All in – Clint Armstrong of SkillsetGroup

Clint Armstrong, CEO and Founder of the SkillSetGroup

Clint Armstrong, the CEO and Founder of the SkillSetGroup, grew his company’s revenue from $243,000 in 2014 to $8.9m in 2017, a 3,569% increase, and now they are on track to hit $21m this year.  

SkillsetGroup provides senior technical staffing and outsourced HR services to a diverse range of industries.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Clint shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Keeping their own staff turnover close to zero, unlike the double digit turnover of the industry.  
  • Re-investing their profits back into the company by hiring more sales people, account managers and recruiters.  
  • Developing their recruiting processes to fill positions with people who stay with their client for the long term.  

SkillsetGroup Interview - (computer generated) (transcribed by Sonix)

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Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Clint Armstrong, the CEO and Founder of the SkillsetGroup, a company that provides senior technical staffing and outsourced HR services to a diverse range of industries. Welcome to the call. Clint.

Clint Armstrong: Thank you Malcolm. Thanks for having me.

Malcolm Lui: Clint you grew your company's revenue from $243,000 in 2014 to $8.9 million in 2017, a 3,569%, and now you're on track to hit $21 million in 2018. I am going to ask you how you did this. But before we get into that, can you share with me how your company differs from the other technical staffing and outsource HR companies that are out there?

How SkillSetGroup differs from the competition

Clint Armstrong: Sure. The Technical Staffing and in nature industry in general it's really about creating residual revenue and that's how you really kind of build your company and grow it by getting as many contractors out there. What differentiates our company from other competitors is we like to focus on one particular thing which is long term retention. When you focus on long term retention for the employees and for the clients what ends up happening is it evolves into our own company as well. So what we're creating is a situation a win win win situation for everyone that's in that loop so that Be ourselves the candidate and also the employer or our client. And the fourth situation is kind of the community the community builds off of it as well. So it's important that as these people find work that they stay there long term and we provide them a road with longevity and career development and wage growth and leadership opportunities. And I think that's really differentiates skill set group from our competition and from the other competitors out there

Malcolm Lui: So that means at the same time you're not going to accept any placements any job placements that are not. That doesn't give the opportunity for the candidate to be there for a long time for a long time. Then

Clint Armstrong: Yeah exactly. We do we try and really focus with and focus our energy on good companies that represent good values in the community and that have been there for a long time and are looking to invest in their employees rather than committing to extremely short term assignments and things of that nature. We try and stay away from that because there's not real long term validity for the candidate. And it's it's a disruptor in terms of their resume and it looks like their job hopping all the time. So we try and really stabilize that for the employee and help them grow their career through it for whatever they're trying to do whether it's in you know administrative accounting and finance aerospace automotive food and beverage manufacturing whatever guess.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Yeah. Makes sense and plus in business right it's so much easier to not have to find a new customer every single time. Essentially you're you're not only locking in your client not necessarily locking in but you're establishing a long term relationship with the client but also with the candidates you place as well. Right. So it makes I think your business easier

Clint Armstrong: Exactly.

Malcolm Lui: For it.

Clint Armstrong: Exactly.

Malcolm Lui: So

Clint Armstrong: Well said

Malcolm Lui: Going back to your revenue numbers two hundred forty three thousand in 2014 eight point nine million in 2017 twenty one million in 2018. What were the three biggest drivers of your business that allowed you to achieve this really rapid sales growth

The three biggest sales drivers.

Clint Armstrong: Sure and the first thing is internal turnover we don't have any internal turnover so people that come in and work for skill set group internally. They never leave. And every single employee that we've had is never made more money than the previous year. So every single year they're making more and more money and they're growing into new roles of leadership roles and Operation roles and accounting roles and there's a tremendous amount of internal growth which is going on. So the first is you have to have a stable base which is what we have. The second driver of our businesses is that we've really reinvested all of our profits back into the company. So for the past four years any profit that we had we reinvested it into people. Right. So we've hired because people is our product. That's the number one thing that we have to invest in. It's also the number one expense that would that we incur. So we've been continuously investing hiring new salespeople hiring new account managers hiring new recruiters and the third thing is as we've invested in our processes. So we've really defined our processes and created different recruiting processes processes that we've seen that scientifically prove that it's going to equate to long term retention for our clients. We've had a tremendous amount of success doing that. And it's one of the major differentiators and disruptors that we're doing in the workplace compared to you know a typical Kelly Services or a typical select staffing

Malcolm Lui: Ok. I said let me recap here. I have my notes here. So the three biggest drivers for your super rapid sales growth is one you have no internal no internal turnover and even that by the compensation scheme is allow people to get paid more. They have more responsibility. They're growing. So you have stable base of people and everyone just loves that right. No one

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Has this awesome

Clint Armstrong: It's all it's all about culture.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Clint Armstrong: You know

Malcolm Lui: And then the second driver is that you reinvested all your profit in your company primarily by hiring more people hiring more sales reps hiring more recruiters hiring across the board to build your company and then the third one you invest it in more processes better processes to help your clients decide about

Clint Armstrong: Exactly.

