On this episode of The Staffing Show, Matt Dichter, VP of Sales at Staffing Engine, talks about his start in the staffing industry and his journey to his current company. He shares all of the various programs that are part of his company’s tech stack and details how they streamline day-to-day operations. He also talks about his view of AI tools such as ChatGPT and how they could launch the staffing industry into a new realm of productivity as well as profit.
David Folwell: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us for another episode of The Staffing Show. Today, I am super excited to be joined by a good friend and integration partner, Matt Dichter, who is the VP of sales at Staffing Engine. Matt, super excited to have you on the show. To kick things off, for those that don’t know you, and many do, could you give us a little bit of your background and tell us how you got into the staffing industry?
Matt Dichter: Thanks, Dave. Happy to be here. So, about my background, I kind of fell into the staffing industry. Frankly, I didn’t really know what the staffing industry was. I had graduated college in 2009 out of Penn State and, like many graduates in 2009, didn’t really know what I wanted to do. So, I started with bartending and waiting tables and one of my regulars from there recruited me to go work at an outsourced business development firm in Boston where I really learned the ins and outs of cold calling, being on the phones for setting up meetings, that sort of thing.
And while I was there, one of the prospective customers I was reaching out to was the former VP of sales at Bullhorn and I had done some research on them, it seemed like a really cool place to work. He actually reverse recruited me while I was trying to sell to him to meet some folks on his team and ended up getting involved there, went in for a couple interviews and, before I knew it, I had landed at Bullhorn in the staffing and recruiting industry and really had to, over my first several years at Bullhorn, just soaked up the industry, went and met with clients, sat in different roles in staffing agency offices and really came to know and love the staffing agency that way.
Folwell: That’s a fun background and, like many, not the path you saw but one that you’re enjoying.
Dichter: Well, I’ve been in the industry since. So, I was at Bullhorn for close to nine years and now about two-and-a-half years in here at Staffing Engine. So, maybe I’m a lifer now, we’ll have to see.
Folwell: I think I am. I think I’m right there with you. So, pretty excited about our conversation today. I know AI is a hot topic for probably everybody that’s listening to this. I know it’s changing how I work. To kick things off here in terms of talking about what you guys do, will you tell us a little bit about who Staffing Engine is and what problems you solve for the industry and then we’re going to have a broader range of conversation around what’s going on with AI.
Dichter: It seems like there’s a new AI company that pops up every day, including companies that have been in the industry for a while that were not AI providers that now are. So, there’s a lot of competition and it’s like an AI race. When I came to join Staffing Engine, our founder is Ted Guggenheim, he had started TextUs, had a successful exit there and told me that he was on the cusp of doing some really big things. Now, this was about three years ago now so Ted had the foresight to know what was coming with AI and generative AI and that sort of thing.
And at that point in time, Staffing Engine was really just an AI chatbot tool that could help qualify and route inbound candidate and client leads. It could also be embedded in outbound automations to help with that outbound qualification exercise and we still do that very well. We quickly recognized that not everyone is a fit for AI chatbots, they’re best applied with higher volume, inbound traffic, light industrial healthcare but there’s a ton of small-to-mid-size IT professional recruiting agencies out there that might not have the traffic to necessitate an AI chatbot. So we quickly started thinking about, “What are some other tools that we could build?” And both myself and Jay Cutler, along with some of our advisors had been at Bullhorn for a while and recognized that there were some gaps in real-time notifications, alerting recruiters of elements that are requiring action.
But as generative AI has come to light, we’ve also found ways to combine GPT and generative AI tools into that solution, which we now call our AI Assistant, which is really focused on driving internal sales and recruiting productivity. When you look at AI chatbots, they’re much more focused on candidate client experience. We wanted to build a solution that also helped the internal Bullhorn user, recruiter, salesperson do more with their day.
Folwell: Got it. So, you’ve got the chatbot, AI Assistant, what other….
