Storytelling about TargetRecruit with Andy Wigderson
Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 117. This week we have storytelling about TargetRecruit with Andy Wigderson. During this episode, Andy and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for purchasing TargetRecruit.
Andy is an expert in all things B2B marketing and SaaS. His passion for creating an innovative, cloud-based system that is tailor-made to address the unique pain points of the staffing and recruitment industry really comes through during the podcast.
Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.
Show length: 29 minutes
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Ladies and gentlemen. This is William Tincup. You are listening to the Use Case Podcast. We have Andy on TargetRecruit. When are we talking about his firm and what they do and how they do it? So without any further ado, let’s just jump right into it. Andy, if you would introduce both yourself and TargetRecruit.
Yeah, sure. Well, my name is Andy Wigderson and I’m the president of TargetRecruit. And I’ve been president of the company for a little over three years. TargetRecruit provides enterprise software to staffing recruiting firms globally. And our product is built on top of the Salesforce platform.
Oh, that’s convenient. So if there, if the RPO staff you affirm, et cetera, DL do executive search as well?.
We do some executives. We mostly focus though on straight staffing recruiting firms.
Yeah. So if they’re using Salesforce for all of their, obviously their sales and marketing activities and keeping track of all that as their CRM, then this is an easy addition for all of the talent, the back stuff. So what, managing clients and managing talent.
Yeah. So if they’re using Salesforce, we can install our solution into their existing, what is called Salesforce org. But if they’re not using Salesforce, they can use our solution. And our product comes with the Salesforce platform licenses. So they don’t have to actually purchase anything from Salesforce in order to use TargetRecruit.
Oh, that’s cool. It’s a nice, it’s a safe way. If they were thinking about using Salesforce, it’s a nice way to get introduced into the product, in some ways.
I love it. And Salesforce, they’ve been nibbling around doing things in HR for a long time and even in recruiting, but more on the corporate side. So this is really nice that you built something, I guess what they used to call the force.com platform. I think they’ve since changed that. But do you find yourself going, you’re a part of the Salesforce ecosystem I’m assuming, and Dreamforce and things like that. Do you find yourself going to that, or you go to more and think more about staffing conferences, and going to staffing world and things like that?
Well, we definitely go to those conferences, for sure. We do attend Dreamforce, but it’s mostly for our own internal-
More just wanting to learn more about the product and the direction of the company. And we do get a lot of leads from Salesforce account executives, who either have existing or new customers that are interested in ATS on the platform. So, they’ll either try to convince them to build something custom on Salesforce, which a lot of larger staffing companies, [inaudible 00:03:25] or go to one of their partners like TargetRecruit.
Right. So I know you get this question asked probably a zillion different times, the difference between TargetRecruiting, let’s say of Bullhorn who has its own ecosystem and does its own bid. And they’re a great company. So not anything like that, but you’re different, you do things differently. So when customers ask you that question or prospects, I guess, would generally ask you that question, what’s your take? How do you position them, versus you or what y’all do differently than them?
Well, I think if you’re talking about vendors in this space, when you look at what we typically call Front Office functionality, which would be jobs searching, matching and placing candidates, I think all the vendors do a pretty good job of that. I don’t think there’s a lot to differentiate between the different companies. It’s pretty generic. When you start looking at Middle Office, and by Middle Office, I mean timesheet capture and interpretation, paying contractors, invoice and clients, you do start to see some separation in the vendors.
But where I think we really differentiate between us and other companies like Bullhorn is the platform. And in our case, we’re on the Salesforce platform. And so what that really means is things like scalability, reliability, integration capabilities, automation capabilities, and then the big ones, configuring, customizing the solution. That’s where we feel we are really strong and differentiate ourselves from some of the other more well-known vendors that play in this space.
Yeah, I’ve done a fair amount of Salesforce implementations in my day. And what I’ve found is you can really make that platform do anything. In fact, I had a REIT, the Real Estate Investment Trust that I worked with a hundred years ago, and they managed the entire business through Salesforce. So the properties that they would acquire, all the contracts, there was a lot of custom work that went on, but they literally ran their business from Salesforce.
Yeah. I mean, every vendor has a level of extensibility.
And a level of configuration and customization, but how easy can you do it? How quickly can you do it and how much does it cost, the real questions that you have to ask. And if you’re on the platform, the Salesforce platform, they talk about clicks not code. I mean, you can configure the solution almost any way you want by just clicking and dragging, and dropping things. So it really is a powerful platform and it allows a staffing company to really change the software to work with how they do business, versus the other way around.
And that’s crucial.
