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SMART IDEAS #10: Staffing Sales SOP

Weekly inspiration for the staffing industry

ISSUE #10  |  December 16, 2023

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• Staffing Sales SOP…is there such a thing?

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SMART IDEA #10: Staffing Sales SOP…is there such a thing?

David Searns | Co-CEO


I think my nose is bleeding. 

Last week, our CMO, Jeff Staats, delivered a powerful rebuttal to my anti-automation for sales prospecting message.  

If you read last week—and the week before, you know that I am not really anti-sales automation, and Jeff’s response illustrated that there are right ways to use automation to accelerate sales. 

Put our two messages together, and you get a nice overview of what to do…and not to do in automating your sales outreach.

And if you missed either of the past two week's emails…what were you doing! Could there be a better way to start your Saturday? 😊 

Here are the links to those two issues of Smart Ideas Weekly: 

Issue #8: Stop Automating Sales 

Issue #9: Embracing Automation for Sales Growth

This past week, I was really inspired by a post in ASA Central.

The author of the post asked for advice on creating a staffing sales SOP (standard operating procedure).

At first, I was horrified!

What could be worse for the industry than having an entire industry using the same sales playbook?

21,000 staffing companies using the same process, tools, and message to sell.


As I contemplated this question, I realized that by and large, the industry does have a standard playbook:

  • Make cold calls
  • Do drop-ins
  • Network
  • MPC calls and emails
  • LinkedIn messaging

And that’s about it.

Sure, some companies will do event marketing. And lots do some form of content marketing for brand building. But when it comes to lead gen, old-school sales tactics dominate.

That’s not good. Not good for the industry—and not good for you.

What’s wrong with these sales tactics?

Where do I start?

  1. It commoditizes the industry…when everyone uses the same sales methods, it makes companies look even more alike. We don’t need that!
  1. Buyers of staffing HATE our sales methods…who wants to start a relationship by antagonizing prospects?
  1. The success rate is quite low…which leads to lots of frustrated and burned-out staffing sales professionals.

So, what’s the alternative?

If you want your company to stand out, DON’T SELL LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!

Now, here’s where I got inspired by that post in ASA Central.

It made me think…

If everyone is selling the same way, what COULD a staffing company do to sell differently?

My answer came down to four things:

  1. Improve the sales strategy.
  1. Improve the sales process.
  1. Implement better sales tools.
  1. Provide salespeople (and recruiters) with better training.

Improve the sales strategy. Be more strategic about the companies you target. Understand the personas of your ideal clients. Better align your company value proposition with those personas.

In a market like we are currently in, you need to sell the right solution to the right people. The more targeted you are, the more successful you will be.

Improve the process. Go beyond cold calling to reach out to prospects in unique ways.

Try integrating direct marketing with your sales efforts to capture attention, create interest in the solutions you can offer, put yourself in a position of authority, and get cold prospects to WANT to speak with you…before you call!

Even better, custom-tailor your integrated direct marketing plan for individual prospects and the specific decision-makers within those companies (this is referred to as account-based marketing).

Improve the process, part 2. Separate growth marketing from client acquisition marketing.

Growth marketing is about account management – finding better ways to retain clients, upsell, and cross-sell.

For new client marketing, we recommend the AIDA process (attention, interest, desire, action) to open doors with staffing decision-makers.

Improve sales tools. Oh, Jeff is going to love me now because automation is high on my list of tools to ensure an exceptional sales experience and improve conversion of website visitors to active prospects.

Beyond automation, consider video email, asynchronous selling, lead tracking software (to see who’s coming to your website), retargeting PPC advertising, and branded publications (email and print) to add value, nurture relationships, and keep your company top-of-mind.

Improve sales tools, part 2. Build a digital marketing system.

SEO. PPC. Blog writing. Social media. Reputation management. Email marketing. When used in conjunction—and with the right content strategy—these tools can be an ideal way to attract staffing buyers and differentiate your company with prospects already in the sales process.

A well-designed digital marketing system will attract employers, engage them – illustrate the problems you can solve and the specific value you can offer, and convert more cold leads to active sales prospects (and prospects to clients!).

Improve sales training. Last August, during our SMART IDEAS Summit, Mary Ann McLaughlin from Butler Street showed how to use ChatGPT for sales training. I was blown away.

Using free software—and some clever prompting, she showed how you can use AI to provide expert-level sales training for your team. With AI, you can train your team and better educate them about your clients, their needs, and the best ways to engage staffing buyers.

Did you miss our SMART IDEAS Summit? You can catch all the recordings at


I was so inspired by that post on ASA Central that I created a 26-minute on-demand webinar to walk you through each of the ideas outlined in this email.

Watch FIVE STRATEGIES TO GENERATE SALES LEADS, and please feel free to share this link with your team!

*Want more ideas to drive sales?

Visit Staffing Brainfuel a website filled with educational content to help your team.


What do you think of this issue of SMART IDEAS Weekly? Love it? Hate it? Either way, we’d love to hear. Just click reply and tell us your thoughts.

Have a topic (or challenge) you want us to address? Tell us that too! We’d be happy to provide specific tips for you in future issues of our SMART IDEAS Weekly



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