Staffing Technology with Maurice Fuller

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David Searns, Haley Marketing

by Maurice Fuller
July 6th 2021

David Searns and Maurice Fuller sit down to discuss how digital marketing, mobile apps, and programmatic advertising are changing the staffing industry.

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you are listening to the staffing innovation podcast with Maurice Fuller learn from the leaders who are transforming the staffing industry through technology innovation and digital transformation. Now. Here's your host staffing tech founder Maurice Fuller. Hello and welcome to the staffing Text staffing innovation podcast where we speak with people who are leading the digital transformation of the staffing industry. Hi, I'm Maurice Fuller, founder of staffing tech and stack manage. And today I'm here with David Stern's Ceo of Haley marketing. Digital marketing is one of the most important trends that is happening and staffing today and David and Haley marketing are on the cutting edge of this trend. Hi David, welcome to the podcast. I'm really excited to speak with you today. Hey Maurice glad to be here. This is going to be a fun chat, awesome. Well let's just jump right in and talk about what's facing staffing for us today is their biggest challenge and that's recruiting as we enter this post pandemic timeframe. Nearly every staffing from that I'm talking with has way more job orders than candidates. So let's talk about digital marketing and how that's changing recruiting and specifically I'd like to get into programmatic with you and what kind of impact that programmatic job advertising is having on the staffing industry.

So I thought we're gonna start with something easy. Like do I like the fact that Seattle is getting a new hockey team and they're already ranked hired and jump right in and give you the hard questions to start. All right, well let's talk recruiting. So yeah, you're exactly right. This is the number one, number two and number three issue for everybody in the industry. And it doesn't matter if you're recruiting I. T. Professionals. Healthcare, blue collar picker packers, it's hard to get people to go to work. So your question is, what does digital marketing do? So if we go back even just a few years ago, you know, what was recruiting for most companies? It was job advertising. Once upon a time it was monster CareerBuilder. Then it became indeed in zip recruiter. Social media has really changed the game and as you mentioned, programmatic, we'll talk about that in just a second. But now when I'm thinking about a recruiting strategy, I have to think through a lot more pillars. So once upon a time again it was advertising. That's one of the pillars I'm going to think about is how to maximize that advertising. Next thing I think about is that social media. How do I have a unique strategies for both active and passive job seekers On social, the active job seekers?

How am I selling my jobs, my brand as an employer of the clients I work with with the passive job seekers right now, how do I get people to go to work? I mean, just getting people off the couch because either they've got more compensation by staying home than working or they've got childcare issues or they're afraid to go to work there just uncomfortable. I heard a great interview with somebody was talking about one of the reasons light industrial workers are doing? No call, no shows is not that they don't want to work. It's that they're afraid because they don't know what their personal schedule will look like and they don't know what to do when their child school cancels. So rather than taking a risk, they just don't go to work. So in a digital marketing we have to think about how do we create messages to engage with these people on social passively active. Even our job advertising what we're posting has to change. We have to be communicating with people like the way it used to be many moons ago when job advertising actually where ads not digitized job posts and I mentioned there's multiple pillars.

We also have to think about our employment brand, we'll get more into that later. But staffing companies got to think about why should someone work for me? Why should someone work for a staffing company period. I don't know what the data is recently but esa used to always Say that four out of five job seekers did not think about the staffing industry as a career choice If we want to fill our job openings we have to reach that 80% and that brings us to the last Pillar is the company's website. So I know we're going to talk more about websites in a little bit but specifically looking at how much candidate traffic is coming to your website that never applies to a job and what am I doing to reengage that talent. What am I doing to increase conversion rates? What am I doing to tell my story in a more effective way? What am I doing to create better calls to action? So all of those pillars can be optimised to improve recruitment, marketing. And you mentioned one specific job advertising programmatic. So it's probably everybody knows its software to help manage job spend and there's two different ways it can be used. One is almost all the programmatic companies app casts the panda logics.

