Categories Articles, Staffing & Recruiting

I’m a 49ers fan, but most of my friends never knew it because I didn’t have much to cheer for during the past decade or so. All of a sudden, they’re in the SuperBowl and we’re seeing promises of the Montana, Young, Rice era of yore. Great coach, great defense, great offense…led by two great quarterbacks?

Like many fans, I was a huge skeptic of Harbaugh’s (not that one, the other one) decision to bench QB Alex Smith after his concussion in favor of Colin Kaepernick. His 2011 season was great and 2012 was 6-2-1 (7-2 with a decent Kicker). What was Harbaugh thinking?

Of course, in hindsight, he was right. Kaepernick was the hot quarterback and Niners Nation learned a lesson, and a grateful one at that. So what did Harbaugh see in Kaepernick that gave the young QB the nod? And, more importantly, are there any lessons to glean from his decision when you’re managing your Staffing company? Why, of course there is.

1. Go with speed (Sales Cycle)

Kaepernick’s biggest asset is not really his arm; he can throw, but it’s his ability to run that stymies the other team. 181 yards rushing in a playoff game? Come on. Speed definitely wins, and this was a huge factor in giving him the edge over Smith to be the best quarterback for the job.

Likewise, speed is important in determining which of your clients is your “best” client. All things considered, a client with a history of a shorter sales cycle is a valuable client. Take the example below:

staffing sales cycle

If your team wants to close more deals, you’d want them to concentrate on Exxon with its 13.3 day sales cycle, compared to Wal-Mart’s 72 days. The speed in which you can place a candidate for your clients should factor in heavily in your decisions on where to allocate your limited resources.

2. Go with potential (Pipeline Sales Forecast)

A portion of Kaepernick’s pick analysis during his draft from NFL.com: “Can make a lot of plays with his feet but will be too confident at times and take unnecessary sacks. Kaepernick will likely attract a team with his measurables and outstanding intangibles.”

Kaepernick was a risk, for sure, but Harbaugh knew his team could weather some risk due to their solid defense and offensive line. What Harbaugh did was bet on the young QB to be a disruptive force against opponents because of the potential he had to make big plays.

What good clients do you have that could potentially be a great client? A key metric that can predict this is your sales pipeline forecast by client.

staffing sales pipeline

In the example above, Wal-Mart has a better pipeline in the current month, but New York Life’s forecast shows a much more valuable pipeline a few months out. Depending on length of sales cycle, you might want to think about allocating more calories to working New York Life over Wal-Mart due to the potential value of its pipeline.

3. Go with who’s winning (Close Rate)

Alex Smith isn’t a bad quarterback. Actually, he’s great and his QB Rating edges out Kaepernick over this season. It most certainly wasn’t his fault that he was sidelined by a concussion mid-way.  So Kaep got the nod and lo and behold, he started winning. And not just winning, but winning big games. You gotta go with the hot hands, and at the end of the day, you gotta go with who’s winning for you right now.

Choosing which client to work is similar. Look at the win rate of the two companies below:

staffing win rate

Though they had nearly the same amount of opening being worked, there is a clear difference in win rate. This could be for various reasons (perhaps one client is being worked by one of your veterans) but whatever the reason, you’re excited right now about the client with the 59% win rate over the one at 4%. Again, if you have limited resources, you want to continue to work the client that you’re winning on more.

There you go. Something to think about as you watch the 49ers win their next Superbowl title this weekend.

Photo credit to Bleacher Report

Samuel Clemens
Sam is founder and chief of product & marketing for InsightSquared. Previously, Sam was VP Product at HubSpot, VP Product at BzzAgent, and on the founding team at Elance.com. His background also includes venture capital with Greylock Partners, the Algorithms group at Amazon.com, and management consulting with Booz Allen Hamilton. Sam has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Applied Math from Yale. In his off time he dives shipwrecks in the New England area.
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  • wings.io

    A very good lesson and we need to learn from it

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