Quarterly Planning: Q2 Whale Hunting at Your Staffing Agency

LinkedIn Live Quarterly Planning - Q2 Whale Hunting

Table of Contents

  • Jeff
  • March 3, 2022

Now that we’re past the holiday hangover and have gotten some momentum going into this year, it’s high time for Q2 staffing agency planning! In this video, Allied Insight Founder and CEO Jeff Pelliccio talks about whale hunting. No, it’s not actual whales.  Similar to account-based marketing (ABM), whale hunting is the process of identifying one or a few large companies that are in your database as prospective clients.

The ultimate goal is landing these clients, just like in whale hunting. And in order to catch a really big fish, you’ll need a really big net. Let’s get you ready.  Q2 serves as a great opportunity to be on the same page with everyone in your staffing agency. It’s the best time to detail any new business priorities, map out timelines, and set expectations.  And all of those are imperative if you want to get big clients on board.

To get started, bring all of the necessary people together to coordinate. This might mean different things for each staffing agency depending on size. Get your sales, marketing, operations, and other relevant teams to align. Together, identify which large companies are thriving inside of your ecosystem. What about you and the service you provide are well received? If you can pinpoint these traits that they love, you can go out into the wild to see if you can find clients with similar needs. Those clients are going to be your whale hunting opportunities.

After identifying your target, prepare your weapons. You might have existing resources you can repurpose to use for communication, instead of starting everything from scratch. Since you’ve done your due diligence and have taken a look at your current client list, you have a deep understanding of how a client comes through and can create an educated process you can use to hunt for more.

The last thing to do is plan out your strategy. Keep your scope nice and tight. As much as you want to shoot for the stars and try to land all the clients in the market, you’re going to spread your resources thin and will end up landing no one.  These are just a few of the basic whale hunting tips this season. Jeff also talks about common hazards you might encounter and the types of resources you can create to land your next big client in this video. Watch, like, and subscribe for more staffing industry insights!

If you need help with your quarterly planning or landing your next big client, contact us! You may want to get more insights into whale hunting best practices or just to bounce off some ideas. We’re more than happy to jump on a call and see what we can help you with. Connect with us at alliedinsight.com.

Jeff Pelliccio  0:00 

Hey everyone. Great to have you here. I’m Jeff Pelliccio. I’m the founder and CEO of allied insight. I’ve been in the staffing industry for about 10 years now previously working directly for staffing firms in order to help them leverage their brand, technology and marketing strategy in order to compete and scale their business. At Allied insight, we provide growth, marketing, delivery, exclusively for staffing, as well as in house marketing, Team guidance and leadership coaching. I have been making videos now for a little while, mostly in YouTube. But I wanted to bring these into LinkedIn live in order to make some bite sized, quick, actionable videos that give a strong education as well as some takeaways that staffing firms can use. Immediately. Right now, the calendar, I’m looking at things like quarterly planning. So when we come into the first part of March, I usually start looking at what we need to do in terms of April, May and June. And so in this instance, I’m gonna really focus on for this particular session, we’re going to be focusing in on what we’re going to be doing for the next 90 days, April, May and June.

With that, you’ll also know that as you watch more of these, I tend to map out what happens strategically against the calendar year, because it tends to fall cyclically in line with both your employers as well as your candidates. So typically, at the end of a given year, employers are trying to figure out their budgets, what projects they’re going to work on, where they’re going to be expanding. And client candidates rather, are also going to be looking at what opportunities they have in order to sort of grow and move in their career development. So for many organizations, they likely would have had a salary guide, go live in q4. In q1, you might have done something like a market trends analysis or an expectation of what the first half of the year could predict like a prediction report. And so hopefully, you’ve gotten through the holidays. And past that, I call it the holiday hangover, past the holiday hangover, and you’ve now gotten some momentum going into this year. At this point in time, you should have some pretty good resources and feedback from your sales team in order to understand what their strategy might be, and how they might be pivoting and making some adjustments in order to move forward throughout the remainder of the year. So for me, q2 is a great opportunity to ride that momentum, and look at whale hunting as an execution, in coordination with the sales team, as well as sales, management and marketing.