They have their own network of job boards. Kind of like this black box of job sites that they control. They will analyze using their software, analyze your job posts and try to figure out where to post the jobs to get you a better response. That's one form of programmatic. That's actually not the one we like the best, the one we like. The best is the second form where you take the money you're already spending with and indeed with the zip recruiter and you set rules and use software to control your bidding strategy so that now you're getting more return on the investment. So pre crazy situations we're dealing with right now we have clients that we're being told, hey to maintain your visibility on our platform, You're gonna need to increase your job spend by one company was spending 3500. They were told they needed to go to 5000 a month just to stay. Even we put programmatic in place, we had A 63% increase in the number of applications. And this is for health care and their spend went down by $200. It's all a matter of using the software to figure out how to better manage to spend.

Because what happens when you just let your branch offices spend the money is they'll advertise using a recency effects whatever job came in last that they need it's advertised and then the money tends to get eaten up by the jobs that were easier to fill because more people click on those jobs. So the software allows you to retain that budget and put it to the jobs that really need it. And that's that's where we love programmatic as it can drive such big results. And right now with the crazy situation, I mean you're today, cost of a job application is up 61%. Conversion rates are down double digits. So how do we get more response more are only what we're spending is we need the software to give us the data so we can then use the data to make better decisions about how to advertise. And that's where we see people doing it. Just the software is going to beat the human every time we made so many great points. And I'm just touching upon the programmatic, I think, you know, being able to work with a company like Haley to understand programmatic and optimize that and work with the right set of vendors for your particular market, I think is really great and your points about why job seekers may not be reentering the market.

And I think thinking deeply about why that is and addressing that in your communications is such a great point that you made and optimizing every pillar of the conversion process. So I would like to talk about this idea of digital transformation which is core to what we do here at staffing Tech and how the whole industry is digitally transforming. And we've talked about all of these different, different ways of attracting candidates which are largely digital and what I'm seeing is that is that marketing is playing a really, really big role in the digital transformation of staffing because they're central to a lot of things that are happening within staffing industries and they have broad visibility and all the different activities within staffing firms and recruiting and in sales and they play a central world. I wanted to get your view on what marketing is doing in the role that they're playing in leading that digital transformation. So if you think fundamentally about marketing, what's the purpose of it is to improve communication. It's to help an organization tell its story the way it wants it told.

But just as importantly it's to help another audience a job seeker an employer to discover a company that can help them solve a problem. So let's think about the digitization of that. The number of channels of communicating with people has exploded. So now I have to think about what I have to reach people on email texting social media. So I have to think about ways to digitize my communication to use the right message, the right medium for the various channels. Also have to think about one of my recruiters doing one of my sales people doing that really doesn't add a lot of value in the service process. And how can we use automation? How can we use technology to replace low value transactional work with low to no cost automation. So where are we seeing that? You know, you're seeing that in the sense in the air fish doing process automation, you're seeing that in the hubspot and the active campaigns doing more marketing automation. You're seeing lots of companies that are providing solutions that enhance communication. I know we're gonna be talking with on our podcast, great recruiters and uh you know, one of things they're doing is how you get feedback on the recruiter so I can use great recruiters as a way to automate the process of building brand for my recruiters.

So more is kind of you know looking at this if fundamentally how do I enhance communication? So we start with your clients and candidates, how do they want you to communicate with them? There's what's the status on texting? It gets like a 90 some odd percent response rate versus email which gets less than 10. But lots of staffing companies are still doing almost all their candidate communication With email. So how do I incorporate texting? How do I match the timing of communication to the behaviors of the client or candidate? Well that data about behaviors is probably going into my 80 s. They applied for a job, they came in for an interview, they hit an anniversary with us. That's where automation comes in. I can improve the candidate touchpoints using that automation to make a better service experience. So the short answer to your question as best I can summarize is I have to think about technology enhancing communications so my recruiters and my sales people can spend their time doing the things that they are most needed to do in the process of serving clients and candidates. That's really Great.