Yeah. And you mentioned the integrations, to be able to quickly roll out a marketing automation function for recruiters and from a staffing perspective. And just be able to say, “Yeah, Salesforce is integrated with 20 different-”
That’s a fake number, but you can roll that out very quickly. And because it’s already integrated with their platform, their ecosystem is probably one of the deepest in SAS, in general. So, I love that. It’s almost like giving the keys to a staffing firm and saying, “What do you want to do?”
Exactly, right. No, there’s no question. They have over 3000 different products.
Oh my God!
On the app exchange. And some of them are native, meaning they’re built on Salesforce, and some are just big companies that they’ve integrated with, like HubSpot. And I mean, you can go down the list, there’s just tons of them. And so it makes it a lot easier for us as a vendor and a partner of Salesforce to integrate with other solutions.
Oh yeah. Well, and also when you’re talking to a staffing owner or to a prospect, it’s listen, what problems are you trying to solve? And then here you’re going to use TargetRecruit to solve, obviously the things that y’all solve. But then you’ve got this whole behind you. You’ve got this entire ocean of other solutions that are clicks away if they, whatever problem that they’re trying to solve. I love that.
Take us into the demo of TargetRecruit for just a second, and what staffing, I deal with both sides, right? So I deal with both the third party, independent, RPO staffing, all that world, and I also deal with corporate. And they typically ask different buying questions. It’s been my experience at least.
But take us into when they first will look at you, they’re either displacing a system that they have, something proprietary, or they don’t have a system at all, which still exist. They have nothing there. What do they, when they’re searching and they’re looking, they find you, what do they, when they go through the demo, what do they fall in love with?
Well, I think a lot of people contact us, as you said because they have legacy systems are not being supported and updated. So they know they’re on a burning platform and they have to get off. When we do demos, the things that come up the most are, reporting seems to be a big issue with a lot of people in their current systems. And then it really comes down to the flexibility of the solution.
How can they change things? How easily can they add things? How can they mold the solution to meet their specific needs and do it in a way that’s, again, as I mentioned earlier, not to belabor the issue, but to do it quickly and inexpensively? And that’s typically what gets people excited about our product when they see how they can manipulate the solution. And it’s not a kind of one size fits all product, like some of our competitors.
So what keeps, I want to say the owner-operators of staffing firms, what’s keeping them up at night these days, because the last time I checked, this was probably before, this is definitely before COVID, but it was to candidate-driven market. And so speed, price was probably quality was in there of course, but speed, just being fast.
Being able to respond to both customers fast, but also candidates, and getting candidates in there to see their customers and clients as fast as possible. Obviously, COVID change some things, but you talk to these gals and guys. What’s keeping them up at night these days?
Well, speed to market, speed to fill still is probably top of mind. There’s obviously, I don’t think this has changed since the pandemic, but it’s certainly been accentuated, and there’s a lot of jobs out there, they’re not able to fill them. They can’t get the candidates.
So I hear that a lot. So, I think from a technology perspective, when you talk about speed to fill, speed to market, I think automation is something that a lot of people talk about and how they can use technology to make their business and their staff more efficient. So I think that’s something that comes up a lot. And I think a lot of people don’t really understand automation, but they’re learning about it and they’re embracing it as they understand it more. But I would say, yeah, to your point, speed to fill is still the number one thing. They’re getting jobs quickly and filling those jobs as quickly as possible, is the key.
Do you find, and again, these would be your customers, customers. Are they asking more about DNI and is it, obviously societal things, sometimes they hit corporate America at the same time. And sometimes it takes, there’s a lag between those things. But on the corporate side of recruiting, there is a huge kind of mandate and push, and actually to their credit, a lot of money, a lot of budget and act activities that are going into DNI. Is the same true of, of folks on the staffing side and their clients?
Well, you’re going to have to explain to me what DNI is.
Yeah, you’re a diversity coach? I’m sorry.
Yeah, no, I’m sorry. I’ve not heard that, honestly, from my customers. It could be something that they’re dealing with, but it doesn’t come to us from our customers.
Or prospects. It’s not a…
Well, you would see it when it happens. You’ll see it in the reporting stuff. Because they’ll start asking you about how to build custom reports based on diversity of candidates. But I think it’s my, it’s just an assumption, but it’s my assumption that they’re just trying to still just fill the jobs as fast as possible. And again, with a lot of these jobs, there’s not enough candidates.
So, they’re trying to figure out how to fill the jobs as fast as possible, but you’ll see it. How it’ll hit the radar of TargetRecruit, will be as simple as your customers are going to start asking for reporting, so that they can report back to their customers. That’s how that will eventually play out because you’ll have great analytics and reporting. That’s how that’ll eventually kind of play out.
Well, that’s interesting. It’s not something I’ve heard, but when you talk about the reporting, I mean the reporting capabilities of the Salesforce platform are so powerful and easy to use. Customers can go in and easily create their own reports without any support from us as a vendor.
