grow your staffing agency by creating a repeatable sales process
Both your recruiting process and sales process need to be clearly defined and repeatable. It’s what lets you continue to maintain your speed as you bring on new team members.
Identify your ideal clients
Building a repeatable sales process starts with identifying your ideal client. Your ideal clients are those in which you’re able to make rapid placements. The more ideal clients you get the faster your agency will grow.
Here are the questions you should ask to find your ideal client:
What were my highest revenue clients in the last 2 years?
Gather details around the company sizes, locations, industries and buyer demographics of your highest revenue clients.
Who were the buyer personas involved?
Determine who the buyer personas are at your high revenue clients. Note down the job titles, age, educational background, and gender of those involved in your sales process.
Target your marketing, sales, and partnership efforts around getting in front of companies and buyer personas who fit the profile of your ideal client. Focus more on the businesses your organization is already good at selling to and finding talent for.
Create a larger pipeline of clients
If you don’t already have a referral process/program in place start one. Set a lead volume goal for referral leads as a sales organization and as a portion of total leads. You’ll want to set your referral goal anywhere between 20-50% depending on the number of clients you already have and the maturity of your referral program.
Next, look at your marketing channels and optimize them to reach your target accounts and generate leads. If you’re spending heavily on tradeshows, consider reducing spend there and increasing investment in your content and demand gen programs. Using social media platforms like LinkedIn and running highly targeted ads towards your ideal client buyer personas will be far more effective than attending trade shows when done correctly.
Finally, optimize the actions your employees are taking to increase your lead volume. Set a lead quota for recruiters to contribute to sales pipeline. Have them attend networking events on a personal and professional basis to generate leads for your agency.
Be sure to set a lead quota to source leads from candidates as well. Setting a candidate lead quota per recruiter will make sure your recruiters reach out and ask placed candidates questions like “do you know if <company> has any open positions they’re looking to fill?” If you’ve used AI and automation your recruiters have had time to build stronger relationships with their candidates. Your candidates can be a source of both candidate leads and sales leads.
Create the right content to convert your leads into clients
You need to tell the right stories about your business. We’ll use an example to demonstrate how to do this. For example, if you’re ideal client is hiring for light industrial positions, you need to story tell around the following points:
Show industry expertise:
Your agency works with lots of other clients who are staffing for light industrial positions. Show client logos on your website and marketing material that prove this.
Prove your effectiveness:
Your agency does a good job and is liked by your customers. You can prove this by creating case study content in written, video, and graphic formats.
Highlight your commitment to market leadership:
Your agency is innovative. The best way to show this is to demonstrate that you have branded shareable processes for engaging clients and finding talent. Another way to demonstrate this is by highlighting how you use conversational AI and automation to provide talent to clients faster than competing agencies.
Get validated by industry recognition
Your agency is recognized by the industry. Build industry recognition by applying for awards, and looking for press and media opportunities for senior leadership. Getting an article byline in an industry publication will build social proof and make clients more willing to work with you.
Build trust through candidate experience
Your agency is liked by candidates. Show that your candidates like working with your agency because you create a positive experience. Candidates who’ve had a good candidate experience become more engaged employees. Showcase your candidate experience by featuring stories from candidates you’ve placed in written, video, and graphic formats.
How to grow your staffing agency by measuring the right metrics
You’ll want to measure lead pipeline, activity, and opportunity creation. Here’s what to look at on a regular basis on both an individual and aggregate level.
- Measure your inbound lead volume.
- Measure your recruiter’s and salespeople’s contribution and attainment of lead goals.
- Measure how many contacts you are making. You’ll find that a certain volume of phone calls and emails are needed to get meetings with your target accounts.
- Measure the number of meetings and presentations you’re booking
- Measure the number of orders, contracts, and assignments you’re getting
Getting these numbers to improve will take some detailed fine-tuning, time, and testing that’s outside the scope of this article. But, it’s only by starting to measure these numbers in aggregate and at the individual level that you’ll get a sense of where the gaps are in your process.
For example, you might find that recruiter generated leads sourced from placed candidates are your best converting lead source. But they are also contributing the lowest lead volume. Based on that information you may decide to implement processes to increase the volume of leads from candidates.
Without measurement, you can’t figure out what the best action to take is.
As we’re nearing the end of the article, here’s an infographic to help you review what we’ve covered so far. Download it and share it with your team!
The secret to staffing agency growth revealed
There is no secret. Growing your staffing agency is a mix of the right processes, the right talent, and the right use of conversational AI and automation technology.
It’s a focus on sales, on recruiting team culture, and on well thought out management practices.
It’s these things paired with a sense of patience and ability to consistently execute at a high level that will unlock your ability to grow your staffing agency.