And it really leads right into my next question which is market has changed so much over the last 5 to 10 years in general but in staffing specifically and it sometimes feels like it's overwhelming for small staffing firms to know all the different things that they need to know to be effective from S. C. 02 social two web site design automation, email campaigns etcetera. It's it can be overwhelming and the large companies have the advantage that they have all these people that are specialist who can do these kinds of things. But if you're a smaller firm, small to mid size firm, how do you deal with all these different pillars of digital marketing and be successful with limited resources? That's a great question Maurice and you write it is overwhelming. When we started hilly marketing group way back in 1996 we were ghostwriters, we wrote sales letters to help salespeople stay top of mind. We had one thing we did because that's how salespeople communicated. Most of them were even emailing clients in 1996. They were making cold calls and they would write fast forward to today and now we've got all these different communication channels and all of these options for how I can connect with employers and job seekers.

And I think that challenge for a small to midsize businesses, there's gonna be a lack of resources. Once upon a time I thought I knew a lot about marketing and our company as we've grown, we have specialists, we have teamed up with 54 people that have specialists in social and social PPC and google PPC and google search, advertising and website development. So for a small company that key is focused, don't try to do all these things figure out what am I trying to accomplish? Do I need more clients? Do I need more candidates, everyone's heard the acronym smart to set smart objectives, how many do I need? I'm always amazed at the number of business owners and you ask them about their strategy for this year or even their business goals for this year. Like well I want to grow by how much? Well 20%. Why 20%? How many clients does? 20% mean the more companies can start to break down their goals so they know exactly what they want to accomplish now. From a marketing perspective, they can then pick what tactics are most likely to accomplish the goals. I've seen executive recruiters that would be like I want to add four new clients this year, very modest goals.

So I want to get really active on social media. And my response is why I understand if you really want to drive inbound marketing and you're trying to really grow your business. But if you have four new clients, that's the wrong marketing strategy, you'd be wasting a lot of time and resources to get found. So you get four new clients, we can go directly at 15 new clients that are prospects and maybe land for. So the strategy is the key. What do I want to accomplish then match the tactics to the goals so that you're only doing what's essential. That's really interesting. And that kind of leads up to my, something I've been thinking about David witches, Do you think staffing firms in general russell moore with the execution side or or more with the strategic side or is it some combination of the two in terms of optimizing their marketing approach. Alright, so people listening don't get mad at me for saying this, it should be the strategy side. And I see a lot of really good marketers, that's where they focus on the strategy side. But that's not the majority out of the 20,000 staffing companies, there's probably 18,000 that struggle with the tactics because they put tactics first.

Oh, I should be on Tiktok because I see that all the younger workers in the office spend time on Tiktok, we don't have an instagram game plan. What are we doing on instagram? They didn't start with the strategy. So they then struggle with the tactics because there is no strategy. Yeah, that's fascinating. I'm glad that you framed it up that way. I wanted to ask you about the measures that staffing firms should be using to benchmark and measure their performance on the marketing side. I feel like a lot of companies I work with. I don't really have hardly any measures that they're looking at other than maybe what the best sources are for making placements. Great question to which there are some good answers. Some hard answers. Let me start with the good answers in an ideal world, you're starting at the placement and working backwards. So you've got full psychoanalytic so I can actually see leads coming in? Impacting data going into my 80 s Impacting data replacements being made? We see that with some of the programmatic particularly with full horn when when our clients using bullhorn and they're using click cast our programmatic software.

We can see all the way through the placement. So that's an ideal world as I know and I'm able to track individuals through the entire sales funnel with the entire recruiting funnel to placement but that's not the majority of the time. So and particularly small to midsize businesses it can be very difficult to track all that data where I see people often focusing our on the vanity metrics. How many likes did we get? How many followers do we have? What kind of engagement do we have? Those are really easy to collect but they're the least valuable data. Now if you're just looking at overall, am I having reached into my marketplaces they're going to be some sort of brand recognition? Yeah it's great to see how much likes an engagement you have. We have to look somewhere in the middle and so I would back up the sales funnel if placements the end. What comes before that? Okay. Job applications. What's our metrics on job applications and what are our data sources for job applications? What's ahead of that? Okay, visits to our career site are we seeing an increase in traffic over time to our website? Is it slowly increasing? Is it more like a hockey stick exponential increasing. I can look at S. C. O. I can look at social, I can look at PPC and I can look at what kind of web traffic is it driving PPC is a little bit easier because I can actually look at what am I spending?

