The secret to staying top-of-mind
When was the last time someone answered your call with, "Yes absolutely, I will buy your staffing services!" without even hearing your pitch?
I'm willing to guess your answer was, "never."
We all know that staffing is rarely a one-call close. It takes several touches across multiple channels of communication before a great prospect turns into a great client.
In staffing, the sale often goes to the company that was in the right place at the right time. Now we're not suggesting you campout in front of your prospectsâ offices (although we have heard of stranger sales tactics), but there are things you can do to help ensure your firm is always in the "right place" ... aka the top of your client's mind.
I want you to do some quick math for me. Don't worry it's not complex. Just simple addition and division.
First, estimate how many clients and prospects you have. Is it 100? 500? 1,000? 10,000? If you're like most staffing firms, that number is probably between 500 and 1,000.
Next, think about how long it would take you to personally contact each and every one of your clients and prospects. Let's say you could contact 15 people per day. At 500 contacts, it would take you 34 days! At 1,000 contacts...67 days!
But who really talks to 15 contacts a day. More likely, you connect with two, three, maybe even as many as five people per day. At that pace, reaching your list just one time will take more than 100 days!
Not to mention you still have to fill job orders, contact candidates, perform background and reference checks, and put out about three fires per day. Oh and your daughter just called, band practice is cancelled so you need to leave early to pick her up.
Going back to where we started, how many of your daily contacts turn into sales?
I think you get my point. To effectively sell in the staffing industry, you have to stay top-of-mind. That means regularly contacting every client and prospect on a consistent basis, and to do this, you're going to need some help!
Don't panic! There is a fairly simple solution. It's called Nurture Marketing.
Nurture marketing is the art of staying top-of-mind, building credibility, strengthening your positioning in a way that the client never feels like you're selling to them. Through regular communication, you add value, position yourself as an expert, differentiate your services, and make people want to do business with your company.
Nurture marketing is about nurturing relationships. It's a process to keep yourself top-of-mind between sales calls, and a technique that will make your sales calls more productive.
Nurture marketing guru Jim Cecil likes to compare nurture marketing to farming. As a farmer, you have to get the most from your land. The greatest bounty from the nutrients you sow into the land.
As a nurture marketer, you want to get the maximum result (sales and job candidates) from relationships you build. And like a farmer gives nutrients to his crops, you want to share your nutrients (advice, expertise) with the people you want to influence.
Nurture marketing turns cold prospects into warm leads
Through regular contact, sharing high-value, educational information, and appropriate personal follow-up by phone, email and when appropriate, in person, you keep your company in front of every client, every prospect and even the candidates you want to attract.
Nurture marketing is about:
- Clearly defining how you want to be seen (Your Unique Selling Proposition);
- Positioning yourself as an expert and a problem solver; and
- Regular communication with your target prospects, current clients and candidates.
Who Has The Time?
You're probably screaming at your computer "Didn't I just tell you I don't have time to nurture all my clients and prospects?!" (Okay, maybe screaming is a little too strong).
Well as I promised, I will show you how to stay top of mind with your clients and prospects with just a little bit of work up front and a small investment of time and money each month.
Step 1 — Identify Your Ideal Prospects
"An actor is only as good as the words on the script." And a marketing tactic is only as good as the prospect list.
You need to identify who will be on your marketing list. For starters, include all of your current clients. Why? Because even though they are a client, you still need to remind them hey made the right decision to go with your firm. So make sure any nurture marketing list includes all of your current clients.
Next, add your ideal prospects. Be smart about this. I know most staffing executives act like every business in town is a prospect. But are they really?
Think about the specific types of companies that are your best clients. What industries are they in? What geographic regions? What size? Who are the decision makers at those companies? And what is their attitude toward staffing?
The more you can focus your target market, the easier it will be to own your area of expertise. Which brings us to Step 2...
Step 2 — Define your expertise...
something you can own
Your first instinct might be to say "Well, our expertise is in everything!" Or at least, everything related to staffing. But you can't be everything to everyone. When it comes to selling, it's better to be the big fish (or the top expert) in a small pond, than another minnow in the ocean.
So where should you focus? Start by asking yourself, "What types of problems or issues does your firm solve for your clients?" You might also ask "What's keeping my clients up at night?"
And be sure to think beyond staffing. Most executives outside the staffing industry, even those in HR, only spend a small percentage of their time focused on staffing issues.
If you want to stand out as a nurture marketer, you're going to need to be known as an expert in something beyond staffing issues. In fact, and I know you might not want to hear this but, we have found that staffing-related content is some of the least opened and clicked on content that our clients share.
Maybe you want to be experts in employment law...or helping clients become an employer of choice... or workplace productivity. Whatever it is you decide on (and it can be more than one thing), just make sure it is something that helps alleviate your clientsâ and prospectsâ pain points.
Step 3 — Nurture, regularly.
Now this is probably where some of you start getting nervous. In fact, if you weren't questioning your ability to execute a nurture marketing campaign, you probably would have stopped reading a long time ago.
So what goes into a successful nurture marketing program? Here are just a few of the ideas we suggest to our clients:
- Monthly email newsletter to clients, prospects and candidates (yes, you should be nurturing your candidates, too!),
- Top Candidate mailings promoting the cream-of-the-crop talent you have available
- Holiday/Seasonal mailings (i.e., 10 Tips for a Perfect Turkey, July 4th BBQ Recipes, Super Bowl Trivia, 5 One-Tank Trips for Summer Vacation)
- Quarterly promotions to encourage response
- Telephone or in-person contact at least once per quarter (you didn't think you could totally avoid human contact, did you?)
But donât just rely on one of these tactics. Each of these tactics has a different purpose and intended outcome. The best marketing plans involve multiple touchpoints across multiple channels every month. Just remember to track your results from each tactic so you have the metrics to measure your ROI.
Keys to Success
- Make sure any content you share has good take-home value for the reader.
- Get permission! Any email contacts you have should be permission-based. You don't want to be seen as a spammer.
- Keep it short. Unfortunately we live in an ADD world. Make sure your content is short and to the point. Save longer content for lead-generating eBooks and whitepapers.
- Get sales involved. Make sure your sales team knows what is going out every month. And rely on them for feedback. They are your eyes and ears in the field.
- Start a calendar. A monthly marketing calendar will help you not only identify what needs to be done, but when it needs to be done. The last thing you want is to be scrambling to send out a mailing on the last day of the month because you forgot.
- Don't stop selling. Just because you send out multiple mailings each month doesn't mean you should stop doing your regular sales activities.
- Stick with it! Remember, nurture marketing is not intended to get the phone to ring off the hook. This is a long-term marketing tactic, but one that if followed correctly, will make your sales efforts much more productive.
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