Sales Soundbite: Follow the Money
Over the weekend I reviewed Staffing Industry Analysts’ list of 2015 Fastest-Growing Staffing Firms. According to SIA, this year was the largest, with 102 firms making the list at a self-reported compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 24.2% from 2010-2014. The top 10 firms interviewed credited their internal team, metrics management, and customer focus as the reasons for their growth.
While these are critical success factors for any high-performance staffing firm, there is another dynamic at play that’s likely the #1 driver of their growth: demand in the skill segment they’re in. 36% of the top 102 are IT firms, 32% serve the industrial sector, and 22% are in the healthcare space. Light industrial business is the first to rebound from a recession (and the first to decline when one hits); most notably, the rebound in manufacturing has fueled demand that - if you’re in this sector – should make it hard to fail when it comes to top line growth. IT, driven by skill shortages and the lightning speed at which technology is moving, means the wind has been and will continue to be at the backs of these firms. And like IT, we can’t find enough healthcare talent in the U.S. to meet the needs of an aging population which will only get worse as 78 million baby boomers get older and older.
So it may seem obvious, but with strategic planning season upon us now, the easiest path to above-market growth is the path of high demand. Yes, you have to spend time and money to hire, train, coach, and work exhaustively to retain your internal talent. Yes, you have to manage by metrics. And yes, you should be obsessed with acquiring and retaining customers. But first and foremost, you want to create a growth strategy based on three things: 1) opportunity in the skill segment now (if you’re in one that’s flat or projected to grow only in the low single digits, can you be as successful as you want to be?) 2) projected demand in that segment over the next 10 years (high demand = job orders easier to get = more placements and more revenue), and 3) opportunity in that segment in the market(s) you’re in now and seek to enter (look at segment size and high-growth industries). Then create your strategy, execute well, and you’ll make the next list!
By Amy Bingham, manager partner, Bingham Consulting Professionals