First, though, we need to understand what Whale Hunting is. If you’re unfamiliar with the term whale hunting, it’s very similar to Account Based Marketing, or ABM. I personally use Account Based Marketing strategies when I’m looking to help get greater account penetration. So it’s not exclusively for accounts that you’re already working with, you could do Account Based Marketing for clients, or for prospects that you haven’t worked with yet. But I tend to use that approach when working through a database where there are multiple verticals, let’s say, and you’re working with a client that has multiple vertical opportunities, but you might only be using one good example would be if let’s say you’re in healthcare, staffing, but you also do it and finance, but you’re only serving this one given client at a hospital for healthcare, there might be opportunities for you to leverage both the finance and it pieces and and get greater account penetration, resulting in more wrecks and more placements.

And I would be using something like an Account Based Marketing effort to do that, where you sort of silo things in, you get very hyper focused on the brand itself, discussing their pain points, and then help leverage them out through education and thought leadership, whale hunting, I use exclusively as a prospecting tool. So with whale hunting, the general practice would be, you’ve identified maybe one or a few really large clients that are in your database, these clients will be dependent upon your size and scope, right. So as a smaller agency, your large client might be you know, a mid tier or small client to an enormous agency. But no matter what the circumstances, you identify what is large in your world, and then try to see what the fundamental components are of that group that is thriving within your service to then identify or map out other targets that are in the marketplace that are not using your services. And this begins the whale hunting expedition. So um, so that’s, that’s what Whale Hunting is. That’s

Jeff Pelliccio  4:45 

how I differentiate it from Account Based Marketing. But you know, other people might say that whale hunting is the same thing and that’s fine, too. So let’s get into some of the details around how you and your staffing agency can use whale hunting. How You can sort of coordinate it execute on it, some common pitfalls, and then some resources that you guys can build to get a more positive outcome. So in coordinating whale hunting at your staffing agency, really what it boils down to is, you’re going to want to make sure you’re bringing in all of the necessary people that have opinions on the matter.

If you’re a smaller agency, typically, that person who’s leading the sales charge is going to be your CEO, or your president or your founder. As you get larger, that person may still be involved. But likely, you’re also starting to build some additional layers. So you might have either a Director of Sales VP of Sales chief growth officer, you can have any number of roles in there. I’ve also seen in some cases where your operations person in sort of that early stage development and evolution of a staffing agency is actually helping to facilitate sort of some direction on sales as well.

So you could even be operations, whatever it is, whoever is sort of leading are tasked with kind of the direction on sales, that’s the person or people that you’re going to want to make sure that are involved in this particular initiative. You’ll also want to make sure that you have your senior sales or sales leaders in your group, because those are the individuals that will likely be doing the outreach. So making sure that you have them involved and that you’ve pulled them into this concept will also keep things moving pretty fluidly. And then last, of course, you need your marketing people or whoever’s creating the stuff for you. So again, depending on the size and scope of your company, you may be fortunate enough to have an in house marketing team that’s already self sufficient and running enrolling, you might be working with an outside agency, which would take a little bit of premeditation and planning, but you will need someone in the creative seat in order to help you kind of establish some of these elements that are going to be needed to, to execute on a whale hunting expedition successfully.

So now that you have all the players involved, the first part of the puzzle is really going to be dialing into that database and identifying which large companies are thriving inside of your ecosystem. So with the existing services that you provide, with your proprietary process with your existing team, and how it is that you do your business, what large companies are loving you right now, if you can identify who those are, find out like sort of coordinate the traits around what types of company that is, and then go to market and see if you could find other people like it, those are going to be your whale hunting opportunities. Once you’ve sort of gathered this group of whales together, you’ll want to do sort of a secondary evaluation. And in that secondary evaluation, you’ll want to identify, you know, the potential and the risk, right.