Dichter: So, those were the first two and then a newer solution which we think to date has been rather healthcare-specific but we’re starting to see some other verticals share this challenge is around top-of-funnel lead distribution and the story behind that tool is actually really cool. So, one of our customers, GQR, who is using us on the chatbot AI Assistant side said, “This is great but what we’re really struggling with is we have leads….” In healthcare, they considered their candidate and provider leads their leads, I’m talking about candidate leads. We’ve got leads from all these different sources, Vivian, Travel Nurse Source, our mobile app they use WorkN, their corporate website and all of those leads were coming into a general shared inbox. And folks on their team were manually combing through them, seeing if they existed in the database and if they didn’t exist there and then assigning them out to recruiters for follow-up.
First of all, that’s an incredibly difficult process and highly manual. But, in this market, how much competition there is to nurses and candidates, by the time they were getting assigned out, it was taking hours before they were able to follow up with them. And so, they basically said, “Can you help us build a solution that makes this whole process go faster?” So, we built what we now call AI Lead Distribution which basically applied AI to that shared inbox, stripped out the information around that candidate’s name, location, skills, specialty, does a look-up in Bullhorn. If they don’t exist, they’ll add them into Bullhorn. And, if they do, they’ll pass that candidate information, including the owner, to the appropriate channels and Microsoft Teams, whether they’re split up by geography, skills, specialties, and allow them to claim leads and immediately follow up with them on a first-come, first-serve basis.
What that allowed GQR to do was shrink their lead response time from hours, sometimes days, down to minutes. During business hours, they’re claiming these leads within minutes, sometimes seconds, of them coming in, that’s resulted in some pretty serious ROI for them.
Folwell: Wow, that’s pretty incredible and I can’t remember the exact stat but, if you follow up within five minutes of a lead coming in, you 9X or something….
Dichter: Yes. We quote this all the time but, if you’re able to follow up with a lead within 30 to 60 minutes, whether they’re sales or candidate, your chances of success with that lead, whether placing them or landing a job with them, are far greater than if you wait even over an hour, you’re waiting too long. And we all know that some of these agencies get so much volume that it’s impossible for them, they don’t have enough recruiters or salespeople to follow up with those leads in a timely manner. And so, that’s a great use case for applying AI and automation to help expedite that entire process and follow up with people quicker.
Folwell: It makes a lot of sense. And also, you think that we live in the world of “now,” first to respond and first… every traveler, every candidate, they’re probably submitting multiple applications at that time, they’re probably going through and doing….
Folwell: …one-click apply, you submit 20 applications and you’re sitting there waiting for people to get back to you, first to respond. If you’re trying to get them placed quickly, it matters.
Dichter: What we’ve found during testing of that product is someone might apply specifically to that agency but then, five, 10 minutes later during testing, they were getting calls from other agencies so that data ends up getting distributed at some point in the process and it really does become a speed game. The first to contact is going to, more likely than not, be the first to submit and then the first to place.
Folwell: What other ways are you seeing AI change the staffing industry?
Dichter: I’ve seen some really interesting use cases around generative AI which I think we’ll probably get into more and more detail later, there’s some great solutions for AI match. Shout out to Opus Match, I know Corey was on here recently, they’ve got a great solution set. AI, I guess we already talked about AI qualification, but then I also think that there’s a really big opportunity for AI to be applied to middle and back-office practices in the future as well. So, it’s moving so quickly and there are more use cases that come out every day. Generative AI in particular, there’s just so much you can do with it, whether you’re talking about sales or recruiting.
Folwell: One of the use cases that…it confused me at first when I saw you guys at Bullhorn Engage this year and you had the shirts, was it “Hello”… was that “Okay Bullhorn” or “Hello Bullhorn?”
Dichter: “Hello Bullhorn,” yeah.
Folwell: “Hello Bullhorn,” and I was like, “What?” It took me a second and then I think, actually, Ted explained it to me.
Dichter: The idea is that we’ve built a direct integration between OpenAI and Bullhorn which, by the way, is far safer than a recruiter copying and pasting information into GPT where you could be training a large language model on sensitive information. When you go through the API, that data is not stored on the back end and we’re making sure to strip out all sensitive data and you can start doing things like interrogating your Bullhorn data with AI to produce an outcome.
