Five goals for CRA’s in 2018

With the new year just beginning, it is about time CRAs take a look forward and start making some goals for 2018. It’s time to be different or perish. With the job market thriving, new technology capabilities and potential for innovation, never before have CRAs had so much opportunities to set themselves on a growth trajectory to truly get ahead of the competition and realize your revenue dreams. That said, never has there been more competition, homogeny, commoditization, and pricing pressures. With that in mind, here are five goals that every CRA should have for 2018 to really set you apart.

1. Differentiate

Let’s face it. Today when it comes to differentiation 900 CRAs say the same thing after asking what sets them apart. (1) We have the best customer service, (2) We do compliance better than anyone, (3) We have the best technology, (4) Accuracy (5) Turnaround.

Really??!! Most of you are utilizing one of five third party platforms, you get information from the same wholesale company, and great customer service is getting back to someone ASAP about why something is late. HR hears the same thing from every CRA so how are you really any different?

To be different, you must truly offer something different. That’s where technology does play a big part. Being able to offer innovative solutions like mobile, voice, facial recognition and anything that looks different does help. This is where I plug deverus. Just go to and look at what we are doing in the realm of mobile, voice and integrations. It’s real innovation that will set you apart!

2. Simplify

OMG! When we onboard new CRAs we are absolutely mystified by the amount of unique configurations, customizations, and packages, in short the complexity created to basically do the same thing the 900 other background check companies are doing. My advice, simplify your offering. Stop promising so much and focus on what matters to HR. Namely, you are a painful and costly checkbox. Make it easy for them to check the box. Take a page from Sterling’s playbook, offer fewer packages and offer it at an affordable price backed by innovative technology.

3. Improve Marketing

Basically, you guys are horrible at marketing. 900 background check companies all look the same, do the same thing, and look bad doing it. Only a few companies like Goodhire, Checkr, Accurate Background and Orange Tree look like credible companies offering something that HR wants to buy. Scaring HR by all the complexities with compliance and liability is only going to get you so far. Again, everyone is saying the same thing. To improve your marketing you need to position yourself as a technology company and offer cutting edge solutions that’s going to improve the candidate experience and offer solutions HR don’t even know they need yet. You can use the new media outlets like Twitter and Linkedin to demonstrate you are different. Become a thought leader in the candidate experience, automation, background artificial intelligence, not compliance. Compliance, although critical, is Yesterday’s topic where every other background check company is an expert. Get away from being a service company and position yourself as a cutting edge background check company launch new products and features quarterly to stay out in front of your competition.

4. Invest in Sales

When I ask almost every background check company, “What’s your sales process?” I’m amazed at the response. “We answer RFPs, we focus on ATS partnerships, we target certain segments.” then they ask, “ By the way do you know any good sales people in the industry?” Really??!! You want someone in this industry? Most of the sales people in the background check industry are the best at selling. They got lucky riding on a growth industry but don’t know how to probe and ask questions to come up with a solution that fits the client’s needs without creating complexity and competing on price to save their life. I recommend you find someone who’s sold to HR, knows Saas, and can do real solution selling. We have a customer growing at 30%, currently North of $40M and who does not sell on price and looks for salespeople outside of the industry but know how to sell to a C Suite by asking the right questions and getting meetings with the right people. That’s how you sell. But to do that, you must invest in top notch closers, not “has beens” in the background check industry. Lame.

5. Integrate

Oh yes. Integrate. The ATS invasion has been the achilleas hill of our industry. In the past 10 years they’ve disrupted your relationship with HR. They’ve inserted themselves between you and your customer by offering a slick interface and a lot more services. Why didn’t we think of that? Now to get any sizeable client you must integrate to an ATS and offer revenue share and still risk getting replaced if a better offer comes along. And it’s only going to get worse. Your best bet is to create close connections with these ungrateful partners and hope that you can bring them enough business they don’t feel the burning need to open their client base up to more customers. Good luck. So what are you going to do? Invest in relationships. Pay them to send you business. Invest in technology, (hint: deveru’s Integration Manager) that allows you to integrate quickly, manages those integrations and have transparency, analytics, and oversight into every applicant that runs through your integrations.

I wish the goals for CRAs for 2018 were a bit easier. But this is business, a competitive landscape, always the case where’s there’s profit to be had, and you need to think different, invest differently and execute differently if you are going to take advantage of the economic conditions as well as the new technology surfacing poised to disrupt the industry. We know we can help with the innovation and technology side, which is a huge part of the puzzle so give us a call

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