What's my cost for every click and what's the conversion rate? At least I'm filling in a form now. Again if I can see into the 80 S I can get my conversion rate on a placement being made but most time at least I get a conversion rate on a form. So for those people are listening, David is talking a lot of numbers. It starts as easy as you can for our own company. We count one metric sales leads. There's a ton of things that can drive sales leads and we do look at all the individual pieces to see what's working. But if that one metric is not on I don't really care that all the others are and then I'll break it down if that one metric is on I might look to optimize some spin but I'm happy because it's easy to manage A lot of people. You mentioned recruiting. I think I think the biggest thing is what sources driving the candidates we place and what should I be paying per place to applicant per application. That that's where again the programmatic and add that data in. But the thing I would try to avoid is the vanity metrics unless the goal was solely about. I'm trying to build my company brand. It's sort of like I can see how many people saw a billboard or I can place an ad and I buy it based on cost per 1000 impressions.

It's really hard to tell the response. Now the market is in the audience are going to argue with me because they're going to say, well we can put you tm tracked links into everything we're doing. So we're actually tracking every single click and we can get very granular with what people are clicking on and we can benchmark campaign a against campaign, be against campaign. See absolutely you can that takes a much more sophisticated approach to marketing which a lot of companies are going to have time or resources to do. But it's the best way to track all the data. Yeah, exactly. The larger staffing firms with lots of internal resources, they can build out these really sophisticated ways of tracking. But it's interesting you can boil it down to just one key metric like that. I think that simplifies a lot of things. I like how you've done that. I wanted to jump into staffing websites which are super important and get your view on where staffing websites are headed as we move into this new world of mobile phones and do you see websites essentially becoming apps and you know, where does mobile play into website presence?

Fantastic question. So I have to answer it sort of in two parts. So the first is just websites themselves and we'll talk about apps. One of the really interesting things that happened last year. We track analytics on hundreds of staffing companies and the total traffic to our client's websites. Prior to the pandemic was running about 55 to 58% mobile. Since the pandemic, the mobile percentage actually dropped too low forties still high but it has declined greatly as people are working from home. They're using their computer is their primary method of accessing staffing company websites. So what does that mean? Doesn't negate the value of mobile? We'll get to absent and the value mobile, it does mean I really have to think about the experience of the user on both platforms. So desktop and mobile and now from the website, what's the role of the website? Is the website there to tell your story probably is the website there to facilitate commerce. I'm mostly there to help people get two jobs and I'm mostly there to get employers to contact with us about our services. So I see websites sort of migrating almost like when you go to a netflix kind of sight, I'm not there to learn about netflix, I'm there to watch a show.

So as we go forward with staffing websites and apps cross over into this, I'm there to find the jobs. How do I get them as quickly as possible? Is the homepage do I have a search toolbar just like I would if I was going to and indeed if I'm looking for talent, can I come there and like I'm on up work, search your candidate database and see what's there and see and do self service. I see more and more staffing firms will be migrating to platforms for facilitating transactions than just branding sites. Doesn't mean rating is not important. But again, why are people coming to your website some of the time they want to learn about you, but more of the time they want to do something. What is it they want to do Now let's talk about apps. My view on apps was greatly changed during the last year, particularly if you look at health care, if you look at I a success story. If you look at snap nurse, I I saw their ceo viewed at the executive forum, he talked about, it was 330 some odd percent growth last year, which he attributes to their mobile app. Why does it work? Because for the right kinds of health care jobs particularly of per diem jobs for snap nurse does really well when there's not a lot of time to place an order.