So, the first thing that we built for Engage was internal submission. Look at this candidate record, look at this job record, tell me if they’re a good fit and, if they are a good fit, generate me an internal submission to send to my account manager. Now, that internal submission might take a junior recruiter 15 to 25 minutes on average to build and we can shrink that time down to under 30 seconds to generate, you do a once over, polish it up, you can save yourself 15 to 20 minutes per submission. At scale, if you’ve got a large recruiting team and each of those recruiters is responsible for five to 10 internal submissions a week, you start talking about some pretty serious time savings and that’s only the submittal use case.
You can use it for job board publishing. You can use it for creating a Boolean search string, you can use it for a business development solution. So, I think that we’re starting to scratch the tip of the iceberg there, but there’s going to be some really interesting use cases that come out in the coming months and years around that.
Folwell: One of the things that you touched on there that I think is probably important to take note of is the privacy component of that. I use ChatGPT daily, I’ve started building my own GPT, so Staffing Referral’s GPT, but nothing that I submit in there is truly, even if I’m offline, from what I understand, once you take it offline, you’re still potentially training their model and your data and information is going into that model. So, there’s really no way to, at least from my knowledge, I might not be fully describing….
Dichter: Yeah, that’s right. In OpenAI, I keep saying that they’re coming out with enterprise versions that are going to make sure that they’re secure, backed by things like Azure and that sort of thing to increase security. But there are large, publicly traded staffing firms that will not allow the recruiters to touch GPT until it’s more defined and secure. We think that those agencies are losing out on a big edge because there’s so much power and time savings behind it but, for an enterprise organization that’s publicly traded, totally understand it and get it because it’s still really early days there.
Folwell: Don’t drop the PII into ChatGPT.
Dichter: Definitely don’t, yup.
Folwell: So, with that, one of the other things that I know that has been big for Staffing Engine is the different partnerships and integrations you have, you mentioned Opus. Can you tell me a little bit more, and we’ve already talked about Bullhorn a little bit, but tell me a little bit more about what your integrations look like and how your partner…to the product.
Dichter: Yeah. Like many other partners, we started with our core ATS integrations, so Bullhorn, Salesforce, the Salesforce platform players so TargetRecruit, Bullhorn for Salesforce and we will roll out more ATS integrations in 2024 and beyond. We also have really deep integrations with Microsoft Teams and Slack. All of us tech providers are Slack shops but we….
Folwell: Yeah, exactly.
Dichter: … the majority are Microsoft Teams and that’s become a very important integration for us both for sending and distributing data but also just the concept of, with a live chat, allowing an internal recruiter or engagement specialist to communicate with the website visitor in real time, communicate back and forth, take a transcript of that conversation, put it into ATS. When you talk about delivering a truly on-demand experience to candidates and clients, you can’t beat that so that’s been a big one for us.
So, those were, I think, the core that we set out with and then one of the benefits that we’ve had with me and Jay and so many folks that come from Bullhorn and other staffing partners is we have a really strong network of partners, both sales partners but also integrated partners. So, shout out to the newly branded Tech Alliance Group that both us and Staffing Referrals are a part of, along with Opus, Staffing Future, RefAssured, the Great Recruiters and KarmaCheck. I think I nailed them all. But we’ve been doing micro events together, finding ways to integrate and add value because the tech stack has changed a lot.
It used to be a lot of point solutions that solve very specific challenges. But, the more that our companies have grown, we’ve seen more and more overlap between the two and I’d say that there’s still some…even the folks that try to be the jack of all trades, they still do one or two things really, really well and then have built out ancillary solutions to support that. But I’m still a big believer in the best of breed concept that there are some providers that really excel in one or two key areas and it’s important to deploy those tools that they solve challenges in your staffing agency.
Folwell: Yeah, it’s always interesting when you think about the jack of all trades versus the point solutions. One of the things I always think about, just in conversations I have with staffing agency owners, it’s like, “Oh, well, this tool does 50 different things.” It’s like, “Well, as a staffing agency owner, if you’re a hundred people, are you in every vertical? Are you doing healthcare, IT, light industrial?” Probably not and there’s a reason why. And even when you do break out and do those different verticals, you typically have full, different operating procedures, teams, business units so….
