Could Marketing be More Important Than Sales? Welcome to the New World.

Let’s face it. Over the past few years, the Marketing function has become more critical to the success of a staffing company than sales. This is a bold statement, I know. A staffing company is, essentially, a sales organization so how is it that marketing has become more critical to the growth plan?  Well, we’ve been hearing buzzwords like “digital transformation”, “automation”, and “social recruiting” for years now. Plus, more marketing technologies are emerging and the need to both understand and manage these platforms is becoming more important as people want to be communicated to on their terms. Throw in the pandemic accelerating all of this and now the entire selling and recruiting landscape has completely changed, not just for the staffing industry, but for all the clients as well. 

The entire sales methodology has shifted. When we look at the outbound sales function, it is a state of the art website that is being recognized by the search engines that must be aligned with the sales efforts. Remember, “sales” is outbound or push-orientated and “marketing” is inbound or rather pull-orientated.  It’s no doubt you have your salespeople making phone calls not really to get anyone on the phone that minute, but rather to leave a compelling commercial that will intrigue a hiring authority to explore the company further, most often driving them to their website.  Once that is reviewed and the value proposition is clearly communicated, then and only then will the hiring authority reach back out to the salesperson (hopefully!). A good majority of a salesperson’s activities are now social media-related tasks whether it’s direct outreach on platforms like LinkedIn or it’s keeping in front of them via a posting schedule. And should be responsible for the execution of this sales work? The marketing leader, namely the VP of Marketing or CMO. 

When we look at the recruiting function, where do I start? A marketing leader should play a huge role in the recruitment strategy in their staffing company. The marketing leader should be working with Recruiters to have a certain persona on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Marketing should be assisting recruiters with writing job board ads to make the ads more attractive, thus acquiring a higher percentage of candidates. Marketing leaders should be working Operational leaders and IT to ensure the quality of the information in the ATS is high and work with Recruiters to more fully utilize the database for more efficient sourcing.  Most importantly, marketing leadership should be managing the marketing campaigns, including candidate engagement platforms, like Sense and Herefish, and texting programs to ensure that staffing firms are getting the utilization and conversion rates from their investments. 

I am just touching the surface here with the responsibilities of this VP of Marketing or CMO.  I have not even addressed all the senior level executive responsibilities.  Think through the sales & recruiting functions and work tasks. This marketing leader should be touching all of those responsibilities. We are even seeing our clients, who are small owner-operator businesses, hiring full-time marketing leaders to lead and manage a bulk of this work. 

Guess who is managing and advising the entire company on job boards and job board usage?  You guessed it, the CMO.  Specific to job boards, all bets are off.  First, the job board metrics are way off due to all the craziness that has been going on in the economy and the job market.  Any when I say “the job board metrics are way off”, I mean that the price keeps going up and up and up and the results continue to go down and down and down.  A staffing firm cannot solve this issue by thinking about and utilizing job boards the way job boards were utilized pre-pandemic.  The smarter staffing firms are using programmatic advertising.  And guess who on the team is figuring that all out?  Again, it’s the CMO.  

I have been blogging here about the Chief Marketing Officer.  This title is going to be different depending upon the size of your staffing organization.  It may be a Direct of Marketing or a Vice President of Marketing or a Marketing Manager.  Regardless of the title, I really believe this role has become more critical to the success of a staffing firm than the Vice President of Sales.  At the Visus Group, we help staffing firms figure out these functions and roles and responsibilities and work tasks to adequately respond to the rapidly changing world of selling and recruiting. Marketing has rapidly become a very critical function in most firms, but finding the right leader to take the helm can be a challenge. We can help. The last thing you want to do is find yourself behind the competition. If you’re thinking about this role or hiring a marketing leader, contact us.