We might not even be, we wouldn’t maybe even know-
That’s a great point-
That’s something that people are having to deal with on a regular basis because it’s so easy to go in and create your own reports in Salesforce, slash TargetRecruit.
So, we probably wouldn’t even be exposed to that if that’s how it’s going to manifest itself.
That’s fantastic. The good news is Salesforce is highly configurable.
The bad news is Salesforce is highly configurable.
Highly configurable. Exactly, right.
The thing is, sometimes when you’re working with folks that have never dealt with personalization, configuration, and things like that. Then it is super easy in Salesforce. I know that. But they don’t know what they don’t know. How do you coach them through, how does TargetRecruit coach them through where to configure and where not to configure?
Yeah, it can be daunting for someone who’s never worked with a software solution. What we typically tell people is number one, Salesforce has free training online. It’s a tool they offer called Trailhead. And it allows you to go on. And there’s a vast wealth of information online from Salesforce, where you can learn how to set up, configure the solution, create automation triggers, run, build reports and dashboards.
We also for our larger clients, recommend that they bring in what’s called an SI, which is a system integrator during at least the implementation to help them learn how to do some of the things that you mentioned. Some of our bigger clients also have full or part-time Salesforce administrators. But even somebody who is just passionate about software and technology, and is willing to invest a certain number of hours a week or month can easily learn the Salesforce product and will be adept at doing basic things, like changing a page layout, adding fields to a page, creating dashboards, creating reports. It’s quite easy to do. So there’s a lot of tools and a huge ecosystem out there available to our customers to learn how to truly leverage the platform, and get a really strong ROI on a solution.
I love that. You mentioned implementation, so of course, people are going to wonder and ask, what does that look like on average? I know clients are all over the place in terms of size, and complexity, and things like that, but just give us a sense of what does Go Live looks like for TargetRecruit?
Well, again, depending on the size of the customer, how many databases there are to migrate, you’ve seen them-
We’ve seen them go from two to three months to six, seven months. It really depends on how quickly you want to do things. And sometimes we recommend we do things in phases.
I mentioned earlier about, you have Front Office and then you have Middle Office. So we typically recommend let’s do the Front Office first, get the solution live, get some quick wins. And then we can introduce the Middle Office, and maybe Portals later. So I’d say it’s anywhere from two to six months is the average implementation, including the data migration.
Again, what’s great about that is because you’re doing with configuration as well. This just isn’t something off the shelf that you’re forcing them into some type of arbitrary process and things like that. It’s molded around the way that they want to do business. So that really minimizes some of that change you’re just learning in their system. You’re configuring it to them.
I love the phased approach because it also shows success. Okay, let’s do this part, get everyone trained, get, everyone to where they understand how to use it and then move to the next part. So, I think that’s really just a smart implementation and rollout strategy. Let me ask you a question about buying questions-
From prospects, and this comes from a good place. It’s, sometimes folks are just looking. They’re just, I would say shopping.
I used to call it tire kicking.
Has a negative connotation, I guess.
Yeah, it does, yeah it does.
But they’re just shopping, okay? That’s fine. How do you know, like what have you at this point, three years in, how do you know that someone’s really, that they’re really, truly interested in change?
Well, we have a sales process like most companies that we run through. And we basically, when we get a lead, or someone expressing interest in our product, we do a discovery call and we try to uncover exactly what their pain points are, and what problems they have that we can solve. Part of that meeting involves determining how serious they are. Do they have the budget? Do they have the authority to make the decision? And what is the timing? And, if someone says, “Well, I’m just looking around and kicking tires,” we usually will say to them, “Listen, we’ll send you some videos. You can look at them, get a feel for the product. And when you think you’re closer to actually being in a position to do something, we can maybe start talking a little more seriously.”
So we qualify people out of the sales process if we feel that they’re not really committed at this time to going through the process that we follow. We do a lot of demos with our customers. We want them to be comfortable with the solution, check all the boxes, make sure that we’re going to solve all their issues. And it’s a big decision to switch vendors. So, you want to make sure that the customer is comfortable and they’re ready to do it. And that takes time. And so, we’re happy to invest the time, but we want to just make sure that there’s going to be a decision made at the end of this process.
Yeah. One way or another.
You don’t mind being in a fair competition, but there’s a decision. There’s going to be some type of resolution. As it relates to budget, and especially, I think folks already have a system. So if they’re coming off of another solution, whatever it is, then there probably is already an established budget.
In cases where either they’re using proprietary tech, or just not using, they’re using Excel, they’re using some other band-aided type of stuff. How do you explain, how do you get them over that kind of emotional and intellectual hump of what is this stuff costs?