Dichter: I see it in our tech stack all the time. Early on, we partnered with ZoomInfo. And ZoomInfo is, by far, the best when it comes to data. But we’ve also added on some of their ancillary solutions like the engagement tool, the call recording. And I know, from being on demos or even deploying other solutions, that those ancillary solutions aren’t as good as those other folks who do that for a living. And so, I’m always a believer that choose to partner with a partner for the right reasons in their core competencies. And, if the ancillary stuff doesn’t work like you need it to, go find the right solution that solves that problem for you.
Folwell: What other trends are you seeing in the market right now from a staffing….
Dichter: Besides everyone being an overnight AI company, we’ve all heard about the layoffs that are taking place. We’ve all seen the earnings reports for the publicly traded companies that have come out and it has been a tough market, really, for all of 2023. We’re optimistic that it’ll be better in 2024 but it’s not going to happen overnight. And so, again, to quote Staffing Hub, I think the biggest listed challenge in the last report that you guys put out was getting jobs is top of mind. And I think, when you look at us, staffing tech providers, historically we have focused so much on the candidate side and the candidate experience.
And I know we’re talking about it at Staffing Engine but I think that there’s going to be a really big trend towards us partners getting smart and really building strong sales tools for the sales side of the house. I think we’re going to talk more about other tools outside of us staffing focus providers that you can deploy, but that’s going to be a big one, I think. And the thing with layoffs, too, that I think is worth mentioning, we have seen some agencies use those layoffs and say, “Listen, we’re in a complete holding pattern.”
But we’ve also seen some really forward-thinking agencies say, “Okay, well, we have way less headcount now, how can we apply technology to do the work of four or five, six individuals at a smaller cost and apply technology to allow our existing head count or new head count to do more with less?” And so, there’s a really good opportunity for agencies and CFOs to get smart about how they deploy technology in the face of reducing headcount.
Folwell: It does really feel like we’re in the world and will continue to be in the world of efficiency, productivity, doing more with less and what smart automation can you use to do that? One of the metrics from a software perspective that I always look at that is the revenue per employee, I think that applies probably everywhere. But how do you maximize revenue per employee or maximize placements per recruiter? And I think what I hear from agencies and just see firsthand is that the agencies that are adopting tech are able to grow faster, drive bigger GM per recruiter because they’re able to handle more processes, like you were saying.
Folwell: Instead of having to spend time routing a lead, let technology do that for you.
Dichter: The other thing, too, that I think is worth mentioning is agencies are looking for more than tech solutions right now. They really truly are looking for tech partners. Especially in the AI space where there is so much unknown. It’s not enough to buy the shiny AI tool. They really are looking for vendors and partners that are going to sit down, lay out a game plan to ensure implementation success and really truly help them understand how is this tool working? What’s the true machine learning AI behind it and how are we going to point it at our business to achieve a measurable outcome? And so, I think that the folks that are willing to get their hands dirty and spend a lot of time with their customers post sale are the ones that are going to do a really good job in this market.
Folwell: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s interesting to see, we’re talking about AI nonstop on this podcast, but it is…I feel like, at the conferences, it’s half of the conversation right now. Because it’s new, it’s exciting and people are seeing how impactful it is working with GPT to see these. It’s become part of my daily routine, I use it on my phone at night as much as I use Google. Half the time, I’m just sitting there and I’m like, “Do I want to Google this or do I want to ChatGPT?” I don’t know, maybe half and half when I’m picking up my phone where I’m going to get the answer.
Dichter: It’s just faster and it can produce a usable output, which Google can’t. Google can show information but it doesn’t really apply it to whatever you need it to do which is the beauty of generative AI.
Folwell: The only fear with it is it giving me…I’ve got some pretty detailed instructions to make sure it’s all resource fact-based because, every now and then, it does that. At least, ChatGPT. Yeah, the hallucinations can be a little rough at times.