Malcolm Lui: It. Awesome

Clint Armstrong: Yeah exactly.

Malcolm Lui: Can we go into each of those a little bit more so maybe talk about

Clint Armstrong: Sure.

Malcolm Lui: The first one no internal turnover Hey so you're at 0 percent turnover what's in this.

Clint Armstrong: Pretty Pretty much yeah.

Malcolm Lui: What's the industry average for turnover

Clint Armstrong: Man it's like in staffing. The one thing that I realized that was a major problem staffing and I work for some of the bigger companies and I'm not going to name them but you know I worked from the past and the number one thing that I realized was wow there was a tremendous amount of turnover going on internally. So when you're when you have a lot of turnover internally it prevents you from creating remarkable experiences with your clients and with your candidates because what ends up happening is is when they call you back and say hey I need help with a mechanical engineering opening that we have coming down the pipe. Guess what they're talking to a new person that doesn't understand their company's processes and procedures and what they're looking for. And so what it does is it creates a lot of confusion on the client's end and also on the staffing company. So that's that's kind of one of the major differences there at looking at that. So for us it's really about maintaining the same contacts with the same people and making sure that that they feel comfortable with them and that they understand their processes and procedures. We go into every single company and we tour their facilities we need their department heads what we're doing is we're creating a true partnership. And when you create a true partnership then the client feels much more comfortable and there's a much greater understanding of the long term road to success.

Malcolm Lui: Do you happen to recall what the industry factor industry US turnover rate is typically for people in your business.

Clint Armstrong: The turnover rate. So I'd probably say that the turnover rate when I worked for those companies was around 40 to 50 percent

Malcolm Lui: Did I hear that right. 4 0 and 5 0

Clint Armstrong: Yeah. Yeah I'd say about half the department turned over when I was there for one year

Malcolm Lui: Well I teach.

Clint Armstrong: Yeah I mean its sales you know its sales and recruiting and people people come in they leave come in and leave and other companies have much shorter turnover. But now the big ones have the biggest issues because they're more just set up to create a kind of a churning mill system that makes

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Clint Armstrong: Sense.

Malcolm Lui: Why would

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: They want that. Because all the advantages you're getting. They must realize that

Clint Armstrong: Yeah. Well you know it's it's it's a numbers game at that point so they're they're doing it for their you know they hire people just to perform numbers whereas I'm hiring people to perform a specific job and execute it not based on numbers but based on values integrity respect and actually getting the job done.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Clint Armstrong: You know there's that there's a big difference.

Malcolm Lui: All right. I can see that for sure and longer term and make a big difference as well.

Clint Armstrong: Longer term makes a huge difference.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Clint Armstrong: Correct.

Malcolm Lui: So your second big driver you reinvest that your profits into hiring more people. And what's your thinking about that. You know what. Why did you decide to do that. And and how are you going about hiring the right people for your firm.

Clint Armstrong: Right. So he decided to do it because our product is people so the more people I bring into the company especially individuals that produce bringing companies bring in sales bring in a good strong candidate pipelines and networks. I mean that that's our product. So we're not investing in you know any type of. Product or good. We're investing in people and we're in the people business. So Human Capital Management Understanding the worth of an individual compared to someone else looking at their worth. Right. So we have a different way of identifying the worth of an individual and paying them in the current marketplace with candidates and internally as well. So we've hired from different industries that we feel like are very very good for staffing that necessarily haven't come from staffing and we've had a tremendous amount of success in that nature. And well what what was your second question MALCOLM

Malcolm Lui: The question is really one why did you choose this path and to how do you go about finding these people to bring

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: On board

Clint Armstrong: Yeah hi. How do we go about finding them. So the number one answer to that is always referral based. Right. So we're in the referral business just like brokers are something that technology can't do it's something that you know a career builder or Monster or dot com is not going to be able to do to really find the best people that aren't necessarily looking but get recommended it you know. And you can get a hold of them personally. Those are the people that you're gonna find that are the best fit for the jobs.

Malcolm Lui: Right. The ones who aren't looking

Clint Armstrong: Yeah exactly.

