March 30th, 2022 | Sterling

More than a Vendor. Becoming an Effective Screening Partner

Since clients are at the heart of our business, we sat down with Matt Froman, Client Success Leader of Sterling’s Tech, Media, Entertainment, and Hospitality Vertical, to discuss key industry trends and the impact that a strong screening partner can have on your hiring process. This Q&A will help you answer your questions about key differentiators in Sterling’s relationship and client management strategy, industry trends, and the importance of technology in supporting clients.

Question – Katelyn: Matt, you had just said that you’ve been working in client’s success at Sterling for six years. What is your favorite part about working with clients and managing a client success team, and what is unique about the client success teams at Sterling?

Answer – Matt: We learn something new every single day, whether it’s a new strategy that a client wants to explore, or that we want to explore with them, or about a new initiative, or a new industry challenge that we work together to overcome.

When you first bring a client on board, it’s a critical time. Some organizations set up accounts and then all of a sudden they say, “Here’s your client success team. Good luck.”

That’s not the approach we take at all. We make sure that client success team member who’s going to be partnering with our client is involved as early as possible. Frankly, they might even be involved in the sales process when we’re trying to earn our client’s business.

With companies and clients, partnership isn’t just a one-size-fits-all. My team manages the sub-verticals of tech, media, entertainment and hospitality. Those are vastly different industries, so we need a different treatment strategy for each.

This may sound obvious, but it’s also important for your partner to have the ability to ask and the willingness to ask for feedback, right? And not just ask for it, but to actually do something with it. Research shows consumers feel more favorable if a company asks for feedback and then actually actions this feedback. However, only about half of the B2B organizations researched have actually document issues, shared a plan, and have an innovative way to resolve those issues.

At Sterling, we take client feedback very seriously and we work to action and build out a plan, roll out what we’ve planned with our client, and share how we’re going to accomplish a really successful partnership and client treatment strategy.

Question – Katelyn: Sterling is a vertical and regionalized model. That’s how we go to market. That’s how we support our clients. We learned that one size does not fit all through all of these companies from over time, from gathering their feedback. I’d really love if you could dive into our client treatment strategy and how it helps us be better partners and how it drives success.

How does this verticalized structure of Sterling make client support better?

Answer- Matt: Our verticalized structure allows for specialization so we can build out our teams to work with only tech clients or hospitality, etc. We can then take that knowledge or that challenge that one organization is going through and then either share that with our other clients or ask to see hey, is this something you’re going through as well?

This is especially powerful when we’re trying to build out treatment strategies for our clients. We do this constantly, whether it’s formal benchmarking across each different sub-vertical within our vertical or even looking at best practices. We also work with a lot of global clients and have regional support within our vertical for specific areas.

The verticalized structure gives us the flexibility to operate as a smaller organization within Sterling. We are able to execute on our own initiatives based on industry needs and drive those things forward with our product or operations.

A great example of this would be our support for our hospitality clients. The pandemic has impacted them greatly. As a client support leader, how can we offer products or more efficient processes to them and help them rebound quicker or bring staff on more efficiently.

It’s all about that ability to adapt and support our clients with what they need.

Question – Katelyn: As we said earlier, you sit on the tech, media, entertainment, and hospitality vertical, so I want to talk about specific client success here. So just can you talk a little bit more about your experience working with tech, media, entertainment and hospitality clients, what are the key differentiators here?

Answer- Matt: We’ve already covered some of the verticalization and then how we introduce the client success team during the sales cycle or onboarding cycles, but the overall client treatment strategy is something that is often forgotten. When we’re bringing on new clients we align on expectations and then execute. Once we set these expectations, we can make sure that we deliver the results.

The final piece of that treatment strategy is going to be just around the retention aspect of it. At the end of the day, this is our goal. Clients need to be happy. We want a partnership. We don’t want to just be a vendor and interact once a year or twice a year. To me, that’s not a successful partnership.

We want to have regular business reviews benchmarking. We want to know anything that we can do to support that and provide value to our clients, even offering insights which may be outside of the norm.

Last would be the leadership councils that we have with our thought leadership team. They are absolutely critical in getting our program owners and our leadership connected. These forums aren’t necessarily about Sterling. Clients gather in a forum to talk about how the pandemic is impacting them, what’s going on with this Great Resignation, and what are they doing to combat that in certain of the sub- verticals. It’s a little bit of a “meeting of the minds” where we can allow them to connect and share thoughts. We love to facilitate and be a part of those conversations, but it’s incredible what happens when you get like-minded people in the room who are trying to solve a series of challenges currently impacting their industry.

Question – Katelyn: I want to talk about trends, so specifically a couple of things going on right now with hiring in the workplace. I think we can both agree this is a very interesting time for businesses. We are seeing that many organizations are encountering a hiring shortage, obstacles with the Great Resignation, and there is also a demand for Covid-19 tracking and testing in the workplace. What are some of the the trends that you’re seeing across the tech industry? What is Sterling doing to help clients successfully address these trends, especially with everything going on during this time?

Answer – Matt: Organizations within our vertical are realizing the importance of leveraging technology to support the hiring process and onboarding process. The word “onboarding” can mean several different things, but generally, it’s the first chance for an organization to prove to their candidate that they made a good decision of their next employer.

Our candidate hub allows for candidates to complete the background check process in the smoothest and most efficient way possible. There is also a dynamic mobile experience that they can complete signatures and upload documentation within that process.

As far as our client experience, when they go into the platform we make sure that they’re leveraging and working smarter, not harder. Our enhanced client hub has an enhanced view and dashboard that shows where each applicant stands in the process. These types of features increase visibility and efficiencies.

In addition to our client and candidate experience, we leverage our own Court Direct technology™ . It’s electronically enabled with the majority of county jurisdictions, allowing us to continue to work through courthouse challenges and operate throughout the pandemic.

Some initiatives that we are seeing within the tech industry specifically is an increase in social media screening. As the world evolves, people continue to post everything they do on social media. The reality of the world we live in is that people do over-share. For example there are lots of negative comments that could be flagged to different employers. Through our partnership with Fama, we offer social media screening that will help capture some of these instances and protect organizations. Our social media screening solution helps reduces risk and enhances ethical decision making and compliance by proactively identifying behaviors such as bigotry, sexism, and violence, and recognize practices that align with a company’s culture and values.

Another trend is our Covid-19 tracking and testing solutions. Our entertainment clients are wanting to continue to have fans and people out there. We are going to help support these clients with Covid-19 tracking to make sure their employees and fans are protected. We absolutely can support our clients and put them in a positive position when their seasons come up or their venue needs staffing.

Question – Katelyn: I would love to just get some final thoughts from you.

Answer – Matt: A partnership is more than just answering an email. It’s more than answering a call. It’s being there for our clients and our partners that we work with, our internal partners including the teams that I specifically lead, our overall vertical and Sterling as a great organization. A true partnership is about being able to support clients not just when times are good, but to also make sure we show up whenever there’s issues or challenges that they’re facing within their industry. That’s why our clients are at the very heart of our success.

Matt Froman is the Client Success Leader of the Tech, Media, Hospitality and Entertainment Vertical. He has been working in client success at Sterling for the last 6 years. He currently resides in Fort Collins, CO with his wife and three kids.

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