3 Mistakes Staffing Agencies Make When They Pitch to Prospects

All recruiters have received the following cold email:

“Hey [insert first name],

My name is [insert name] and here at [insert name of the staffing agency] we specialize in finding [insert job category] for some of the best companies in the [insert industry] space.

Right now we have a couple of very strong [insert job category] experts available and I was wondering if you’re available for a quick phone call at some point in the upcoming weeks?

We work with customers such as [insert your best logos] and would love to discuss with you how we could also help [insert company name] to achieve your growth targets in 2017.

[insert your name]

The conversion rate with this kind of a cold email must be somewhere close to 0. Most of the recipients see them simply as spam. And spam is not good. So how can you as a staffing sales professional do things differently and increase the conversions by 2x‑5x?

Here are the three most common pitfalls to avoid with cold emails:

1. Don’t be too generic.

People know that there are thousands of staffing agencies out there willing to help. If you decide to reach out to a potential customer out of blue, you’d better explain why your value proposition is special. The fact that you have a couple of customers in that same space is simply not enough. I mean, honestly, what staffing agency doesn't have a couple of technology or manufacturing companies in their clientele.

What you should do instead is show you truly understand their situation. There are endless amounts of information and insights about all the companies available on the internet. For example, don’t approach all technology companies in the same way, but gather specific information about each and every prospect you go after instead. If you understand the prospect’s current situation, their business model and their strategy, you can formulate a value proposition that resonates with their specific situation. The key is to identify your ideal customer profile and make sure your expertise stands out among all those sales scripts that they receive in a daily basis.

If you decide to reach out to a potential customer out of blue, you’d better explain why your value proposition is special.

2. Avoid the wrong timing

Way too often, these emails pop up in the inbox right after the recruitment process is already over and a new candidate has accepted the job offer. Sales reps scroll through job boards and send these more or less generic emails to everyone who has a job ad out for that data scientist or salesforce architect.

Best sales reps do things differently. They use modern tools to analyze a companies’ lifecycle and focus on signals that predict a swing in hiring volume. In our previous blog post we listed some of the most typical trigger events that often indicate a need for new people and new potential partners to help them out in their talent acquisition efforts.

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3. Don’t focus on job boards but a company’s own career page

When a B2B sales rep finds a company who has just placed a job ad on one of the major job boards, everyone knows it’s going to be tough to get your message through. There are tens or even hundreds staffing agencies systematically scrolling through these portals to find job openings that fit into their talent pool. And pretty often, it’s actually another agency who is posting the ad on behalf of the customer and it’s a difficult task to find out the actual organization who is hiring.

What seems to be a better approach is to monitor the companies’ own career pages. For example, in the U.S., there are tens of thousands career pages and most companies have an updated list of their current openings visible on those sites. These same openings might be visible in the job portals, but often in an anonymous format. The additional benefit of systematic analysis of career pages is that they provide a good overview of different types of profiles your prospects are currently looking for.

To summarize, what I think all staffing agencies should do is a simple 4‑step process:

  1. Narrow down your ideal customer profile by using modern company insights
  2. Keep track of the trigger events with all companies that fit into that ICP (more on how to get started with trigger events here).
  3. Have a systematic way to monitor all the career pages of your ICP companies
  4. Let your knowledge shine when you approach these prospects. Show them that you’ve done your homework better than your competitors

You will see that conversion rates in your sales cadence jump significantly.

Topics: Sales Prospecting, Vertical Industries

Mikko Honkanen

Mikko Honkanen is Vainu's CEO and Co-Founder with a strong background in SaaS industry and B2B sales.