Malcolm Lui: At now can you share a little bit about early you said something about you found you had great success hiring people from other industries who weren't necessarily in staffing. Can you share some details about what those industries are and where these people came from and how they're being successful in the staffing biz business now

Clint Armstrong: Yeah. Yes. So there's a there's a lot of different industries out there. You know there's people out of manufacturing there's people out of aerospace and tech there's people out of government. What we found are people that are associated with safety people who have come into the safety industry people that have come out of there certain companies that have particularly really well developed and trained training programs for their employees. We like to look at employees from those different types of companies. I'm not sure if you want me to mention them but there's there's quite a few out there that have some excellent excellent training programs and develop really good leadership skills like in and how it's a good one. We found some really good employees that have come out of in and out Enterprise Rent-A-Car is another one they have really good management and training programs. So we look at some other industries out there but we a lot of times we look at specific companies that have excellent training programs and and leadership development

Malcolm Lui: Right. And they're not these people aren't necessarily in a staffing role. When you find them

Clint Armstrong: They've never yeah they've never been in a staffing role. Sometimes they don't even know what staffing is but when you when you tell them how it works and how the different revenue lines work and processes work they're highly intrigued and they like it because it relates a lot to what they've been doing which is dealing with people just in a leadership capacity

Malcolm Lui: And are these people that you're hired typically only relatively recently out of college I only have three to five years of experience are you high hiring seasoned people this way as well.

Clint Armstrong: Yeah season people. You know we really started to in the beginning we started out with really younger individuals and people that didn't have much experience and then we've grown into a point where now we're becoming more of a mature company where you know we're next year we're going gonna do around 50 million in sales so we're starting to go up against the big boys. And so we need that more maturity that that's going to bring a little bit more grounding to the company and people that have a little bit more experience in-depth knowledge experience and the processes and in different capacities that we have to operate in. As you grow

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay so how how season would you actually hire to bring someone who's not in a staffing position and bring them into your firm is there like a you know

Clint Armstrong: Like like like light like hot you mean referring to like their age. Like how old would we hire someone or

Malcolm Lui: Generally speaking I mean like like does it make sense

Clint Armstrong: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Business wise.

Clint Armstrong: Season

Malcolm Lui: Right. To hire a

Clint Armstrong: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: Staffing person who's you know who's like been into in some industry vertical I guess it might make sense if you want to

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Grow their business in one vertical because that person is gonna really know it inside out

Clint Armstrong: Right right. Yeah. Season to 20 years award season because I referred to age because that's what a lot of people in our industry use you know other a little bit more seasons

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Clint Armstrong: Meaning they're just a little bit older but it's not they gotta take your hat off right. Yeah. So it's interesting. I actually interviewed a person today and she has about twenty six years of chemical and plastics manufacturing distribution selling experience and so she's done an internationally worldwide. She's done it for and how do you know her customers where Dupont and a bunch of different customers and we're actually probably gonna end up hiring her so and she doesn't she's never been in staffing but she has a really strong under understanding of manufacturing processes which correlates perfectly with our business and exactly what we do.

Malcolm Lui: So your interest in her would be to develop your business in that space that she has clearly

Clint Armstrong: Yeah yeah. She understands the manufacturing processes. So when these plant managers or when the director or vice president says hey you know we have a huge order a big project from the government coming up or whatever the case is now we have to produce you know half a million units and we need you know X. You know we need five people that are going to run these huge injection molding machines and we need a project manager. She understands the entire scope of what that is and how that goes down even though she's never been in staffing. So it's you know it's a huge asset to us to hire someone like that. You know that's again you know we like looking at other industries for people because they understand the process and they've dealt with the people already you know all throughout the process from the beginning of the lifecycle development of our product from the design designing stage all the way back to the back end support of the warranty side of it where the products getting sold and the products coming back and you have to begin to work with your warranty.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Clint Armstrong: So

Malcolm Lui: And they probably

Clint Armstrong: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Have a huge network of potential candidates that they can draw from as well.

Clint Armstrong: Exactly. Exactly.

Malcolm Lui: Okay great. Thanks for elaborating on that. And then your third driver investing in your processes. He may give an example of a process

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: That you identified needed to beefing up and how you beat it up and made it to the level that you were happy with.

The processes they invested in

Clint Armstrong: Yeah. Sure. So we've one of the major major areas that we've really invested our money in was the recruiting processes. And before we used to do kind of well what the industry calls Fuld asker or full cycle systems. And so we would have someone do sales do the account management and do the recruiting and what we have decided to do was to begin to separate those processes right. Only have someone go to the sales and then we maintain the account management and the recruiters as as one full job. So by doing that we had to continuously invest in our candidates middle process and invest in our sales processes differently because people weren't switching from one to the other and we had different departments you know different reporting going on. So one of that when we started to streamline the operations of you know the specific tasks and job duties you really started to realize you know a greater efficiency and we started growing much faster when we started doing that.

