When they first started a free trial account on Platformax and I looked into their company details my first thought were “can a HR agency really benefit from using Platformax?”
As it turned out later, the answer to my question was ABSOLUTELY YES and they became one of our favorite clients and we’ve since build up a very strong relationship.
Their work is completely account based, where they build a strong connection with their clients. They are aware how important it is to know the client, know the people working there and have an overview of all the history, so they can plan the future in a smarter way.
However, building a relationship demands that you:
- Do not to forget about things!
- Have a full overview on who spoke to who about what …
- Know the current opened and past cases,
- Maintain a proactive relationship where you are the one opening new opportunities and sharing information
In the beginning, they were using tools that all companies use when first building a business – Google Spreadsheets and email with Microsoft outlook.
CHALLENGES – STARTING POINT
Candidates database and segmentation
This company needed a system where they could keep all the details about the candidates, together with documents and past interactions. Previously this was done in Google Drive folders, that they used as a data repository, but problems showed up when it came to search, planned actions and segmentation.
Clients database and segmentation
There was no good and scalable system in place to help them share the contact and other details of customers and prospects. There was no system at all to help them track the past and planned activities (meetings, calls, client management) related with those contacts, so there was a great risk of losing data, missing planned activities and similar problems. Their big fear was that they had a feeling that they were missing things and opportunities, but they had no way to make sure if things were OK or not.
On top of that they had no good system for contact segmentation based on different conditions or combination of those.
Their recruitment process was not really controllable and actionable. Some kind of questionnaire was shared via Google drive and they would move the file through folders for three stages/steps in the recruitment process as they progressed. They found it very difficult to navigate between different deals and make the relation to companies. There was absolutely no way to track the tasks and activities related to the projects as well.
The true nightmare started when they had to run several projects, that were at different positions, all using one growing account, with several contacts – team managers (sales, marketing, administration, customer service).
As I mentioned previously, the HR business is account based and there are simple rules you must follow to build a good, reliable and loyal relationship. You can do this very well with your computer, personal notes, personal contacts and without a CRM when you work with just a couple of clients and you are a one-man-band or a team of 2-3 people.
But if you are doing a good job and your company grows or when one of the key team members leave with all their contacts and data, then soon you will realize that you can not grow like this and your business can easily fail.
HOW WE SOLVED THEIR CHALLENGES WITH PLATFORMAX
Clear rules were set on how work will be done in the future and those rules were the same for everybody in the company – from CEO and owner, to account managers and administration. Everybody in the company needed to understand and visualise how the work will be done from now on, why are those changes are happening and what the benefits for the company and each team member are.
As Platformax handles two types of contacts (People and Companies), it was easy to set up a database of candidates – people without relation to companies. Besides the basic details, like name, surname, address and contact details (phone, mobile, email), we also added several custom fields, so the team could easily have more details about the candidates, including:
- Current status – drop down selection field with preset values: employed, unemployed, employed but want to change, most wanted, super-star,
- Birthday – date field, with date selection,
- Gender – dropdown menu, with female/male genders,
- Skype handle – custom text field,
- LinkedIn profile – custom text field,
- Finished education level – dropdown menu with preset values,
- Finished education field – dropdown menu with preset values,
- Graduation year – custom text field,
- Other education and courses – custom text field,
- Language – multiple selection field, with preset values like ENG business, ENG native, ENG highly proficient, ENG very good command, ENG basic communication skills,
- And some other later added fields, like work experience etc.
With this data about the candidates, Platformax users used smart filters on people to easily segment them and get the database of candidates with only a few clicks. For example:
Show me candidates that are available, older than 35, female, bachelors in economics, speaking english and with basic italian communication skills, living in the city X.
All filters can be saved for individual usage and they are then available to everyone in the company, so accessing some segments became incredibly fast, i.e. the preset filter “Available sales reps” showed the segment of all candidates that were available and have knowledge and experience in sales.
On top of that, all sent and received emails between the team and candidates were automatically tracked, together with all phone calls and meetings/interviews. Using our detailed contact card, the company used the included document storage feature to keep documents in one place.
Every day, their database keeps growing and it is an incredibly important asset of the company.
Organising their database of companies and their connections working in those companies was the first step and we solved this with a custom implementation, in a similar way as with candidates. With companies we used the basic details like Company name, address, website, phone, email, VAT number, Status (client/non-client, type (lead, client, partner, supplier, competition,), account manager, and then some other fields including:
- Industry – custom dropdown menu with preset values,
- Company size – custom dropdown menu with preset values,
- Yearly revenue – custom number field,
With all people connected to their companies in the database, Platformax users could easily see the role of that person and all of their activities.
Segmentation worked with smart filters in a similar way like with persons and with just a few clicks, all Platformax users could access Companies from industry Financial services, with more than 250 employees that they were not in contact with in the last 6 months.
We also also tracked all past and planned activities related with clients and people working there. Some activities like sent and received emails and phonecalls were tracked automatically.
It was very important that all communication about recruitment of candidates is organized in a timeline and accessible with few clicks.
We used cases to organise their three steps recruitment process. Cases were related to candidates and had a clear naming convention: company name – position. Every case had an owner who was responsible for the recruiting process and, people could communicate privately internally or get in touch with candidates within cases.
Te define and quickly differentiate in which stage a specific recruitment project is we used these case types: EVALUATION > PERSONAL ASSESSMENT > INTERVIEW > REFERENCE CHECK > FINAL LIST
As candidates progressed through the team’s stages, they changed updated case types so, with fast filtering, they could easily see all details about every project. As candidates fell out, they would close their cases. The process was simple and controllable.
This was a dream come true for them. With all above points covered, we managed to get all the basics for successful account management in order. All details about all accounts were neatly organized and accessible to all team members. Data was safe and backed up daily. The management team had permissions to export the data if needed and use it for other tools – i.e. email marketing or similar.
There was no problem to find answers who did what, with whom, when, how and in relation to what.
On top of everything mentioned, we organized a sales process that did not exist before. We defined their sales pipeline stages, so company could handle inquiries from their clients and make sure nothing gets forgotten or lost. Using detailed view of opportunities, it became easy for them to know what is happening with each and every one of their opportunities.
They were able to get answers to questions like:
- How many opportunities are we working on now?
- Where do most of opportunities come from?
- What are the reasons we are not winning opportunities?
- Who is the most successful person in getting new accounts?
Going back to my introduction to this case – I’m more than happy to say that I was wrong and that with Platformax we managed to structure the complete workflow of an HR agency. I now dare to say that Platformax is a great match for all mid-sized HR agencies and we’re looking forward in meeting more of them.