So as you’re looking at these companies, if it’s an absolute long shot, whale hunting is, you know, a pretty exhausting effort. So if it’s an absolute long shot, and you just don’t think you’re going to get it, then it might not make sense to put that whale in your mix, right, you want to focus on the ones that you think line up really well with your services that may not require too much of a stretch in order to bring them in, that can utilize existing resources, and that you can have a successful sales engagement with as well as obviously a recruiting and placement engagement. Once you have that outlined, then you can start to look at what your existing resources are that you use to communicate to that large client that you already have. So if you are building content and building information education around the clients that you have, as you should, in order to keep them really engaged with your brand and your company, you’ll likely already have pieces of content that you can use in order to go on this expedition. So what types of content are you creating for them? What types of sales deck did you need to use in order to land them? Was there a did they convert on like a premium asset? It did? Were they a part of another Association? Did you like how did you bump into them? How did the whole thing take place? Understanding how that client came through, educates everything about the process in which you’re going to use to go out and hunt for more whales.

Jeff Pelliccio  9:11 

The last thing I would say is so within all this coordination, and planning, the last thing I would say is keep that scope nice and tight. Right? So you’re going to go through and you’re going to take a look at like all of these different groups and and it is very easy to fall prey to wanting to do everything for everybody and like bringing as many of them as you can. The problem is that when you do that, you’re going to spread your resources thin and just like if this was real whale hunting, which we’re not doing, but if you were literally like getting on a boat and packing your resources in like sending out multiple boats to coordinate this effort to go whale hunting.

You have limited resources. If you went after 10 whales with three boats, you likely aren’t coming back with anything. So just be really mindful of how you go about this process and where you might be spreading yourself too thin in order to be able to capture the business that you’re looking for. Get as we look at some common hazards, when clients tend to want to go whale hunting, there are some like oversights that can occur, right. So within this, um, one of the first and most critical elements would be that there’s a lack of collaboration. So when there’s a lack of collaboration, and it happens on all sides, right, it can happen in a sales side where they get very sort of laser focused on like a particular sales tactic or approach. But it can also happen on the marketing side where like, we get tied up in doing creative things. And like, we want to make them really fancy or flashy, or shine, all of those types of situations, they distract from the collaboration, and you’re going to end up with a fragmented process. So in order to overcome that, set up benchmarks and milestones, things that people can do in succession, so that that way you know, how the whole project is progressing. And where it’s actually leading to, it also gives you opportunities to check in in order to see if there’s any additional inputs that need to be made in order to make sure that you end up with the successful outcome that you’re looking for.

Once you have all the pieces built, then you’re going to want to test that the entire process, whatever it is that you’re doing, so it could be an email message to a landing page or a social media post or something else. Check those out, make sure that they work properly, make sure that your message isn’t disjointed. Make sure that you’re coordinating with your sales team that if they’re using canned messages or something that they actually line up with the appropriate end result. Because if you end up with either a disjointed message, or even sort of a break in the sequence, that’s what I call friction in the funnel. And any friction in the funnel is going to stop them from going further down and converting to you at the end. So make sure that you’re testing all the things that you’re putting together, in order to ensure that you have as little friction as possible, and you create the smoothest process for your prospect to go through. lack of cohesion and delivery. Definitely another problem. This happens when you don’t set clear expectations up front. So when you when you don’t take the time to set up the clear expectations, not just in terms of like what you want from an outcome, because from an outcome perspective, it’s easy to say we want more business, but you want to set clear expectations on delivery, right? If you’re either vague or you don’t set them up appropriately, you might have one person put this as a P one priority or an A or whatever your scaling system is.

And you might have someone else that makes it maybe the third test that they do in the given day, you might have one person that surges and does it for the entire week. And one person that doesn’t do it till the end of the month. Having that lack of cohesion in the delivery will also affect your outcome. And then I already mentioned it previously on obviously, the things that you want to do to coordinate these things is keep that scope nice and tight. Creating too many targets is going to spread yourself too thin, and you’re not going to end up with the outcome that you’re looking for.