Malcolm Lui: Interesting in that you know staffing recruiting I mean this industry has been around forever. Right. You know why haven't they adopted this model. Because you'd see why it's more efficient right. You have people who are specialists

Clint Armstrong: Sure

Malcolm Lui: In sales doing sales work right. And then you have others

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Who are specialists in account management and recruiting doing that work. I mean it makes sense. So why haven't they gone for that.

Clint Armstrong: There there there there are a few companies out there that have that do do it that way. And I would say not all them do it that way but a lot of them the industry has been moving more towards that whereas early in the industry it was mostly full desk. Everywhere that you would go and everyone would have to do the whole process themselves. I think that people have been identifying that it's much more easier to manage to just have it done in a singular aspect of people's Oh there's not a lot of people out there that are really good at multitasking. People are much better at having a singular focus and executing that in which they feel like they do the best job.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Right.

Clint Armstrong: So you know and I think that's it's kind of been the coming along like with the different like six sigma and Kaizen events and things of that nature these efficiencies and processes and autonomy and automate you know automation has really come up and about in the past 10 years I think you know people are really taking effect to a much much greater

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Good chance your sales job. If you're following the trends in markets oftentimes I seek a job being divided up as well like lead generation becomes a separate role

Clint Armstrong: Lead.

Malcolm Lui: Appointment

Clint Armstrong: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Setting a separate

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Role and then salespeople do it Larry just like sales right.

Clint Armstrong: Yeah yeah I think it comes with the growth of a company to you know I think that as you start to grow you're going to have to start to separate those processes just just because people there's only so much workloads someone can take on

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Clint Armstrong: You know what I mean

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely.

Clint Armstrong: Now.

Malcolm Lui: So can you explain briefly how you can grow your business in one year from eight point nine million to twenty one million. I mean that's more than doubling.

Their 2018 growing pains

Clint Armstrong: Yeah well I mean we we had a lot of growing pains this year. So this was a big year for us in terms of infrastructure change and you know when you when you grow that fast and you grow that much. It's really important to start to look at you know the the sunk costs of things like you know your accounting departments and you know that the non revenue producing departments are the are the places that people don't want to put money into because it doesn't. There's no real rate of return it's a it's a sunk cost. But one way that we got there was really investing money on into different systems that you know better accounting systems and we hired just a tremendous amount of accounting and administrative people this year to support the business growth. And I think that that's what that's one area that people tend to overlook. And then when you get a big customer and you know something hits the fan you lose the customer and then and you know that that was kind of your opportunity to execute. So you got to you got to execute on on all levels. But you know especially on the on the levels that are non revenue producing

Malcolm Lui: Yep.

Clint Armstrong: You know

Malcolm Lui: They're essential

Clint Armstrong: And not. Yeah. They're essential. And so I think people really overlook that. And so for us to go from eight point nine to 20 and then you know next year we're going to get to about 50 50 million is just investing more in that and making sure that wealth you know fine tuned oil machine and people understand what they're doing and how they're doing it and when they're doing it and where they're doing in and following through on it.

Malcolm Lui: Now. How did your team the sales people on your team find for this year another twelve million dollars of business and for next year you're looking for another twenty nine million dollars of business. Yeah. How are you guys finding

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: It or is it all coming from.

Clint Armstrong: How are you finding

Malcolm Lui: From

Clint Armstrong: It.

Malcolm Lui: The current client base

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: And they're just doing more work with you.

Clint Armstrong: Well it says some of it's growing with with the customer. It's been a lot of that for us as we've found the right customers and grown with those customers and invested in those customers. And also a lot of it is acquiring new customers. So for example you know the the year that we got to eight point nine million I think we had about thirty six new customers compared to this year we had ninety one new customers and we just I think we've got another three new customers so we're or we're at like ninety four customers almost 100 new billing customers. And then next year we'll probably be at you know another hundred and fifty new customers. A lot of its referral based a lot of the customers really get good service or they refer you to their sister companies or to other or to their other contacts that say hey you know this this individual has really or this company has really helped me out. You know if you're looking for the same thing you should use

Malcolm Lui: Right

Clint Armstrong: Them. And now people people are starting to call us rather than us having to call that. And that's the that's the big game changer if you if you can get people to start calling you about your services. You're sitting in a prime spot because all you need to do is focus on execution and executing that job that they're asking you to

Malcolm Lui: Yep

Clint Armstrong: Do

Malcolm Lui: Definitely. It's always nice. Great spot to be in. Now

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: How much of your business new business is coming from referrals and how much of it is coming from other sources

Clint Armstrong: That's a good question. I'd love to take a survey at my company and see that we have the data we have we have the data to look it up but I'd probably say. 70 percent is probably. You know 60 to 70 percent is probably prospective. Where the sales you know the sales individuals go out and I'd say 30 to 40 percent is referral based

Malcolm Lui: Ok. And how how did it go about prospecting in finding a business. What's the process there.

