5 min read

Three Tactics for Recruiters to Generate Sales Leads

sales lead generation best practice

Generating quality sales leads on a consistent basis is critical to the success of any recruiter and is a key component to becoming a top performing recruiter. In this blog three tactics for recruiters to generate sales leadspost I’m going to share with you three tactics for recruiters to generate sales leads.  I'm also going to highlight the different types of sales leads recruiters can generate and the role and responsibility of the recruiter in generating sales leads, all of which should be a part of your methodology for executing the candidate interview and candidate qualification.

To begin, let me define what is NOT a sales lead. A sales lead is NOT

  • Only the name of a hiring manager
  • Only the name of a company
  • Only the name of a company, hiring manager and phone number
  • Only information indicating that a hiring  manager may be interviewing
  • A job posting

It's important that recruiters are clear on this because often times recruiters will share this level of information and then wonder why the salesperson never follows up with the sales lead. The reason is, when a recruiter hands a salesperson the name of a contact and company without any other information or context, calling that lead is no different than the salesperson making a cold call.  For IT staffing firms who wish to increase their sales leads, the starting point is defining exactly what constitutes a sales lead. Based on my experience I believe there are three different types of sales leads.  Below I provide a basic overview of each including the criteria required for each.  

Hot Sales Lead

  • First and last name of hiring manager, including correct spellinghot sales lead
  • Correct name and spelling of the company and web site URL
  • Correct phone number (did you call and test the phone #)
  • Information obtained from a candidate or anyone in the marketplace providing factual information that this hiring manager is actively interviewing (within the past 5 days) candidates for a contract opportunity  

 Warm Lead

  • First and last name of hiring manager, including correct spelling
  • Correct name and spelling of the company and web site URL
  • Correct phone number
  • We know for a fact that this hiring manager currently has contractors/consultants on their team.  We do NOT know if they are actively hiring. 

 Tip/Market Intelligence

  • First and last name of hiring manager, including correct spelling
  • Correct name and spelling of the company and web site URL
  • Correct phone number
  • We have gained second-hand knowledge that this hiring manager is responsible for a team and/or project and may be currently evaluating staffing companies or hiring consultants. We don’t know if they have the authority to hire contractors, and we don’t know if they currently use staffing firms.     

Starting with a basic definition and agreement of what constitutes a sales lead allows for proper expectations to be set between recruiting managers, recruiters, sales reps and sales managers. Of course the sales and recruiting manager will need to establish expectations regarding quantity of leads, follow up cadence, etc.

Recruiters “are the market.”  What this means in the world of IT staffing and recruiters generating sales leads is that recruiters—NOT salespeoplehave a deeper understanding of which companies are interviewing and hiring and how active the employment market is. Why?  Because recruiters are speaking with contractors all day long, day in and day out. Recruiters are in the best position to understand supply and demand trends regarding skill sets and experience, pay rates and most importantly which companies are hiring. Recruiters are talking with contractors everyday about new project opportunities and in return hearing from contractors about their current/existing projects and the new projects being presented to them from other recruiters. Recruiters are (should also be) speaking with their existing consultants on a weekly basis to understand what opportunities are being pitched to them from other recruiters. These are sales leads!  Recruiters should encourage their candidates to take those calls, just so long as they pass the details on to them. Because recruiters sit at the center of this vortex, recruiters are in the best position to generate sales leads. While this is common knowledge, this is not common practice; when speaking with candidates, recruiters should always be asking for the following information:

  1. Name and title of their supervisors
  2. Name of client companies and hiring managers where friends and colleagues have been interviewing (as the interviewer or interviewee) 
  3. Name of client companies currently seeking IT contractors and name of hiring manager(s)

Tactic One For Recruiters to Generate Sales Leads
First, the recruiter has a candidate in which the candidate has agreed to be presented or submitted to the client. In order to present the candidate you will need three professional references from current and/or prior supervisors. Capturing and calling these references can be a source of sales leads and is by far the most common way to generate a sales lead.  Once you get the name of the references and conduct the actual reference check calls, you can “flip” the call into a sales lead. This is a very common approach and very easy conversation to execute.

Tactic Two For Recruiters to Generate Sales Leads
The second tactic or scenario is where the recruiter has a candidate but no opportunity to share with the candidate. In this scenario the recruiter can still ask the candidate for references of past supervisors.  Obtaining candidates’ references—especially when you do not have an active job opportunity to present—can be a challenge.  However, top performers do this everyday.  With a little bit of practice, any recruiter can generate references from any candidate, if they are willing to ask.  To generate a sales lead in this scenario it is critically important that the recruiter first disarm the candidate and make them feel comfortable in sharing information with you BEFORE asking for anything, let alone references. Remember, you must earn the right to this information. In some instances however, you will hear objections when asking for a candidate reference, including:

  • "I don't want to burn out my references"
  • "I will give you my references when we get to the offer stage"
  • "Why should I give you my references, you don't even have an opportunity for me yet?"

In either scenario, the recruiter can use the following script.

“Mr. candidate, studies show that 70% of hires happen via networking, often in which an actual job doesn’t even exist. The reason I want your references now is because we use those references to bring your story to life when we market you to our clients. Your future employer wants to how your past supervisors feel about your and the quality of your work. Your future employer also wants to know what problems you solved for your past employers including your approach and the solutions you delivered.  The most effective way to share those stories is for you to share with me your past three supervisors so that I can interview them and bring your personal success stories to life and then share them with our customers, potentially your future employer. So how do you feel about sharing your references with me now?" 

Tactic Three For Recruiters to Generate Sales Leads
Your consultants currently on billing and the candidates you have placed in permanent positions are getting bombarded with recruiting calls and opportunities every day. Keep in touch with them on a weekly basis and be sure to ask them and do the following:

  • What new opportunities were presented to you this week?
  • Get the details of the project, scope of work, name of client company and hiring manager where possible.
  • Get the name of the competitors who are calling your consultants.

Offer your consultants an incentive for passing you sales leads. For example, you may want to tell your candidates that for every HOT sales lead they pass to you, you give them something in return. And for every lead that converts into a client, you will give them “X.” 

How are you going about generating sales leads? What are your best practices? What do you find most challenging about generating sales leads from candidates? Let's start a conversation in the comments section below.

Looking for additional insight into interviewing candidates? Download the eBook titled "Executing the Candidate Interview, Five Pillars to Effective Qualification."

Executing Candidate Interviews for Effective Qualification

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