Jeff Pelliccio  12:52 

So we’ve gone over what it is we’ve gone over how to coordinate it, we’ve talked about some common hazards. Now let’s dig into the types of resources that you can create. So when you’re going about creating resources, you don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. But you do want to make sure that it lines up correctly with the audience that you’re going after. So this I’m going to start off with like sort of the basic elements, and then we’ll work our way up and progress to the more complex pieces, because you’re not going to want to, you’re not gonna want to go after the complex things unless you’ve got the basic foundation in place first. So the first thing that you want to do is make sure that the email message that it’s going to be going out or any messaging that you’re going to be using has universal language, the universal language provides you an ability to be able to send out that communication to multiple people at that organization.

So if you’ve identified your whale as ABC, CCO, that company might have 20 or 25 contacts, which can provide a different entry point for your staffing agency that are participating. When you do your email messaging, you’ll want to make sure that you’re creating a universal message that applies to the majority of that group. Otherwise, what are you doing, you’re creating a singular message every single time, that becomes harder to manage, it also becomes more timely. So if you can use universal messaging, that would be your greatest asset. Now, some of you might already be thinking like, What the heck is universal messaging? Why is he talking about this? Universal messaging is very similar to what you would use in terms of automated messaging communication. So if I were sending out an automate automated email communication, I wouldn’t use days or dates or things that don’t have personalization tokens, because it’s a clear indicator as to the timestamp at when it was created, and maybe irrelevant six months down the road. Now, I’m not proposing automated messaging for whale hunting, because whales pivot, just like in nature, they shift. So as you’re going after your Wales and as you’re, as you’re taking the strategic approach to sort of grow this size client in your database and in your portfolio, you’ll want to make sure that you have the capable It needs to be nimble and flex as needed based on the responses of your audience. So automation is fantastic, I wouldn’t recommend it for whale hunting. The next thing that you could do is you could repurpose existing target persona content. So we touched on this a little bit before, but in in repurposing existing target persona content, that’s going to give you the capability again, look at your database, find and identify the individual companies, those large clients, whales, big fish, identify those individuals, and what types of content you’re generating for their benefit. You may not need to recreate the wheel you may need, you may be able to repurpose some of those things that you’re already using in circulation.

So identify what those things are, it could be articles, it could be landing pages, it could be premium assets, whatever it is, there likely is an opportunity within your existing library or marketing library or arsenal, that you can use in order to stage your communication to do your whale hunting expedition. And I don’t believe I mentioned but also sales decks are a part of this, right. So any sort of collateral or, or marketing asset that can help extend the conversation and give you an entry point for, for that communication is what I’m discussing here. As you continue to increase the level of as you continue to increase the level of not participation, but creation, I suppose. Sharing premium assets is also a great opportunity here. So as I mentioned earlier in this discussion, you know, there are a lot of companies that would have already put out a salary guide and q4. And there’s also some companies that might have done some sort of projection report for the first half of the year. So that would have probably released I would imagine, in late January or mid February, just to kind of keep the ball rolling and get momentum and get in front of that holiday hangover. If you have these assets already created, there are likely elements within them that are very important to your existing large clients sector, as well as the the prospects that you’re going after.

Jeff Pelliccio  17:15 

With that, you can either share that information with them, calling out the specific areas that are very important to their business and their pain points, or maybe even work with your marketing team in order to customize that premium asset. Now, we’re not talking about a full revamp and reload, but they can certainly go in and highlight something specifically for that, that client that you’re going after. And now when you share it, you can say, by the way, John, Mary Susan, I just sent this thing over, I highlighted on page three, the thing that I wanted you to see, you can skim right past everything else, this is the thing that’s very important to you in your world. Again, it shows that prioritization, it shows that I’m that high level concierge sort of interaction that your sales team is giving to that client, and it shows that you’re making them a priority, which I think I just said, anyway, um, the next after this would be maybe a custom landing page. So as I think through the sequences, you know, email messaging and things like that, you know, you could send them back to existing landing pages. And you could, you could have that communication line up and have it have it staged in a way that shows that you’re talking specifically to them about an asset that you’ve already created.