Clint Armstrong: There's a lot of different processes there. I mean we do a lot of skilled marketing so. So we have these things called what we call end pieces and we do. We have the most plausible candidate. So we have our you know what we call our teal team which is our technical engineering leadership team and we developed we have these candidates that are currently interviewing with some of our other clients and we take their resumes and we market their resumes to other customers that are looking for the same the same industries. And that's one way that we do a lot of business development. We give that to the sales reps the sales reps go out scrap the processes and procedures that they've done in the past the budgets they've managed 10 million dollars or whatever. And then also the client goes wine is personal looks amazing we'd love to interview on so they bring him in to the interview you know interview him but before you interview him get a signed a contract and then if they end up hiring and then they become a new customer. Now when they become a new customer guess what. We just hired in it a director or a V.P.

Clint Armstrong: of engineering. Guess what that person is going to do. They're going to utilize our services to for their other positions that they have opened right because we've got them the job. So that's how we really start to funnel the air sales and then kind of kind of grow the account and mushroomed those accounts into really profitable accounts. So that's that's one method that we do. We do a lot of. We have a lot of a lot of individuals that just straight cold call come companies based off of their industry or job openings that they have on on the Internet and then and then we have you know other sales reps that just go the route of knocking on doors that the old school way right. And you know hustling that way. So we have a lot of different ways we try and get creative with that creative drop offs. But we'd really like to try and market the people that we currently are in contact with and the products that we're currently working with. We love to market those to two companies because that's the real real time product that that you can get and that you can purchase right. Right now

Malcolm Lui: Right. OK. Can you share. What kind of marketing that you're doing to bring your company and your services to the attention of prospective clients and prospective candidates.

Clint Armstrong: Yeah like like with every time I like online or are you talking about

Malcolm Lui: Whatever marketing you're doing and how do people find out about you outside. Other than a referral. How do people discover discover

Clint Armstrong: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: The skillset group

How they market themselves

Clint Armstrong: Sure a lot of it's word of mouth a lot a lot of people you know which is the best marketing because it's free marketing and a lot of people just hear about it through the community and through the town we're partnered with a lot of chambers of commerce. So we've got a lot of Chambers of Commerce meetings because we want to be part of the community want to help support community grow the community. We put on job fairs for the communities we've been recently helping out the homeless to try and get homeless people back with you know people that aren't aren't necessarily addicts or drug addicts or anything that nature they've just fallen on hard times and they just need that little help you know that little push to get them back into the workplace. We've been doing that. And so you know people care about that. They love that they love the partnership that we not only do we put on the job fairs but we advertise online we're on LinkedIn you know we have a Web site. We advertise in different magazines for our services. Yes the old school in magazines you'd be surprised how many people read magazines still. We advertise you know on all the different job boards like CareerBuilder monster zip recruiter LinkedIn all those all those different items so there's a lot of different ways that you can hear about us you know through indeed and you know just google search or Yelp or I mean you name it we're pretty much everywhere that you can possibly find

Malcolm Lui: Now when you say you're advertising job boards you're actually advertising your current job openings right.

Clint Armstrong: Yeah current job openings and also just our company in general as well.

Malcolm Lui: So you'd advertise. You mean not even have a job opening but you'd be advertising the skillset on those job boards

Clint Armstrong: Yes exactly.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. What's the what's the what's that. What's the ad to get these people to click. If that's not a job relevant listing there that you're

Clint Armstrong: You

Malcolm Lui: Advertising

Clint Armstrong: Know it's more about brand equity and putting the brand out there maintaining brand equity because in staffing recruiting H.R. that's really all you have right. Because you're as good as your word and you're working with people people is your product. So it's really about branding the company right and making sure that that brand is has substantial and high value and it's perceived that way. But most importantly that the quality is there and the brand is perceived with quality not with poor quality or poor candidates you know there's a lot of stopping what they call it you know agencies or you know and these are they've been around for a long time. But you're going to get what you pay for you know you get that really poor quality you're going to get those you know they just developed a system where they hire you know people straight out of college don't really know what they're doing and then you know that's kind of what you get. Whereas with us you get like really solid quality and you get full service and you have the full spectrum of of the different departments that we can serve know and help you with