I mean, if they’re using a well-known system, well-known competitor, that’s not a conversation you will have to be too concerned about. But if it’s someone who’s got a real old legacy system, that maybe they purchased 10, 15 years ago running on servers in a closet or it’s Excel, they’re probably not spending any money on technology.
They’re tough. They’re definitely tough sales, for sure. And it really comes down to whether the leadership at that company understands the value of technology and is willing to make the investment. And a lot of times they’re not.
If you’re still running Excel at this point, maybe you shouldn’t be talking to a company like TargetRecruit, you know?
You should start with just a very simple, basic solution that has basic functionality. And there are a lot of really good products out there. So, again, it really just comes down to do you understand technology? Do you have an appetite to spend money on technology? Do you see what the benefits are going to be? And if we feel that they do it, we might be able to work with them. Sometimes though, we can’t.
Well yeah, of course. You can’t be all things to all people. And I’m a big fan of getting people. Listen, if it’s a no, that’s okay. We can still be friends. We can talk. Things might change in the future, but let’s not waste each other’s time. So I really liked that, too. You brought us through that, and I get qualifying people in and out. Pricing, not the dollars and cents part, but just philosophically, what’s the way, the model that our used?
Well, we charge a monthly fee, like most companies. We’re SAS, so we charge a monthly fee per user.
And, then, we have some few small add-on products, and then there’s implementation.
The pricings very simple and straightforward. I mean, it’s easy to understand. It’s comparable to most other vendors out there. I don’t think we’re necessarily more expensive or cheaper than anyone else. We’re right in the middle. And pricing usually isn’t an issue. I think if you have enough pain and you have enough problems that you feel the solution can solve them, you’re going to spend the money. I don’t think you’re going to worry too much. I think most of the decision is just based on, will this solve our problems? And are we willing to go through the change management, internally of implementing a new system? At the end of the day, I really generally don’t think price is a major factor for people.
Right, right, right. Again, it’s change management, user adoption, making sure that their people use the system max out.
All those things, yeah. All those things.
So when you’re talking to owner/operators, what questions, when sometimes you’re coaching and giving them advice on how to buy software, in particular TargetRecruit, of course.
But in general, you’re coaching.
What advice when you’re talking to those gals and guys, what advice do you give them and say, “Hey, these are the questions you should be asking us.”
We’re obviously going to tell them to ask questions that will benefit TargetRecruit, obviously.
Things that make our system look good. I think it comes down to, do you want an enterprise solution? Is the first question we typically ask people. Do you want a powerful, robust solution? Or do you want to have something that again, is just simple, relatively inexpensive, works out of the box, one size fits all? So, the first thing we definitely want to tell people or ask them is do you want an enterprise system? And do you understand what that means?
And so, we go through a process of telling them what we consider to be an enterprise system, and are these things important to you? And if they are, these are the things you should be asking about. And again, it’s things like the underlying technology, the extensibility, the automation tools, configuration, and customization capabilities. Reports and dashboards are important. These are things you need to be asking about. And there are other things, too, what. How many updates are you doing a year?
What does your product roadmap look like? How is service facilitated? I think are important things that we would encourage people to look at. And then it’s just really, truly understanding the solution and how it works.
I think you touched on it, but navigating change and getting them to understand, “Hey, listen, you’re going to be changing the organization.”
And this software is going to be a great driver for probably rethinking some processes, rethinking maybe some of the collaborations in the way that you do things, communications, et cetera. But that’s a good thing because you get to change things.
But there is from top-down, there’s going to be some change to be consumed. So let’s talk to them and ask them some questions about that. The last question, before we go out is you and I are talking in January of 2022? What’s success look like looking back for the next six, seven months, whatever it is? What does success for TargetRecruit look like for y’all?
Well, last year, with the pandemic, as I’m sure you know, a lot of staffing companies were impacted negatively. And we had to work with a lot of our customers to help them out. So, this year we’ve seen things returning back to normal. We’re getting customers adding additional users as they’re getting more and more business. So, we’re basically really just looking to return to the growth that we were experiencing prior to the pandemic hitting.
And we’re also probably looking to sign a couple of pretty large customers this year, which is something that we’re pretty excited about. So, January 2022, hopefully, we will have seen a couple of big deals for us, and our current customers continuing to experience growth like they were prior to the pandemic.
Yeah. Especially candidate-driven market. People are hiring that’s, that’s lead-in, you see it first in staffing. And then it hits corporate after that. But I think it’s fantastic, Andy, thanks for carving out time for us today, and talking about TargetRecruit. I absolutely appreciate it. And thanks for coming on the show.
Thank you so much for having me, William. It’s been-
100%. Thanks for everyone for listening to the Use Case Podcast. Until next time.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.