So many newspapers, big and small are finally putting together plans and training their sales people to make outbound calls for new business, and most of those targets are in recruitment. But I cringe every time I hear a manager tell me "the reps have a goal to make 50 outbound calls every day". When I ask, "what do you base that number on", I usually don't get a very logical answer.
If you are one of those newspapers, I would ask, 'Have you done a market study on the needs of your HR community and how they want and need to do business with your newspaper? Do you think they want to be part of a 50 call a day goal? Or do you think they want to do business with a newspaper that is truly interested in their short and long term needs? Do they want to be assigned to a sales rep that is so busy calling out for new customers, that they don't get the time and attention they deserve? Do you think they would rather have a sales rep that is better trained on providing the information they need to hire, better trained on helping them choose the correct contract levels, online packages and print copy and designs that will get them fast and qualified results? Shouldn't those selling recruitment be as well trained as your automotive reps in attending to their customers?
I know this is a lot to ask, but recruitment is not about transient inside sales any longer. The bigger the company, or the higher the turnover, means a company has complicated hiring needs. Calling them because their ad popped up on Monster or in another publication puts you behind the 8 ball, as the second buy when businesses in your circulation area should be making the local newspaper their FIRST buy. How can you get this to happen? One thing I can tell you for sure, it won't be by making 50 outbound calls a day.
CHANGING YOUR WAYS: Account Management
To be successful in recruitment, you need proper account management. And I don't mean dolling out accounts by an Alpha sort, giving one rep accounts that start with A, F, G and R and another rep C, G, H and T. That's not management, that's convenience. Are your outside reps given accounts by an Alpha sort method? Are they given accounts because they all run out and call any customer they want? No! In outside sales we have clear account management. Accounts are assigned in various ways, by territory perhaps in retail, or by the size of the company going to major account reps. In outside automotive, the biggest and toughest, and usually the most profitable accounts are assigned to the strongest, toughest and most successful auto sales reps.
There should be no NEED for outbound calling for new recruitment business unless of course a new business opens. Every business is your community should already have an assigned rep whose job it is to service that employer based on their needs. From Pizza Hut to Boeing, to the local dry cleaner to the huge Hospital, every employer has different needs and their rep should be fully trained to handle those needs.
TYPES OF EMPLOYMENT ACCOUNT SPECIALITS
So what type of employers are there, and how would I structure my account management to serve my community?
Major Employers: Your best rep needs to be meeting with your biggest employers to understand their complex hiring needs, even if they go through an agency. (Have an agency rep that works with the agency and an outside rep assigned to the Major Employer). And I would strongly suggest building contract packages based on this segment of your community. What do they want? Flat rates each month. Why are contract packages on Monster and Careerbuilder so successful and popular with employers? Because it is a flat amount each month the employer can budget and depend on it. Think out of the box here and find a way to build steady monthly rates for employers so that they choose you FIRST to fulfill contract obligations.
When is the last time you went on the website of your major employers to see what jobs they had listed. At one newspaper I did just that. The company has three job positions advertising with the newspaper and over 400 open positions on their website for that local market. Wouldn't that warrant an outside sales call to discuss getting all those positions in print or online with the newspaper?
Government: So you think you are getting all your government ads? Wrong. There is so much hiring going on at city, county, state and federal levels in your area it is almost impossible to keep up with it. Checking with websites help, but having a contract rate and a rep dedicated to this type of business key. Any job that is paid by taxes is the target market, from schoolteachers to garage collectors, from police to federal border patrol. Someone needs to be the expert in uncovering all these decision makers and getting their business in your newspaper.
Medical: Of course this is the hot button right now. Yet so many newspapers aren't even getting advertising from their top hospitals! There may be 2 or 3 major hospitals in your circulation area, but there are hundreds more clinics, dentists, nursing homes, mental health plans to keep two or three reps busy most of the time. Are you really interested in getting all this business? Do you think those making the 50 calls a day from inside sales are going to be able to attract more advertising form the complicated levels of hiring that a major hospital has? Don't you think its time you had an outside sales medical employment expert on your sales team?
High Turnover Business: Hotels, restaurants, retail stores, beauty parlors, drivers. Low paying, high turnover positions that need their own type of contract so that they can run ads daily and catch these employees who will leave a company in order to make 50 cents an hour more. It's a sales job all by itself. There are probably more businesses in this area in your community that any other category.
Temp Agencies: Manpower, Kelly, Account Temps etc. have extremely different needs. And they have left print for online competitors. Get an outside rep out to these companies and ask them what it will take to get them back in print and online with your newspaper. These companies need a whole different rate structure and its up to you to learn about their needs.
High Tech/Professional/IT/Web Designers: This is all about internet advertising now, virtual job fairs, aggressive online packages that target key areas on your newspaper website. Are you even trying to get this business back?
Blue Collar: Transportation, Construction, Trades, Labor, Manufacturing and Production, the list goes on. How much do you really know about the companies and industries that hire blue-collar employees? Why is it that this area keeps getting smaller and smaller in our employment pages. Is it cost? Of course not! It's timing, its product, and its promotion. Get with these decisions makers and find out what they need from you, when they need it and how they need it.
Sales/White Collar Office/Customer Service/Managerial: Whew, this is a huge category. Such different types of ads, copy, design and target market from all of the above. Do you have an expert for this category which would be your second highest and sometimes top hiring needs in your community? I recently trained at a paper and saw a small ad with the headline "INCREDIBLE GROWTH". The ad went on to talk about the huge amount of hiring this company was experiencing in all levels of white collar jobs. Yet, the rep was not even phased by this job title, did not recommend larger display advertising. It just didn't occur to the rep that the job description itself told of an opportunity to sell bigger and better advertisers.
Job Fairs: Is your newspaper name branded with job fairs in your community? Does every employer think of your newspaper first when it comes to hiring? Brand recognition is the key in Job Fairs, whether you throw your own or become part of a bigger event like Women's Expo or the County Fair. Whenever there is hiring, your newspapers name should be everywhere! Get with your colleges, your chambers, your labor departments and partner with them for at least 6-10 jobs fairs a year. This is how you become the first name in recruitment in your community.
No doubt even the most sophisticated, large newspapers are still struggling with the concept of target account management for recruitment. Monster doesn't struggle with it. Neither does Careerbuilder or Dice. Their reps have their account list, their territories or their segments of the employment market clearly assigned, they are trained to be come experts in that area, and know how to help each employer get the best results. Yes, just like we do in automotive.
Should you assign more sales people to recruitment? Or my question should be, do you want to do what it takes to own your recruitment business? If not, I guess those 50 outbound calls a day will eventually irritate enough employers to finally place at least one ad with your paper. Yes, the truth hurts.