Paradigm Shift: 4 Ideas for Selling Staffing in Our New Economy
The new normal. The next normal. The post-pandemic economy.
Whatever you call it, your staffing firm needs to learn how to run profitably in it. Your success will come from a mix of hard work, creative thinking, and maybe even a little reimagining of the value your staffing company can offer.
What are the best ways to sell staffing in a post-pandemic economy?
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, you can use these strategies to increase your value and discover more staffing sales opportunities in a post-pandemic economy.
Strategy #1: Strengthen Client Relationships
How strong are your relationships with your clients? Are you an essential partner to their organizations, playing a strategic role in their talent management process? Or, are you just a vendor that can be all too easily replaced by another staffing company on the approved vendor list?
To get closer to your clients, take the following steps:
- Plan a meeting (or Zoom) to get a deeper understanding of how your clients are being impacted by the current economy.
- What are their plans for reopening (if they haven’t already) and recovering?
- How have they adjusted their staffing plans in the past few months?
- Where do they anticipate talent needs in the next 60 to 180 days?
- What are they doing to address workers who don’t want to return from unemployment or those on FFCRA?
- Assess the depth of your relationship with each client.
- How many staffing decision-makers do you know?
- What percentage of their staffing business do you get?
- Are there other departments or divisions that could use your services?
- Do you know the strategic and economic decision-makers?
- How strong are your relationships with the HR department?
- What about purchasing – are they involved in the staffing process?
- Map out the org chart of each client and then determine where you have gaps in your relationships. Develop a plan to expand and strengthen your network of contacts.
- If possible, work with each client to outline a proactive workforce strategy for the next six to nine months (more on that below). Help your clients to anticipate their hiring needs, proactively source the talent they will require, and effectively manage their temporary and full-time hiring needs.
Strategy #2: Offer Proactive Workforce Planning
Building off strategy #1, get into the business of helping local employers to create better workforce plans. Workforce planning is about anticipating likely talent needs (based on expected business needs) and then assuring access to people with the right skills at the right time.
A workforce plan considers retention of current staff, upskilling and promotion, temporary and full-time hiring, and use of 1099 employees and outside consultants. Whether or not you are an expert in workforce planning, you have the skills and experience necessary to help local employers to create staffing plans for the next 90 to 180 days.
Your plans could include:
- Assessment of talent needs (skills, level of experience, location, etc.)
- Sourcing onsite and remote workers
- Managing workforce cuts and furloughs
- Converting fixed overhead to variable cost
- Staffing up for the recovery
- Benchmarking top performers
- Updating position descriptions to include new skills needed
- Ideas for bridging skill gaps
- Top grading talent
You might offer workforce planning as a paid service or even as a free service to get yourself at the front of the line when hiring starts.
Strategy #3: Increase Online Visibility
To sell your services in a post-pandemic economy, you will have to master digital marketing.
Right now, people are spending significantly more time on social media than before the shutdown. Yet, many staffing companies have “gone dark” and cut their marketing to save money. This gives you an opportunity to:
- Ensure clients and prospects know that you’re open for business
- Strengthen your positioning
- Increased demand for last-minute fill-ins
- Cross-sell services
So, how do you best use digital marketing to increase your visibility?
- Create content that matches your target audience’s interests. This can include blogs, videos, eBooks, webinars, podcasts, etc.
- Share your content on social media. Be sure to share on your company pages and through team member accounts.
- Create communities where your clients and/or candidates can exchange ideas. Ideal places are LinkedIn and Facebook groups, Slack, and other messaging platforms.
- Add paid promotion to get your content found. This can include advertising on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and of course, LinkedIn.
- Setup conversion paths to get people to take action. Bring people from social media and ads to your website (and landing pages) where they can take action.
Strategy #4: Move up the Value Chain
As a staffing company, your value comes from providing people to fill defined needs for your clients. But your value doesn’t have to stop there. Many staffing companies already provide higher-value services like on-sites. Some offer MSP and RPO services. Others provide product solutions or outsourcing.
Moving up the value chain is all about providing new services where you play a bigger role (and take on more responsibility) for your clients. Here are a few examples of services you could offer:
- Workforce planning
- Project solutions
- HR consulting
- Outplacement/career transition services
- Outsourced recruiting/workforce management
Looking for more ideas to drive sales and thrive in this economy?
Visit our COVID Recovery Resources. You’ll find free on-demand webinars and eBooks, as well as summaries of some of the best advice in the last 15 years for dealing with economic downturns and a post-pandemic economy.
David Searns is the Founder and CEO of Haley Marketing, a Bullhorn Marketplace partner, and a leading provider of websites, blog writing, social media, and other marketing services to the staffing industry.