So, what else is going on? And I’ve talked about some of my experience there with the generative AI, what else is going on on that front?
Dichter: We’ve all heard that AI and generative AI is not here to replace humans but then you listen to some of the things that Sam Altman says and he very clearly intends to replace humans in certain areas. I like to think that it’s not a replacement for salespeople and recruiters but a way to level them up. Make your C players, B players, your B players, A players, and make your A players better than they ever have been before. One of the things that we’ve heard in some of our customer roundtables is that we’ve got some old timers that have been here for a long time, know how to sell staffing services or consulting, whatever it is that you’re selling, and they’re good but the entry level folks don’t really know where to begin, what to write, what questions to ask.
And so, what we’ve seen internally is that it’s a really good way to, not only generate an output, but also do some training and do some onboarding. You can literally tell it, “I’m reaching out to a CMO at an oil and gas company. What are their primary concerns? And then write me an email that hints on those concerns in an initial outreach.” Or, “Draft me up five or six good discovery questions to ask using the gap selling methodology that will get me to a core pain point.” So, it can help ramp faster, for sure.
And me and Jay have both been doing a lot of testing with the email prospecting. If you just put in a general, “Write me a sales email,” the output is not good, it’s not.
Folwell: They’re not, they’re not.
Dichter: But, if you really engineer it and you really prompt it, you can get it down to a short, concise, value-packed email with a low friction CTA which is what all the sales people out there tell you that is what you want to do. But most agencies don’t know how to prompt it that way yet. That’s one of the things that we want to do at Staffing Engine is essentially be the prompt engineer for the agency so they don’t have to have 50 recruiters who are all experts in prompting GPT. Let us prompt it the right way for you and then you can unleash it on your entire sales and recruiting team.
Folwell: Yeah. The first few times I used it and asked it to write an email, I was like, “This is garbage.” And then realized that, with the right instruction set, with the right prompts, I’m looking at it more of as a brainstorming tool. Or even, one of the things I’ve done with this, this is not for sales emails but maybe for wedding vows, I don’t know, maybe write what you want to write and then ask it to write it like Hemingway. Write it, add some, make this rhyme.
Dichter: Maybe a nice Valentine’s Day poem?
Dichter: Another real-life use case, one of the things that we’re trying to do here at Staffing Engine is build the brand. And a big part of that is I’ve got three SDRs on my team who I’m really trying to help, not only build the Staffing Engine brand, but really help them build their personal brand. They’re not going to be at Staffing Engine forever and I know that. When I go to hire, one of the first things that I look at is, “Is this person connected in the space? Are they posting regularly? Do they have a personal brand?” And some of them were apprehensive or even a little scared at first of doing that.
You don’t have to overthink it. And GPT can be a resource for you to help script LinkedIn posts or feed it a case study or an article and summarize it in two or three bullet points with emojis that are LinkedIn friendly. You can really prompt it to do that heavy lifting so you don’t have to overthink about things, let the machines go to work for you and help you.
Folwell: I completely agree on that. So, it sounds like you’re using it for, some for prospecting, some for LinkedIn posting. Any other favorite use cases?
Dichter: Ramping, getting industry knowledge. I was on a webinar that Butler Street put out and they were up there roleplaying it. Picture that I’m talking to a CFO at a staffing agency and I’ve got this solution X, Y, and Z and it’s going to be a tough negotiation, walk me through it and you can actually stage scenarios where you go back and forth where GPT is acting as the persona that you want to negotiate with. It’s pretty wild to think about but then you actually do it and some of those things come up in real life scenarios, so it’s pretty good.
Folwell: It is amazing, all of the use cases. One of the things that, I have some friends that have been like, “I don’t really know what I need to use it for, I don’t think I have the use case, I don’t need to write email,” they’re telling me why they don’t need it. And then I’ll say, “What are you struggling with at work today or right now?” And one guy was like, “I’m trying to figure out what the agenda I should have for my quarterly meeting with my….”
Folwell: “… data scientists,” and I literally just take whatever somebody tells me is their challenge and type it in there and show it to them, like, “Oh, okay. Well, that’s actually….”
