A few weeks ago, I was talking to the owner of a digital marketing agency and the conversation turned to tools for tracking and measuring digital marketing efforts and staffing KPIs. Measuring marketing activities used to be a roll of the dice but with modern tools, a digital marketing agency can measure a whole range of metrics, some vanity metrics, and some real KPIs. Like anyone who has a shiny new toy, I started talking about a couple of cool solutions that I had recently come across and I was surprised to learn that she hadn’t heard of them. But I shouldn’t have been surprised, there are so many solutions on the market for measuring digital marketing effectiveness and so many good ones, that keeping on top of them is a full-time job.
But the conversation got me thinking about the broader challenge of measuring work effort and tracking outcomes. There are a hell of a lot of tools out there in the Sales and Marketing space, the revenue-generating functions. Using slick tools like Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, Salesforce, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Hotjar, you can pretty much track every digital touchpoint that you have with your prospects and customers. And you can map out how they interact with your org at various points in the customer journey. Using Hotjar, for example, you can see recordings of your visitors’ interactions with your website, where they spend their time, where their mouse scrolls or lingers, or what piece of content captures their attention. A savvy marketer can take that information and tweak the site accordingly to encourage the desired action, like submitting an email address to get an ebook or filling out a demo request form. But looking at the staffing industry, there seems to be a heavy reliance on tools that were made with other use cases in mind. And even with those tools, what parts of the staffing process are really being measured? What are the most critical staffing KPIs?
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some solutions out there for Staffing agencies like Brighthire and Honeit who are doing interesting things with AI and voice analysis at the interview stage. But in terms of measuring the process from the first interaction to the last, there seems to be a gap. Bullhorn and the other staffing-specific ATSs do a great job at measuring the start of the staffing process and tracking some really important sales and placement kpis, but what about the rest of the operations. What about the consultants who are on billing? Timesheet submissions? Time spent chasing consultants for onboarding documents? Or chasing clients to give a definitive answer on extensions? What about operations?
We asked around and gathered together a shortlist of staffing KPIs, key metrics that staffing agencies are using to keep track of their performance and to catch problems early. We think that these are top-heavy, that they focus too tightly on the transaction and not enough on the after-care, on the sale, and not the consultant. So we added a few staffing KPIs of our own.
Number of new prospects – how many net new prospects have entered the company’s pipeline. These prospects should be qualified, not just a company that someone happened to run into.
Number of sales meetings – obviously every staffing agency will judge this in whatever way makes the most sense in their org, but some degree of sales meetings turns into sales, so track how many meetings are taking place.
Number of sales proposals – a follow-on from above, the likelihood of closing a sale without a proper proposal is probably pretty low. With proper standards in place on what qualifies as a real sales proposal, this metric can be really powerful (ie. it probably should be more than a three-word email “are we on?”)
Sales deals closed won – obvious metric, track the deals that you win and celebrate those wins.
Sales deals closed lost – maybe a less obvious metric but many leading sales organizations swear by a good deal lost postmortem – more here.
Number of client touchpoints – how many engagements did the client have with your agency. How far apart were they? What was the catalyst, the turning point in their buying journey?
Sales Velocity – how long does it take for your clients to move from one stage in your sales pipeline to the next.
Weekly job orders – what’s the demand for roles looking like? If it is dipping, should you start investing in sales activity to drive more demand? If it’s increasing, do you want to hire more recruiters to fill that demand?
Number of starts per week – what it says on the tin, measuring this gives you a sense of the level of activity underway in your agency.
Acceptance rate – how many submissions are being accepted through to an interview, a proxy of how well your recruiters are grasping the requirements of the job, and how well they are matching those requirements to your candidates.
Interview-to-hire rate – how many of those candidates are interviewing successfully. If the candidate is accepted to interview, then their skills and experience obviously land somewhere pretty close to the client’s requirements. So this is really a measure of the recruiter’s ability to adequately prepare the candidate for the interview.
Fill rate – what percentage of total job orders are actually won. The fill rate is important because you only get paid for the roles that you actually place. A poor fill rate means that your recruiters are struggling to fill the job orders you have, which could be due to jobs being won outside of your core field or they might be undersold.
Time to fill – efficiency metric, looking at how long it takes your team to go from new job order to filled job. Obviously, the lower the better as long as you don’t sacrifice quality.
Redeployment rate – how many consultants are being successfully moved from one engagement to another. A redeployed consultant is much more profitable than a net new candidate and you know they can both do the job and get the job (interview well).
There are a host of financial metrics which staffing firms measure – gross profit and margin by client, by department, by recruiter. Due to the nature of payroll, staffing agencies need to keep a particularly close eye on their cash flow and profitability levels.
Olas suggestions for Consultant Care
Number of on-billing interactions – how many times the consultant interacts with the agency during the assignment. This should be an indicator of how closely connected the agency is to a particular consultant.
Consultant satisfaction – a standard metric that is becoming increasingly tracked in staffing agencies, how satisfied are your consultants with the service they have received from your agency?
Time to respond – how long does it take your agency to respond to a consultant’s question? Especially during payroll, the answer will likely surprise you!
In SaaS sales, there is a focus on the customer LTV, the customer’s lifetime value, which in its simplest form is the lifetime customer revenue minus the lifetime customer costs. It is a particularly powerful metric because it highlights how winning a customer once will generate revenue for the firm for a period of time before they churn. So just as long as the cost of customer acquisition is less than the customer LTV, the firm comes out on top. It is how Uber and Lyft justify providing extremely deep discounts to users who switch to their respective services. They know that once you get used to using their service, they will, on average, come out on top.
The same concept doesn’t seem to have embedded itself into the world of staffing, but we think there is an argument to be made for analyzing the LTV of a placement, understanding that there tends to be a natural rhythm to contracts of extensions, redeployments, or transfer to permanent positions. An agency can increase their placement’s LTV by keeping close to them, providing them with excellent customer care, and ensuring that they move to another role as seamlessly as possible. This is a shortlist of staffing KPIs, gathered from practitioners in the field. We’re sure the list could be more exhaustive, so let us know if we missed any. Get in touch if you want to learn how we help staffing agencies provide their consultants with excellent, automated support and increase their LTVs.