I can't wait for the staffing company to go do recruiting. I can put the order out, nurses can go find a ship. It is a perfect fit and I think where apps facilitate a more efficient last mile they are going to dominate but where it comes to, I have to get a job order, I have to go recruit, I think app's platforms. It's going to be a struggle for most companies to get people using their platform. The big guys they have reached, they can use all their branch network, they can get thousands of candidates or hundreds of thousands of candidates on their app. And for most staffing companies where the apps really going to make a difference isn't in creating a gig platform, it's in enhancing the service experience, what your time entry is here where you can get you check your pay stubs here, you can basically everything I was going to do by calling in. I can now do 24 7 just like I used my banking app. Think that style of app is going to be critical for all staffing companies. The mobile platform will depend on the kind of roles you Phil yeah lots of great information here. I think mobile is the future and mobile apps for staffing firms is where it's all going And that's interesting about the challenge about getting users to actually use the app and I'm sure that's where Haley will play a role is in working with staffing firms to accelerate adoption of mobile apps.

I want to move on to marketing automation which is one of my favorite topics and you've set up a practice focusing on automation and marketing automation and I wanted to get your view on that. We touched upon that earlier, but I want to understand more about the potential for automation and marketing automation and what that is doing for staffing firms in terms of enabling them to move faster and more efficiently and filling orders so that if you think about the purpose of automation, it goes back to my earlier comments about taking low value of transactional tasks, enabling them to get done faster more efficiently more consistently. It's also about the overall client candidate experience. I'll date myself here Maurice. So back in the olden days in my parents staffing company, we used to run a ton of ads every sunday in the local newspaper. The phone would ring off the hook on Mondays, the recruiters would be like wait I'm really busy take a message. It's like wait a minute, you just spent thousands of dollars to get people to respond and you don't have time to take the call. Well that's happening today, but now it's happening digitally, emails are coming in, texts are coming in.

Imagine the poor recruiter, how do you possibly have time to stay on top of every candidate communication and then let's add in facebook messenger and all the other places that messages could come in from clients and candidates. People can't keep up. So we looked at automation and we looked at the fact that there's amazing platforms out there. So we mentioned sense here fish hubspot we've seen for years, people buying hubspot which is a sizable investment with almost no strategy on what to do with it. So my analogy is, you know, that's sort of like buying a Ferrari but leaving out the engine, the engine for automation is content. And the reason we're building an automation practices, we see the ability to create more journeys and sent speak more campaigns and we use active campaign, an active campaign creating recipes that enable staffing companies to create a higher level of content, create a greater volume of content. Jeff staats is our new chief marketing officer. He comes to us with really deep marketing automation experience and he said he, his firm, he had 250 cents journeys running a lot of our clients are running a handful of sense journeys because they don't have anybody who knows the product to do the technical side and knows the content to be able to create engaging email, text content that gets people to respond.

And ultimately, automation is again, go back to where we started, it's about communication, it's about enabling communication at scale to strengthen relationships. That's what staffing has always been about just doing it in new ways. And we just see that there's so much need for companies who are adopting these tools to find better ways to use them because it's impossible to resources. One of our clients said, well I'm going to go higher. A $40,000 fresh out to help with my social media, I want them to do the automation is two. And Jeff talk to this client said, let's be honest with you that person doesn't exist. You're not going to find someone with that combination of skills to get an automation person who knows the technical side, who knows the content side. And then to get someone who's gonna be your social media, they're two different people. And the the automation person is going to cost you a lot more. So we see that most companies don't need this full time. Even we set up our own active campaign. We hired a consultant help with the data migration to help with the initial setup. Somebody who knew the platform because we wanted to shortcut the learning curve and someone who could show us things that we didn't know how to do because we don't want to learn by stubbing your toe.

Well, very insightful. And Jeff staats is certainly a brilliant marketer and you're very fortunate to have him on your team. And I think any Haley client that works with Jeff is going to see terrific results. I also think that smaller and midsize staffing firms can use automation to really set themselves apart. I've seen some solid firms do amazing things with automation. So I really think this is a very, very important part of the digital transformation of staffing firms and I'm glad to see that you guys are leading the way personalization you touched on that a little bit with respect to market automation but that's a really big part of what you're doing and way to drive value. Right. Yeah. It's an expectation. Now go back to the netflix analogy, you know, you you log on and netflix has a recommendation engine that's going to find you shows that match things you've looked at in the past, it knows your past behavior. Now, I don't know that all the staffing automation platforms have that kind of recommendation engine at this point, but people expect relevant communication. So as status changes, as a relationship changes, they want more and more relevant information coming from whomever is reaching out.