Dichter: It goes beyond just the agenda bullet points. You can actually use it to help you write out a territory plan. And it’s just getting better, too, so things are going to be a lot faster in the future.
Folwell: One of the funnier use cases I’ve had with it recently, as I was running, I always listen to audiobooks while I run and, the other day, I had some questions about different SaaS metrics and different best practices. And I pulled on Whisper, which you can just talk to it, and, instead of call, I always talk to people I run as well and so I was just sitting there talking to ChatGPT while on a run going like, “This is insane.”
Dichter: So, we all get those emails that are clearly AI generated or automated and they drive me crazy. As someone with a VP in their title, I get a lot of them. And it’s always obvious. So, we believe in hyper-personalization here, but it’s not always obvious how to connect and adopt and I’ll give you an example. I was looking to reach out to someone who was very clearly a fan of jiu jitsu and so I had done the work to notice an observation, “They’re a fan of jiu jitsu. They practice jiu jitsu. I want to somehow find a way to tie jiu jitsu into what Staffing Engine sells, staffing AI.”
And you can sit there and think about it and eventually connect the dots or you can drop into ChatGPT and I’ll pull it up, “Write me three parallels between jiu jitsu and AI and emerging technology.” And it will spell out, “Adaptability and problem solving, continuous learning and improvement, human machine collaboration.” Give examples? So, now when you go and say, “Hey, noticed you’re a jiu jitsu fan,” you can talk about how jiu jitsu is referred to as the gentle art because of all these different things and tie AI into it. So, it does the connecting of the dots for you from a personalization standpoint.
Folwell: So, with all of that, and we’ve gone through a handful of really good use cases here. Five years from now, what does it look like from your perspective?
Dichter: I don’t even know. I don’t think we can even predict five months from now because it’s moving so fast. GPT-4 and they’re already talking about GPT-5 so it’s a lot to think about. I think that, both generative AI and directive AI, the concept that we’re going to tell you what to do next in your day, you’re going to continue advancing, Staffing Engine wants to be at the forefront of that. And so, the idea is that we can look at massive sets of data and instruct the recruiter what to do next in their day and then give them generative AI tools built into that to help them complete that task. And so, I see those two forces of directive AI and generative AI merging together.
I don’t even know if we’ll be looking at computers in a few years from now, you can just talk it into your watch or say it out loud and it can tell you what to do. So, it’s….
Folwell: Just think it and it pops up in your glasses?
Dichter: Exactly. Everyone says that picture the invention of the internet, well, this is that on steroids and so I don’t think that…some people like the Sam Altmans of the world at OpenAI might be in the know of what’s coming next but I think there’s a whole lot of conjecture, some really good ideas but we won’t really know till we get there.
Folwell: It is just insane the pace at which it’s moving and the unknown. I think, same thing as the internet, it’s going to go down the similar path of enhancing so many components of life probably causing a lot of problems in certain areas and….
Dichter: Yeah, and they’re….
Folwell: Good and bad and all.
Dichter: …very resistant to using the internet when it came out. Now, eventually, everyone gets there.
Folwell: Yup, absolutely. So, with that, one of the things that I know is a big challenge for most staffing agencies this year or at least a priority at the very least is finding new clients, the business development, making sure they’re getting more job orders in. You’ve been one of the top sales leaders at multiple organizations. What are some of the concepts or tactics that, as a staffing agency owner or at a biz dev at a staffing agency, what should they be thinking about? What are some things you recommend?
Dichter: I like to think that I’m at the forefront of emerging technologies in sales because I like to get in and tinker and try a lot of them. And I’d be remiss to say Staffing Engine’s going to be building some sales use cases going into next year so I’m excited for that and to share that as those come out. But outside the immediate tech stack, I think there’s a lot of tools out there that agencies just don’t know about because they’re not supplied by the immediate tech ecosystem partners. Video prospecting is huge. We book a lot of meetings and get in a lot of doors using Vidyard. There’s also Loom and a bunch of others out there. It’s just another way to personalize and stand out and it’s different.
