Problem Solving in Branch Organizations No. 3

We’re in the home stretch for 2012 and it’s all about you, right?  Your company, your budget, your branches, your numbers. November often skids away from actual thanksgiving and instead settles into the busy “me first” season, a time when staffing companies become internally obsessed, focusing on…

  • Hitting Q4 numbers and annual bonus targets
  • Budgeting the next year’s numbers
  • Rolling out the next year’s price increases
  • Executing Q4 terminations and planning the next year’s headcount
  • Gearing up internal resources to ensure compliance with new regulations, such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Sound familiar?  Don’t panic, there is nothing wrong with planning for 2013 and the above steps are all necessary. But if that’s all we have time to focus on, we appear self-centered and ignore two groups of people who should be a priority: our customers and our team.

Problem # 3 in this Problem-Solving Series: It’s All About Me

 

Boy just writing that problem “it’s all about me” feels yucky.  So here are five smart inquiries to ensure that our desire to serve others comes to the forefront – and makes an even greater difference in the lives of our customers and staff next year:

  1. Which parts of my 2012 customer base grew the fastest?  What could I learn by taking a day to deeply and objectively examine the characteristics, needs and usage of these fastest-growing customers? Wouldn’t it be great to develop/share a confidential summary of this with my team?
  2. How are these fastest-growing customers using my service to make or save money in their business?  Warning: the disciplined answer here is about the goals and mechanics of the customer’s business not the quality of our service. Doing this well is a clear differentiator!
  3. Most staffing companies can break the lion’s share of their large users into five or six sectors. Sector by sector, what Trends and Opportunities will reshape workforce volatility in 2013 and how do I position my sales force “in front of the money” to help customers with the greatest volatility?
  4. When is the last time we reassigned target account responsibility? Now is a great time to update the current Target List and schedule 2013 “quarterly reassignment dates” for Targets stuck in neutral: literally put the reassignment dates on the calendar now and reassign the bottom x% each quarter. We used to say, “You don’t own this prospect, you are renting it.”
  5. Time to refresh our marketing message and ensure it aligns with what the sales force is hearing out there. A simple way to test this: “Can you read a portion of your website/blog/social media update to a prospect and generate interest in an introductory meeting?”  If the answer is no/no/no, then your sales force and marketing department need to change the way they are sharing information – in both directions.  A real (not fake) calendar-by-calendar discussion of what language did work to secure appointments last month is a great start.

If you can do this right and do this now, go ahead.  If the time is realistically not there, consider scheduling a couple days early in 2013, formalize your plans for those days and get started.

Frank Troppe
Frank Troppe analyzes trends in sales strategy and field operations. He is the author of three books and 40 articles on Branch Operations.

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