Malcolm Lui: Right now what are your thoughts about the Internet. How how how do you use it to leverage your business in terms of

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Marketing and sales

Clint Armstrong: All right. Well I mean our art our entire industry is now pretty much dependent on the Internet. We use the internet quite a bit for a lot of different things but in terms of marketing and sales we basically use it for everything. I mean where we get a lot of referral calls and people that just fill out our online forms of help they need with positions and then that gets sent out to the sales reps. A lot of people find us on google reviews people you know we have really good reviews on Google and people just read reviews and then call us. We're also you know surprisingly on Yelp a lot of people put like really positive Yelp reviews about their experience and job experience and people call us on that. And it's really been fully organic but we don't really pay for much you know Internet advertising.

Malcolm Lui: All

Clint Armstrong: So

Malcolm Lui: Those all those things were. Yes sure. There's our candidates reaching out to you right. Not so much companies

Clint Armstrong: No company is companies or each of us based off of the candidate reviews.

Malcolm Lui: The reviews that people.

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Okay got

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: It

Clint Armstrong: Wow you know the candidate you know the candidates really enjoyed the process and did a good job of identifying their skill gaps and got them into work and was a smooth process and so you know clients loved to see that because you want people to experience that with your company

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Clint Armstrong: Because

Malcolm Lui: Definitely

Clint Armstrong: If it's a different story then you're going to have problems on the road.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. You need some consistency.

Clint Armstrong: Exactly.

Malcolm Lui: So I fired up my little spy tool that I have to check

Clint Armstrong: Spy

Malcolm Lui: Out what

Clint Armstrong: Tool.

Malcolm Lui: Spiteful

Clint Armstrong: Are you spying

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Clint Armstrong: On me.

Malcolm Lui: I am spying not you particularly but on the company hit it call spy. I think it's marketing. Oh it is just intelligence as they what a company doing online for their marketing.

Clint Armstrong: Ok.

Malcolm Lui: So. So for your company I just kind of entering your website. I'm seeing that you're not running any paper click ads right now. Now have you tried it and you found it. Is this just

Clint Armstrong: We have didn't. Didn't really work. You know how

Malcolm Lui: Ok

Why they don't run PPC ads to generate leads

Clint Armstrong: We found and again you know I'm not an expert in that field I'm not an expert in paid for paid advertising. A lot of our main competitors do it. But we found that from an organic aspect. You know we've gotten calls from companies just through the organic reviews and information on on the internet about us

Malcolm Lui: Right. OK. Have you seen any of your competitors go route real heavy on the paper

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Slick advertising

Clint Armstrong: Yeah. And typically those those companies are publicly traded and you know how big budgets and can spend now 10000 or 20000 a month on a billboard or something of that nature to to help drive track candidate traffic or client traffic.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. Yeah I think it is from split people about the ones who are running their campaigns for the business. It all boils down to what you just said right. If it works you do a lot of it. If it doesn't work you either don't do it or you just keep on testing it out a small scale to you get it to work.

Clint Armstrong: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: So

Clint Armstrong: Exactly.

Malcolm Lui: What other marketing channels have you tried that just didn't work for your company

Clint Armstrong: Well we tried the billboards one time so we did billboards in you know unique location so you'd find billboards next to like we were one of our our main service segments that we focus a lot in is food and beverage. I kind of built the company off of getting it into food and beverage and now working with some of the Fortune 500 manufacturing companies if you'd like crafter you know a lot of the nut manufacturers or Pepsi or Coca-Cola. Now we got these customers but what we would do is we would put billboard advertisements right next to let's say a company that we wanted to get into.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Clint Armstrong: We would put an advertisement like on the road that they had to exit you know an ad say do you need engineers you know or do you need mechanics or do you need quality assurance individuals you know call you know call skillset group. And that worked OK. You know

Malcolm Lui: Ok.

Clint Armstrong: I think I think that the old traditional methods you really need to do it for a longer time period to really analyze the numbers to see if it works. But whereas you know in in the Internet and you know the you know the 21st century it's it's pretty rapid feedback. You know it's instantaneous real time feedback especially with stuff like Google Analytics you know you can instantly see where your customers are coming from and their retention rates and and are they getting it from mobile or a desktop and so forth. So yeah we've tried to. Oh no. We've actually had some success with the magazines we stick with a few magazines that we advertise in and in staffing and you know just in general that go out from a localized basis. Those have actually worked out well as well.