People are sick of emails. It’s hard to get people on the calls, we’ve all been pitch slapped on LinkedIn, doesn’t feel good. But video is a way to really let the person know that you did your homework, you took the time to write a personalized message. I’d be more eager to listen to a 30-to-60-second video that someone took the time to put together explaining how they could help me than I would just a general automated email. And we’ve seen quite a few agencies, going back to my Bullhorn days, I would reach out with video and I would have leaders go, “Well, I want to learn more about what Bullhorn or Staffing Engine has but, also, what’s this video tool? How do you use it? I want it to play with my sales team.”
So, video’s a big one. I’m a big believer in AI call recording and intelligence meeting summaries, that sort of thing. I know Gong is making a big push into staffing and recruiting right now, I’m a big believer. Especially in this remote workforce. I always joke around, going back 10 years, I would have my sales manager sitting next to me in a chair on a splitter giving me live coaching. Well, that’s really hard to do when your recruiting team’s hybrid or remote. So, we have a setup internally where all of our SDR team’s outbound calls get recorded and, whenever there’s a prospect connect, I go in there, listen to the call, give feedback, give coaching, and it would be very hard for me to coach up and continuously train my team if I didn’t have that in a remote environment. That’s a big one.
Folwell: It makes sense then. From an AI call recording, do you have any tools or using the Zoom summary?
Dichter: Yeah, I take a hard look at Gong. We’re Zoom Info. We’ve been using Chorus, also gets the job done but we’re going to be evaluating Gong in Q1. There’s a bunch of different ones that are out there. It’s an essential part of our tech stack.
Folwell: The new Zoom summary AI, I don’t know if you’ve seen that.
Dichter: Yeah, Zoom’s already doing some of that. Yeah, the AI companions are already starting to do some of that.
Folwell: It’s been impressive. They gave it to us for free today and I shouldn’t tell them I like it. I don’t want to say it out loud.
Dichter: I still take my own notes and I’ll still be typing in on calls but then I’ll go look and they’re, oftentimes, just as good, if not, better than mine so it’s scary. I don’t know how they connect the dots but they do it. The difference between what Zoom does and the Gong and the Chorus is you can put in competitors, different words, trigger words and they’ll automatically flag them when they happen on calls….
Folwell: Oh, that’s cool.
Dichter: …around it, yeah. The other thing too, we were talking about it before we hopped on today, but the deal rooms, I think, are really cool. There’s a whole bunch of them out there. Vidyard has a built-in deal room, I’m trialing one from a company called Aligned right now and it’s really just a collaboration center. Rather than having a bunch of email threads going with a bunch of different people in a deal process, having one collaborative place where you upload your decks, your call recordings, your proposal, your MSA, your case studies, your business case and can collaborate with champions and other folks that are involved in the deal process.
Folwell: Yeah, I just want to second the deal room. We’re just nerding out on it before this podcast started but I started using a company called Recapped and absolutely obsessed with it. And I think our comment was, “These are going to be standard procedures for deals because it makes it easier to have the mutual action plan and it makes it easier to keep all the content in one spot.” So I’m also on the same page there.
Dichter: The more that we continue to get flooded with emails and that sort of thing and the busier our inboxes get, the more and more those collaboration workspaces make a lot of sense. That’s why we love Slack internally. We can communicate with each other, with our partners, all rapidly, immediately. I think people are a little tired of email and are more willing to work in those collaborative environments.
Folwell: So, we’re going to hop into the speed questions now. What advice was given to you when you entered the staffing industry?
Dichter: So, the same advice that I’d give to any salesperson or recruiter if you’re a new hire which is, “Immediately diagnose and figure out who the top billers are, who the leaders are, who’s at the forefront of the company and spend as much time with them, sit in on their demos.” It happened when I was coming up at Bullhorn, I had some junior folks ask if they could tag along on my demos and those were always the ones that ended up doing well in the end. It doesn’t mean you have to copy those producers verbatim. But figure out what is resonating, what’s successful and then mix it with your own unique style to really own it and get better because learning from the folks who have been at it for a while and are having success is the best way to implement it in your own day to day.