But building landing pages, you know, it’s not a very, it’s not a very intense labor intense situation, right. So if you already have landing pages on your website, you could repurpose many of them by just simply cloning it. If you’re already using forms, depending on how those forms are coming in, whether they be from the website itself, or from an ATS or a CRM, you can also repurpose and clone those. But creating a landing page that’s specific to the whale that you’re going after, would be the ultimate, right? Because at that point, all of the content that you put into that space really resonates with your audience, and makes that tighter connection to why you’re reaching out to them, and why they should be paying attention to you, right? You can even co brand things you can, if you’ve got the ability to create scheduling, I would highly recommend evolving that form to a schedule so that that way, it automatically drops into your lead salespersons calendar. So that that way you remove all the back and forth of are you available on Tuesday? No, I’m not available on Tuesday. Can you do Friday, let’s do next week. Let’s just get past all of it. You have the capabilities to do scheduling, use it. The last piece and probably the most labor intensive is going to be building events. Now I’m not talking about building conferences, but I am talking about maybe the potential of building a webinar or a panel discussion or something of that nature that revolves around a target pain point. So when you look at this this way, or when you look at this large account And you’re associating it back to the one that you already have in your database. What are the pain points that they’re likely experiencing based on their industry, their technology, their size, their scope, in the existing market? Deliver them some sort of quality, give them something of an educational purpose that then shows Wow, this staffing firm really knows what they’re talking about. This staffing firm is very much in alignment with what it is that we need, this staffing firm should be our next partner. The last piece that I have, and this isn’t really a marketing strategy, but it’s a little bit more of like a sales strategy. I suppose.

When you’re going on these Whale Hunting Expeditions, it’s a really good idea to build familiarity as you go. So asking your sales team to get hyper focused on increasing behavioral engagement online? is I think, a it’s a good ask, right, I don’t think you’re asking too much. If your team is already using Sales Navigator, they’re already likely in LinkedIn. But if they’re using Sales Navigator, they can do things like identify those groups and monitor what they’re doing for activities, and actually go in and make either comments or like a post or associate something of their comments to another group that they might be highly active in. You want your salesperson this lead salesperson to be highly recognizable from this target audience from one of these contact points at this large company. So asking them to participate a little bit more and do some more behavioral engagement, not necessarily direct outreach of, hey, you know, do you need another staffing agency, but rather put yourself in their world, get into their sphere of influence, and start start interacting with them. At that point, you’re

Jeff Pelliccio  21:47

building digital rapport, you’re building digital trust, that will go a long way in trying to progress things,

Jeff Pelliccio  21:54 

as you continue down the line with your your expedition. You know, that’s, that’s the basic in and out the ins and outs of whale hunting. Very, very topical, again, wants to keep these things pretty light and brief. So that doesn’t take a ton of your time. If you have questions, you you don’t understand really how to get started or you need just some some advice, you could certainly come to us, I’ll be more than happy to jump on a call with you and like offer any constructive or creative suggestions that I can, if you need support from a marketing initiative, because you you you lack those resources, we can certainly have a conversation about that as well.

And if you have an in house team that just needs a little bit of direction and guidance, then you know, that’s also something that we can do. You can go to our website, Allied insight, comm. There’s more than enough places to connect, trust me. And you could certainly connect with us there. And we’ll be happy to give you a hand. I hope that you found this information helpful. We will be doing these sessions every single week. We do have one going out next week of why is everybody talking about marketing. So basically talking about like, how you’re leveraging your competitive advantage. So if you found this helpful, and and you want more, don’t worry, there’s more coming. You could join us on March 9 at 11:30am. Eastern, and we’re going to be talking about leveraging your brand as a competitive advantage. I hope everybody enjoyed this and have a great rest of your week. Bye


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