Malcolm Lui: What kind of magazines would those be the ones that are working

Clint Armstrong: Yes. So those are more of the local magazines now you'll have like local city kind of free paper magazine that you'll come about. So like if you're in Newport Beach you'll have like the Newport Beach you know whatever and beat or something like that. And it's it's a small just kind of paper

Malcolm Lui: Yet

Clint Armstrong: We found that those those actually worked pretty well because it's really localized and it's in a lot of different places and people just pick them up and read them and just kind of you know click you know flow through our mother eat lunch one day I while who's or something like that. We found that those actually worked pretty well as well

Malcolm Lui: Interesting because I see those all the time. I

Clint Armstrong: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Never look at it but someone

Clint Armstrong: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Does. Right. And it

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Kind of brings me to an interesting interview I had where one company they actually get their new leads new business from a radio show they host their own radio show on a M radio. I

Clint Armstrong: Very

Malcolm Lui: Mean

Clint Armstrong: Cool

Malcolm Lui: I can't remember the last time I listened to a AM radio but these guys found that their market is there and it worked

Clint Armstrong: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: Out really well. So

Clint Armstrong: You know what. I listened to AM 640 all the time. So there you go.

Malcolm Lui: All right. So you know you might become one of their clients one day.

Clint Armstrong: Yeah. Yeah exactly.

Malcolm Lui: So what were you to get to a 50 million next year. Yeah that's a big jump right. Twenty one to 50.

Clint Armstrong: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: What do you think is your biggest challenge. Did you do that

Their biggest challenge

Clint Armstrong: Man. There's a tremendous amount of challenges we have to keep our costs under control and we have to find the right people that are going to execute the job properly. So you know we've been ramping up this month in December. We'd like to do it December before the new year so that we can get people during because our industry slows down right now. And so we like to really hire up kind of in December and then have them have that slow period where we can really train them up and get them trained up for the next jump. So what we're what we're investing is and we're on if anyone is listening to this feel free to apply to our company because we're looking for additional people but we're hiring more salespeople. We have to hire more recruiters to get jobs filled. We're investing a tremendous amount of money into new technology and new platforms to continue to increase the pipeline of candidates casting a bigger net and being able to filter out those people and find them for the right opportunities and for the right jobs. And we're investing a tremendous amount of money on our backend our infrastructure and also our legal side to right.

Clint Armstrong: So because we're in the people business you know people you know they do whether or not they're injured or not but people people will say hey you know this went wrong and you're going to have that from time to time so you need to make sure you have a good conscious legal department that can help guide you in the right direction as you take on bigger customers and you take on bigger roles and you know and as things start to happen you know you need to make sure that you're set up properly with the insurance and you know the back end of payroll and accounting and finance and just making sure everything runs smoothly. So we've been investing a tremendous amount and we're getting ready for the next ramp up. We have the customers to grow with to get there. We just acquired some some of the biggest customers in Southern California into to help us you know grow with them and it's just a matter of executing on the other end really.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Clint Armstrong: You know

Malcolm Lui: So you mentioned before that you're looking to hire more salespeople

Clint Armstrong: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: So you feel like you still need more sales you to help you get to the target of 21 to 50

Clint Armstrong: Yeah you're you're always going to want salespeople no matter what. Why. Because you live and die by sales and at the end of the day you know customers. We hope that customers will be around forever. But I think to say that a customer is going to be around forever is I think you're kind of lying to yourself you know what I mean. I think that they use you for a certain period of time and they use you for a certain period in the lifetime of the company. Right. So if if they're going from two hundred million to five billion you know our company is probably not going to be the best fit. You know you're going to have to go to someone that can segment out you know more locations for you you know if you're for nationwide going nationwide we're not going to probably end up being the best customer for you

Malcolm Lui: Right now. What are your thoughts about helping your sales people find more leads. Because from what I recall from our conversation you know you don't super heavily advertise or you're not.

Clint Armstrong: Right.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. In order to take on that as opposed to letting you I know you said some of your salespeople you know they do the cold calling route. Some of them are looking for job ads that other companies have and approaching them to see how they can help and so on. What do you think about actually doing a wider scale marketing campaign to find candidates to companies and let your team you know filter through those

Clint Armstrong: Yeah. Yeah. So we were we've actually been investing in that too we've invested in a few new services that help help give you those those type of leads. But what we found are the best lead real time leads right. So in staffing what is a real time lead a real time lead is something that is actively interviewing at a company for a current position. So when we bring in candidates into our office to interview because majority of all the people that we that we place out so like material will place around six to seven thousand people into different companies and all of those people come into our offices and meet with us and we greet em and we'd sit him down we talk to him we figure out what their family situations like we figure out you know do you need to pick up the kids at this time is your wife working. How much money do you need to make all these different aspects rate their people. And once we figure out what they need we ask oh we always ask them are you currently in or interviewing anywhere. Yes I'm interviewing at company X Y and Z. Those end up being the best leads for us.

