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No Rest for the Weary

It’s true that the economy has loosened up a bit and most staffing and direct hire companies are not feeling quite as tightly squeezed as earlier in the year. As the atmosphere improves, however, be watchful of going back to old bad habits.

There are always bright signs to a bad economy. We realize who the real players are within our organizations as they shined even when economic conditions were less than ideal. Our procedures were perfected as we maintained more focus and diligence to secure business. As the environment improves, think of how much more successful we can all be if we maintain the stride.

I remember when outbound sales calls were foreign to our vocabulary. Why call around when you have more than enough business by waiting for the phone to ring? It’s been a little different lately. Actually, it has been refreshing. With all the hype about this and that it’s interesting to enforce the basics of marketing and sales. There has yet to be a good replacement for the phone call. Speaking to a customer or a prospect puts an entirely different complexion on the call and the long-term relationship.

Sales Basic # 1: sell relationships. You may have a product but the sale and the long-term success for the vendor and the prospect is a long-term mutually beneficial business relationship. Relationships cannot be secured and maintained strictly with email and social networking. These electronic mediums may get you going and enrich the relationship as they offer convenience to a certain extent. However, it will be the voice at the end of the phone or better yet the face to- face greeting that strengthens the relationship.

Besides more phone calls and face-to-face meetings, the economy has forced companies to utilize their software in new and exciting ways. Most companies have enriched their database by securing additional facts about companies and candidates. This information has been used to secure business and will continue to serve these companies in months to come. This practice should be continued as knowledge is power. Without knowledge about your prospective clients and candidates, it is difficult to structure sales and marketing strategies. All major companies invest a tremendous amount of funding into market research and database maintenance.

Direct mail marketing, email marketing, text messaging, a great website and social networking are all ways to extend a company’s market presence. Utilize your staffing software for these functions so that your company has a fully integrated solution that extends beyond the front office.

Looking beyond front office, the back office is a stabilizing factor that contributes significantly to the service that you provide to customers. It is highly likely that your current customers kept you in business during slow economic times. The back office is a key component for customer satisfaction and long-term business relationship success. So many times the back office function is overlooked, yet it can make it very easy for customers to do continued business with your organization. Imagine being able to answer invoice questions instantly or effortlessly prepare the invoice in a format your customer requests. Allow customers to view reports and/or download invoice copies through a portal for additional service.

All software needs to be assessed in terms of what it can do for your customers. It’s great to be able to offer ease and convenience to employees and this is essential. However, it is equally important to ensure that the solution you choose will offer benefits to your customers. It’s the old, “Don’t only ask what the software can do for you also ask what it can do for your customers.” Customers should always be an important part of the equation when assessing and selecting a software solution.

Trending is also a notable component that software solutions should be required to provide. Effective planning and implementation simply cannot take place unless you know who your customers are, what they are buying and how much they are spending. You also need to know who your top performers are within the organization. This information should be easily accessible from your database without having to commit to hours of spreadsheet input on a regular basis. Companies that are “in the know” are always successful and will be in business long-term.

This article appeared in the June 2010 issue of staffdigest Magazine. www.staffdigest.com

Terri Roeslmeier is President of Automated Business Designs, Inc., software developer of Ultra-Staff software for the staffing and direct hire industry. Ultra-Staff is a staffing software business solution with components for front office, back office and the web. Terri’s email address is TAR@abd.net or for more information on Ultra-Staff go to www.abd.net

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