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Flipping the Recruiting Funnel – Connect Phase

Welcome back to the flipping the recruiting funnel series. This week we will be taking a closer look at the connect phase. If you’re new to the series and want to catch up on anything you’ve missed you can refer back to the previous articles covering the recruiting funnel, average lifetime value, convert, and engage phases.
When we covered the engage phase, we were focusing primarily on external forces. What channels or sources were working and how effective were they at providing the leads/hires you’re after. So, if we take a brief look back we know exactly what kind of drivers are most valuable to us (average lifetime value), we’ve looked to see what’s working to bring those drivers in (convert phase), and last week we focused on trying to find the best sources of those desirable leads (engage phase).
As we continue to work backwards through the funnel, with the connect phase we will once again be looking inward to try to find the best ways for you to move forward with your leads on valuable prospects.
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Moving Forward in the Connect Phase

Before we get too ahead of ourselves there is a couple of things I want to touch on that routinely pop up as stumbling blocks for fleets and their recruiting partners at this point in the process.

Becoming Blinded by Metrics

Blinded by MetricsWhen you’re trying to find the most cost-effective and efficient way to bring in drivers it’s very easy to become overly focused on a handful of metrics. While the metrics themselves are often helpful, over-reliance on things like cost-per-clicks and impressions can really hamper your efforts. It comes back around to trying to focus on value as opposed to cost. That’s not to say completely ignore them, just take them with a grain of salt and realize that they are only a small piece of the larger picture.

Failing to Account for the Time Factor

Another big mistake is failing to account for the time it takes to move leads along through your process. We’ll touch on this a bit more in just a moment, but the big thing here is to realize it takes time for a campaign to work and even if it’s effective and you have leads pouring in and converting to hires, you may not truly begin to see those results until weeks down the line depending on what your lead velocity is.
For instance, let’s say that your fleet hires 30 new drivers in July. But, you have a lead velocity of 32 days, meaning it takes a little more than a month to go from contacting a driver to orientation, to hiring. That means that anywhere from ⅓ to ½ of those new hires are from the previous month. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just something you need to take into account when trying to measure how you’re doing and what to do next.
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Things to Focus on in the Connect Phase

Things to Focus On
Now let’s shift our attention to the things you should look at during the connect phase of your recruiting funnel. There’s four main areas I want to touch on:
1. Unanswered Calls / Uncontacted Short Forms
2. Recruiter Capacity
3. Speed to Contact
4. Lead Velocity

To make this a little more manageable I’m going to break these four into two chunks. The first dealing with your recruiters and how they handle your leads; the other centers on how fast those leads get worked.
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Recruiter Capacity and Unanswered Calls

As we all know recruiters play a large role in just how successful your recruiting ends up being. A lot of that comes down to just how effective they are and how they actually work leads.

Looking at Unanswered Calls/Uncontacted Short Forms

The first thing to look at is how your recruiters are doing with calls or forms. How many inbound calls do they get compared to how many they actually field and work? How many leads do they have from form submissions. How many have recruiters contacted versus those they haven’t? Are those leads just sitting there getting cold?
Taking a look at these numbers can help you increase recruiter efficiency. If you have a surplus of inbound calls or uncontacted short form submissions, maybe your recruiters are overwhelmed and you need to bring in some extra help to field the excess. No one wants valuable leads that have been bought and paid for going uncontacted and growing cold.

Determine Recruiter Capacity

Recruiter CapacityBy looking at how many calls or forms go uncontacted you begin to decide if you have any recruiter capacity issues. If calls and forms are falling through the cracks you may have too many leads for your current number of recruiters to handles. Going further, you can take a look at how many inbound responses per month each of your recruiters is actually able to handle. It’s important not to overload them with too much, but you also want to make sure they are not left idle without any leads to follow-up on.
Every fleet is different, so be sure to take stock of yours in particular before moving forward, but our research indicates the optimum inbound response rate per recruiter per month is in the range of 400-500. Productivity can actually decrease if recruiters become overloaded.
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The Time Factor

Now we move on to the “time factor”. These don’t have so much to do with how they are worked but rather the speed at which they are worked.

Speed to Contact

Simply put, when I say speed to contact I’m referring to the amount of time that passes between a lead submission and when they are first contacted. If a prospect completes and submits a short form on Monday, but you don’t contact them until the following Tuesday, your speed to contact is 8 days.
There was an in-depth lead response study conducted over three years that showed after 5 minutes, yes only 5 minutes, you’re likelihood of contacting that lead begins to drop exponentially. I’m not saying you have to be able to contact every single lead immediately within that 5 minute window (although that certainly wouldn’t hurt), but what I am trying to point out is just how important the speed at which you contact your new leads truly is. The faster you try to reach prospective drivers, the better chance you have at actually getting in contact with them.

Lead Velocity

The second thing to be aware of when dealing with this time factor is lead velocity. Lead velocity is just a fancy way of saying how much time does it take for you to schedule a prospect for orientation after receiving a lead submission. I briefly mentioned lead velocity a little earlier. When trying to measure your recruiting effectiveness and looking at how you handle leads, this number must be taken into account. Even if everything is going great it may take some time to actually see the returns on what you’re doing. Lead velocity has a strong correlation with show up rates for orientation. In fact, it’s the strongest correlation of any factor we have found in our research. Finding ways to speed up velocity will have great impact on your show up rates. In turn, more of your leads end up driving for you.
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The Key to the Connect Phase is Efficiency

The common thread running through all four major factors discussed today is efficiency. Whether talking about unanswered calls, recruiter capacity, speed to contact, or lead velocity the end goal is to find ways to become more efficient and effective with how you approach and handle your leads.
The main goal of this recruiting funnel series is to hopefully shift how you view your recruiting and give you the tools necessary to increase your overall recruiting efficiency and in turn improve your results. For help increasing this efficiency not only in the connect phase, but to look at ways to improve along each step of the recruiting funnel you can access the Randall-Reilly Recruiting Efficiency Formula. Next time we move on to the final piece of the funnel we will cover, the Target phase.