Optimism is back in the staffing industry. Business is up, clients are calling us again, and all seems right with the world. But along with that optimism is a false sense of security, resulting in missed opportunities now and long-term consequences later.
Here are three sales pitfalls you should avoid to give your company an edge over your competition.
1. Walking on a people mover does not make you a faster walker - The American Staffing Association recently announced that 3rd quarter industry sales increased year over year by 35.6%! That's great news! But it also means that if your company is not up by at least that much, it is actually lagging the competition. In a normal economy most companies would be thrilled by 15 or 20% growth, but in this post-recession time nearly everyone is experiencing double-digit increases. Don't be content with the status quo - now is the time to create and implement an aggressive sales strategy to take advantage of both the opportunities and the competition's complacency in the market.
2. Hiring a sales rep is not a sales "strategy" - Many staffing companies are hiring sales people right now, and they should be. But few have a plan or any kind of structure to support this person, and inevitably most of these sales reps will fail. A good sales strategy should consist of a solid sales and marketing plan, specific metrics and quota, a commission plan that rewards for achieving company goals, and appropriate sales training and support for the sales person/people. Just hiring a sales person and expecting him or her to figure out how to be successful is a waste of money and frankly cruel.
3. Don't limit yourself to the Usual Suspects - We have just experienced the worst recession of our lives, and now that we have survived we need to learn from it. Companies have experienced record layoffs, revenue declines, morale issues, and lost productivity because they didn't have a flexible enough workforce. The staffing industry needs to capitalize on this pain before it is forgotten and companies go back to hiring full-time employees again (which they are already starting to do). Change your message to one of education, and shift your focus on companies, industries, and skillsets that traditionally have not used as much or any contingent staffing. Going back to the same old clients and prospects puts you right back into high competition, low margin opportunities.
We are definitely seeing a bounce back in our industry. Let your competition experience these pitfalls above while you capitalize on the changing landscape.