Folwell: Love that. And in the last five years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life?
Dichter: So, regular self-improvement, getting to the gym. Lately, I used to always go to the gym after work but more and more if my schedule will allow for it, I like getting to the gym first thing in the morning. Even if that means 5:30, 6:00. It gives you so much energy throughout the day. Then, after the work day, you can have your time rather than trying to fit a bunch of other stuff in. More and more reading. I’m not a fictional reader but I do like non-fiction biographies, sales books in particular are great. And then more moderation as I’ve hit my mid-30s, I’m not a spring chicken anymore.
I remember, at Bullhorn, we could go out during the work week and then be in the office at 7:30 the next day. I can’t do that now, it takes me too long to recover. So, going out one night a week or two and that’s working out better for me.
Folwell: That’s great and I definitely feel that as well. You just mentioned books there and I know…I think I actually got turned on to Gap Selling because of you and because of a LinkedIn post from you which is really funny. What’s your top sales book?
Dichter: Gap Selling is the best, I think, for a core sales rep to understand the reason people buy. It has a lot in common with a challenger sale. People aren’t going to buy because they like you or you have a great personality. They’re going to buy from you because you’ve diagnosed a problem, helped them understand and quantify what that problem is, and then showed them a solution that is a fraction of what that problem is to solve. And so, I’m a big believer in that. Keenan, who’s the writer of that, one of my favorite follows on LinkedIn, he is very loud but he’s awesome.
And then The Qualified Sales Leader is another good book that I had heard mentioned at Bullhorn. Didn’t really read it then because I was an individual contributor and loving my life as an individual contributor. But then, when I came over to Staffing Engine and knew I was going to have to build out my sales team, I had never managed anyone in my life so I was learning. I still learn every day but I was learning as I go and I picked that book up and it helped a lot with my understanding of how to get through to your team and how to be a lot more of a leader than a manager. People don’t like to be managed, they like to be led. I’ve learned that very quickly in this role.
Folwell: Last question I got for you is what is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? Could be an investment of money, time, energy, et cetera.
Dichter: I’m going to say, just going off, not just beating down the reading because it’s a lot more than that, but investing your time in self-improvement. All the B players I’ve ever seen, whether it’s in sales, recruiting or even outside of that, do the status quo, show up at 9:00, leave at 5:00. And you can make a living that way. But if you want to really stand out and become a leader and be a top producer, you’ve got to find the time to invest in learning about your industry. Listening to content like this, podcasts, whether they’re sales podcasts, staffing podcasts. I’ll give Lauren Jones and Rob Mann a shout-out, You Own the Experience Podcast is another great one in addition to what you do with Staffing Hub.
So, my SDR down at AE, Alex just did a move from San Diego to Chicago and he was driving and he asked what he should do in the drive and I said, “Go listen to sales and recruiting podcasts. It’ll pass the time and you’re still relatively new to the industry. The more that you can hear people talk about the industry and understand the terminology, the vernacular, what’s important to them, the better you’ll be able to provide solutions to their challenges.” So, it’s just finding the time to do stuff and, oftentimes, it’s not during working hours. I’ll listen to podcasts like you at the gym and doing cardio or whatever it might be. So, you just gotta make the time for it.
Folwell: One of the biggest level ups is learning. It’s how else are you going to figure out the best practices if you’re not putting the time in outside of work or during work even. With that, really enjoyed having you on the show, Matt. This is a great conversation, really fun talking about AI. Do you have any closing comments or notes for the audience?
Dichter: The only closing comment I’ll say is that it was a rough or tough 2023 for a lot of agencies as well as a lot of the vendors in this space. But I’m very optimistic of what’s to come in 2024 and, hopefully, staffing agencies that are listening are, too. And I do believe that technology will only continue to get better and that’s an enabler for helping to make things get better from an economic outlook. Dave, I appreciate getting on and chatting with you as always as well.
Folwell: Yeah, it was a great conversation. It was fun. Well, have a good one, good seeing you.
Dichter: Thanks, buddy.