The Four Keys to Building a World-Class Production Team

“You cannot motivate people! All you can do is create an environment that encourages performance”. How about that statement? It did not come from me. Rather it came from my associate Steve Armstrong that was managing $4 billion in staffing revenue. How about this statement from Steve, “The number one driver of productivity is if the employee believes his or her manager cares about them.” Yikes! My associates involved in the extensive research conducted by Gallup on what the greatest managers do would disagree. They would say, “The number one driver of productivity is if the employee knows what is expected of them”. Creating an environment that encourages performance, clearly communicating expectations, caring for the persons being managed, etc.. Where in the world does a small business owner or manager begin in developing a world class team? 

#1 Define The Roles

Developing a world class team begins with clearly defining the specific responsibilities for each role on the team. Let’s take fulfillment. The recruiters, are they sourcing, conducting phone screens, selling candidates on job opportunities, doctoring up resumes, negotiating pay rates & benefits & training, selling hiring authorities on candidates, etc.? Are the recruiters running a full desk? If yes, what exactly does that mean? How about the sales representative role? What percentage of the role is research, prospecting, getting contracts signed, job order information, developing relationships, presenting candidates, negotiating, solving post hiring problems? With both the recruiting role and the sales representative role there are so many moving parts. The very first thing to consider in developing a world class team is clearly – clearly – clearly defining all the specific work tasks and responsibilities specific to each role on the team. 

#2 Establish Expectations

No doubt, establishing achievable expectations is an area that the staffing industry struggles with. It must be done in order to develop a world class team.  These are the performance metrics that surround the role(s). On the fulfillment side, think about phone calls, phone time, connects, phone screens, interviews, submissions, starts, etc. On the sales side think about connects, face-to-face or zoom meetings, networking events, leads followed up on from recruiting or marketing, etc. Some business owners I have met say, “When I worked at X-staffing company I never agreed with or liked the metrics. I always said that if I owned my own staffing firm, I would never have performance metrics.” Think about this, the expectations that surround the role(s) is how an organization communicates to its employees how to succeed within the organization. Remember the Gallup data, “The number one driver of productivity is if the employee knows what is expected of them”. And if you ask employees, they want to know how to succeed in the company. Employees “want to know” what to do on a day-to-day basis that leads to success and productivity.  

#3 Create a Development Plan 

The staffing industry benchmarking data shows that staffing firms spend less than 1% of revenue on training and development. At the end of the year, if the sales reps and recruiters are not faster, smarter, better than they were at the beginning of the year then the management has failed in their job responsibilities. We have two dynamics here: training and development. Training is all about how to use the Applicant Tracking System, learning the recruiting methodology, learning the sales methodology, and all the intricate work tasks attached to these methodologies. The best staffing companies in the industry offer training every week. Why? Technologies change, processes change, customers change, and we all get stuck into bad habits.  Development is all about knowledge and skills. Are the sales reps getting better at getting in the door of new clients or improving on ratios between jobs orders obtained and temps or contractors billing? Are the recruiters getting better at hires to submissions? Sales reps and recruiters move from a novice to junior to a senior. Well, who on board is “developing” them into seniors? How does that happen in the organization?  

#4 Connecting the Dots

Back to Steve, my associate, does the manager actually show they care about their team members? I had a client that once told me that on Monday morning he would go around the office and greet all the employees, ask about their weekend, wish the best for the week and on Friday, as employees were leaving for the weekend, he would show them a spreadsheet and inform them if they made him money or cost him money. I laugh every time I think about this story. The reason why caring and connecting with team members is so important is that it is impossible to understand what is important to employees if no one connects with them. It is the pathway to understanding what motivates them (it is not always money). Rather, the intrinsic motivations, the aspirations, the challenges that all employees bring with them into the work environment.  

Developing a world class production team is no short order. There are certainly a lot of moving parts with many components to consider. I have mentioned just a few of them here in this short blog. At the Visus Group, this is what we do. We help staffing organizations take a step back, think out, map out and develop world class production teams. Retention, engagement, productivity and profits go through the roof. Visit us at to learn more about how you can benefit from a relationship with us.