Ask Barb: Tough-To-Fill Contracts

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Sep 19, 2012

Dear Barb:

I work for a large IT contract firm. Our Sales Reps bring in contracts that are very difficult to fill and we are expected to spend our time working on them. When we don’t fill them, we are the ones who are criticized rather than them for writing bad business.

How do we get our Sales Team to write the caliber of contracts that we can fill? I don’t want to lose my job because the contracts I’m asked to fill are impossible. How do I approach the Sales Reps without making them angry?

Tracy P., Austin, TX

Dear Tracy:

The solution is to conduct revenue modeling to determine your best business. Review what contracts have been filled in the past twelve months, not written! Write down which contracts have been filled. Study the following:

  • Job Title
  • Bill Rate
  • Pay Rate
  • GMP
  • Location
  • Industry
  • Time to Pay Invoice

Once you have determined which contracts provide the highest profit and can be filled – you have now determined your best business. Now set up a meeting with your manager to share this information.

I always ask recruiters to tell me the job order, contract, or temp assignment they know they can fill and they will instantly provide me with an answer. I then ask what percentage of their job orders, contracts, or temp assignments represent that exact business and it is always less than 15%. Imagine how much more revenue would be generated if 85% of the efforts of your Sales Team was to attract your best business.

If your conversation is about how to increase profits, your manager will be interested in the information you have researched. When you are working the candidate side of the sale, you should be able to provide contract leads to your Sales Reps from your interviews. Providing your Sales Team with solid leads will also provide you with the contracts you can fill.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

Would you like to Ask Barb a question? Email her at Each month in The Fordyce Letter print edition, Barbara Bruno answers questions from individuals in the Recruiting Profession. We will bring you some of these Q&A responses from Barb each week on