SI Review: August 2012


Power Seller

Mission Possible

How to grow your revenue in an MSP account

By Paul Kistner

Much has been written lately about the increase in the number of medium and large enterprises utilizing a managed service provider (MSP) to administer their contingent workforce program. As more and more companies make this transition, how will your staffing firm adapt? Selling to an MSP account requires a different sales and delivery model in order to maximize your potential in the account. If you are responsible for driving revenue at your firm here are five steps you can take over the next few quarters to grow your revenue in an MSP account.

Change the salesperson. In a traditional, direct model, many staffing firms pair a sales executive who is responsible for identifying the job requirement with a recruiter who is responsible for filling the job. Clearly, the sales executive plays a vital role in the traditional model. In an MSP account, however, it’s all about delivery. Your firm is going to receive the requisition anyway (assuming it’s a vendor-neutral program), so why not repurpose that sales executive to new territory and double down on recruiters? Reapply those sales commissions toward dedicated recruiters and you’ll find that your firm will have a higher volume of submittals and as a result, more placements. Worried about maintaining relationships with hiring managers and the MSP? Appoint a customer-savvy lead recruiter as the relationship manager who can play that dual role. Anything more strategic in the account can be handled by branch leadership.

Engage your contingent staff. Your contingent staff are your eyes and ears into what is really happening at the account. While most MSP accounts have rules prohibiting direct manager solicitation, your contingent staff often is aware of what is coming down the pike long before it ever materializes as a requirement in the system. Do you think the developer you placed at the account might have an idea of when the application will be ready for testing and when QA resources will be needed? Do you have incentive programs in place for your contingent staff that rewards this type of communication with your recruiters?

Leverage your supplier scorecard. A good MSP will have a well-defined supplier scorecard and a disciplined approach to communicating results on a regular basis. Talk to your MSP about how you are doing and establish what success looks like. Ask your MSP if performing to a certain level in one job category will get you access to others. Start in a category where you know that you can deliver and grow from there. It doesn’t do you any good to be in every job category if you can’t deliver well in every one of them. Also, remember that your MSP has multiple customers. Ask them if you hit a certain level of performance in one account, will they add you to another?

Tackle the toughest requirement. To a large degree the MSP is only as good as its suppliers. The MSP has service levels it needs to hit, too. So ask your MSP how you can help? Find out what the toughest requirements are, i.e. those that are past their time-to-fill metric or perhaps those belonging to a high profile hiring manager. It never hurts to ask, “If I can fill these, will you give me an exclusive on the next one?”

Compliment your MSP. If you believe your MSP is truly doing a good job, let the end customer know about it. A sincere email sent to the customer stakeholder will likely find its way back to the MSP. Who doesn’t appreciate a good partner? Another way to partner with your MSP is to offer to be a reference. As MSPs pursue new business their prospects often ask to talk to supplier references in addition to other customers. When the MSP and the supplier are partnering together at this level it starts to pay dividends for the staffing firm across the country, or even globally.

Try implementing these five strategies at your firm over the next few quarters and you may find your MSP accounts to be one of your fastest growing revenue streams.

Paul Kistner is executive director, west region operations for Allegis Group Services. He is responsible for all of the firm’s MSP programs in the west. He can be reached at


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