Targeting growth industries

Clint Armstrong: So we can actively see hey these these companies are growing internally and then and then we measure that and look at it and then you know try to target those companies or sometimes it's just in general the industry right. A certain industry is doing really well based off of you know certain things like real estate for example look at real estate real estate has been doing really well in the past eight years right. And you know even though interest rates are going up it has a domino effect in terms of manufacturers. So people that are manufacturing home you know home things like switches for the lights or there being New York or like Quecreek for example or they're making the concrete or they're making the drywall or the stucco or the paint like bare paint. Those industries are doing extremely well right now and they're prospering because the there's there's not enough inventory out there right now. So what they what they have to do is produce new inventory and that's exactly what's happening so it's a filter down effect. So we go out we target those kind of entities that are experiencing that type of growth

Malcolm Lui: Right because they need to hire people to

Clint Armstrong: Yeah. Exactly.

Malcolm Lui: Continue to grow.

Clint Armstrong: I mean cannabis is a great great example great looking cannabis companies right now they're they're experiencing because it's certainly illegal in different states they're experiencing a tremendous amount of growth and it's the second largest Number of positions open in the United States is cannabis. The first is dentists surprisingly right because of the baby boomers

Malcolm Lui: A surprising

Clint Armstrong: Baby boomers are retiring and they have bad teeth and they need they need you know you know your teeth or they truth teeth worked on. So you know you have to look at it from an industry perspective and from a geographic perspective and really what's going on in a well you know you have generations of people retiring now what does that mean. Well you know RV sales are at all time highs. So what do we do. We go after the RV manufacturers. OK. You know and then go there and say hey you know these guys the composite technicians for you know the plastics and the electrical engineers and design engineers they need all that stuff. And so we go we provide it for them. So we really hunt down from from a large scale and then start to funnel it down.

Malcolm Lui: Right. It makes sense logical. Yeah. Two last questions for you one. Who are your ideal clients that the companies that you would like to be in touch with to place jobs and perhaps who are your ideal candidates as well. And what's the best way for them to reach you

Clint Armstrong: All right. So so first question. So the first question one more time sorry about

Malcolm Lui: Who are your ideal corporate customers

Clint Armstrong: Ok so our

Malcolm Lui: And the second one would be Who are your ideal candidates that you would like to work with.

Their ideal clients.

Clint Armstrong: Candidates. Yes OK. So our ideal customers would be customers that are between the ranges of I'd say 50 million to a billion dollars. We like to focus in on that sweet spot. Ideal customers are customers that revenue around 100 to 300 million. We love those type of customers because we're right in their sweet spot of growth and we focus on companies that manufacture anything from aerospace and defense products automotive food and beverage. We do a lot of information technology manufacturing medical devices pharmaceutical logistics warehousing. We provide all of all of those companies employees to them for different divisional aspects so we provide them for engineering technology leadership positions technical industrial and big industrial positions skilled labor positions accounting and finance positions administrative positions. We and then we do it all the way down to the bottom of. We do it on the light industrial side of the general labor positions as well. So our ideal customers are also individuals that are local to the California area. We primarily do business in California. And that's how we plan on doing it next year as well. And so that's that would be our ideal customer in terms of our ideal candidates. Well we love candidates that have a strong work ethic that are willing to learn and that one opportunity to grow. We love those individuals and we welcome to come apply and walk into our offices and work with us. We're all about helping people and we're all about working with the community to help you get more integrate in the community and help grow your role. So it doesn't really matter what you do as long as you come in and you sit down with a recruiter you bring in your resumé we can help you find a position

Malcolm Lui: What's the best way for them to contact you or your team

Clint Armstrong: Sure and go to skills group or you can call it 7 7 2 7 2 6 9 5 0 and then the phone system will automate you to one of our recruiters

Malcolm Lui: Awesome. Thanks for joining us today. Clint and sharing how you accelerate your company's high value sales.

Clint Armstrong: Thank you so much Malcolm. I appreciate the time and I wish you the best of success and most importantly we'll have a wonderful and merry merry Christmas.

Malcolm Lui: You too as well Clint

Clint Armstrong: Thank you.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Clint Armstrong, the CEO and Founder of the SkillsetGroup about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit

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