And so that personalization is beyond just addressing somebody as high Maurice. Here's my standard email for you. It's really acknowledging the status of the relationship, the status of your career journey where you want to go next or as an employer, the needs you're likely to have and then ensuring that what you're serving up is as relevant as it can be nice. All right, well this is staffing tech and we do think a lot about staffing technology and so I would like to ask you about marketing technology and what your thoughts are on how staffing firm should think about investments in Martek to drive the most value and supporting effective digital marketing plan. Great question. I wish I had an easy, great answer. But let me think about this one for a second. So from a technology standpoint I would start with looking at what are the greatest barriers to client and candidates service today? Is it the capacity of my recruiting team? Is it the ability to get the message out by the sales team? Is it staying top of mind with people?

So looking at where the gaps are in your service process will help you identify where can we use digital transformation to eliminate what was human service with technology. If I was going to start Maurice the first place to look is obviously your website before. I mean that is your storefront, that is your branch office. I remember client once arguing with us saying nobody goes to my website, it's just a brochure and this was a sizable regional firm. And we I told him we beg to differ if you look at your google analytics which he never had. This company had had 600,000 visitors to their web site in the past year. He had no idea because he never looked at it. He just assumed because he was not a regular visitor to his own company website or other companies websites, people weren't using it. And we said like how many people visited all of your branch offices collectively in the last year But it was a lot less than 600,000. So I need to make that branch office facilitate transactions as effectively as I can. What would I look at next then? I look at the automation tools, how do I make that service experience more personal, more efficient.

I look at a chat bot on my website because I'm not open 24 7 and people expect some sort of response 24 7. So do I have some way to engage people even if it's simply just to collect information to drive people to the right pages on your website. That would be the next thing that I would look at investing in. I would look at social automation. One of the things that's very challenging is getting salespeople and recruiters to participate in active management of social media. Social media gets better results when the people in your organization participate than when it's just from your company pages. But it's like pulling teeth. So one of things we do is we build software to automate this so that we could have a marketing department centrally curate what they want the company to be sharing. But then sales people and recruiters can automate without losing control over their own personal social media, automate the sharing to do that team based content distribution. That would be the next level I would look at and then and then I look at a lot of the bells and whistles. So I would look at video platforms, video is so effective on social media but for a lot of companies, once upon a time it was difficult to create.

Now all of us have a zoom account so now video is much easier but there are platforms that make it really easy to create branded videos so that I can make that a regular part of the communication. I don't have one client in in Dallas texas. They're using video email to do outreach as opposed to just picking up the phone. And in last october when they couldn't get into clients offices, they sent out 300 and some odd video emails, I got 34 new clients. They certainly don't get that kind of response if they made 300 and some odd cold calls. So then again it's about looking at where the gaps are in the process and they said you know our current calling methods are very inefficient. What would make them better and looking at those point solutions. We'll go back to the beginning, it's about communication and strategy first and then that determines where to invest in marketing technology. Yeah, so many great points and you know, staffing firms don't necessarily need a lot of tools in their Martek stack but they need the right tools and with the right tools that can have a really significant impact. So David, thank you so much. I always learn so much when I talk with you and best way to reach you is email discerns that hilly marketing dot com reach out to me on linkedin or check out our website Haley marketing dot com and I see every contact form that comes by.

Sweet. Alright. Thanks David and thanks everyone for joining us today on the staffing technology innovation podcast. And we'll see you on the next episode so long. Everyone thanks so much Maurice. Thanks David. Thank you for listening to the staffing innovation podcast with Maurice Fuller. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on your favorite sites like Itunes and Spotify. If you enjoyed this podcast, please give us a rating on Itunes.

David Searns, Haley Marketing
David Searns, Haley Marketing
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