Independent payroll service bureaus, it’s time to put on your game face. Your competition isn’t getting any weaker these days, and technology innovation and adoption is moving at a breakneck pace. So, what do you do…sit down and relentlessly review game tapes to study your competitors’ every play? Well, not exactly, but it is critical to understand your competitors’ potential appeal to your existing clients and potential prospects.
In this blog, we’ll take a quick look at how large national payroll providers might try to remedy your clients’ payroll–and general human resources–pain. Then, we’ll examine how each pain point can be turned into an opportunity for your business to compete on a level playing field with the big providers when it comes to serving the needs of your small- and medium-sized prospects and customers.
Don’t Let Prospect Pain Lead to Competitor Gain
Take a closer look at what large national payroll software providers will typically bring to the table in order to win over the organizations in your market.
A fully loaded software platform with a variety of HR service-related add-ons beyond basic payroll.
- Administrative burden is alleviated.
- Single sign-on is provided.
- “Free” applicant tracking module is available to streamline the process of posting new jobs.
- “Baked-in” new hire paperwork automation exists to make employment paperwork paperless.
- You’re outmatched when it comes to ancillary HR service software features.
- Your potential clients are seduced by flashy bells and whistles touted by the national providers.
- Your prospects are led to believe that only a big provider is going to meet their needs.
- The national providers aggressively push technology, though you want to keep service as the emphasis for your conversation with prospects.
Opportunities for a Good Offense
In this section, we’ll examine each of your pain points as they relate to your prospects being recruited to use national provider solutions instead of your services. In doing so, opportunities for you to score more points in your market space will be presented, as well.
1 – You’re Outmatched Technologically
When faced with the prospect of playing basketball against a squad of seven footers, and you’re only 5’8”, it’s time to run some innovative plays–or, find some sturdy stilts. The challenge is no different when you’re competing against mega payroll software providers that have a one-stop shop software platform to meet every human resource need of your small- and medium-sized business clients.
Your Play: You can make your product offering look “big” as well by partnering with an HR software provider that specializes in systems that fall outside of your core product or service. Not only will your payroll function remain strong as you continue to make it your primary focus, you’ll give yourself additional reach with clients by incorporating options for recruiting, employee onboarding, reference checking, background checking and/or other HR-related tools.
2 – Their Flashy Bells and Whistles are Seductive
The big providers’ long list of customers, features and their share of the market can be impressive accomplishments in the eyes of your prospects. However, upon closer inspection sometimes the sizzle is just a smokescreen for a lack of substance. Specifically, while the big providers give users access to a suite of HR tools in addition to payroll processing, when individually examined these tools may be regarded as afterthought ancillary systems that get added onto the provider’s original payroll code.
Your Play: By forming a strong relationship with a best-in-class HR software provider, your business can match the feature offerings of national providers to get a foot in the door and generate initial interest. However, the especially important benefit of a strong partnership is that your business will have a better track record of customer retention, as it will be providing robust systems with a proven record of continuous development and innovation.
3 – They Throw Their Weight Around
Flashback to fifth grade P.E. class, and I bet your memories include witnessing the biggest, strongest kid always being picked first to be captain of the dodgeball team. The choice was natural as the kid was obviously athletic and a seasoned competitor. Your prospects and clients are thinking the same thing…they want the biggest- and strongest-looking payroll provider to take care of their needs. They want to be in capable hands.
Your Play: When everyone wants to be on the big kid’s team, it’s going to be hard for the captain to customize his coaching to each individual teammate. So, in the interest of efficiency he may adopt a one-size fits all approach. Your prospects may face the same cookie-cutter mentality once they partner with a large payroll provider.
Therefore, consider reinforcing your own coaching excellence with a partner that rounds out your perceived weaknesses as they compare to your larger competitors. In doing so, give your clients a scalable system that can be customized to their payroll needs and current size, and that also includes integrations to the additional recruiting, onboarding and reference checking tools they desire for improved HR efficiency. Better yet, assure them that these additional modules are provided by a partner that is constantly improving its own core offerings while you focus on your bread and butter – payroll. Everyone wins.
4 – They Lead With Tech; You Focus on Service
Think of your competitors as the flashy, private school team with the latest style of uniform and top-of-the-line sporting equipment. They step on the field and you instantly fight off hearing “We will, we will, rock you” in your head. If your business doesn’t pick up a teammate with the right equipment to compete, then your new internal soundtrack will be “I’m a loser baby” as your customers walk out the door…before they even get a chance to be raving fans of your service. They won’t even know what they missed, because you won’t even get an at bat.
Your Play: Add some dazzle to your own pre-game warm-up routine by bringing a solid recruiting and onboarding software partner to the table to assure your prospects that you can fill the same kinds of HR service technology gaps as your competitors. Only then, will you get the opportunity to elevate the conversation to focus on service comparisons where you can further differentiate your firm.
The level of service your competitors offer doesn’t even rival the stellar support that you extend to your customers, right? By allowing your trusted partner to focus on tech development outside of your payroll offerings, you still have time to make servicing your clients a priority. Additionally, with the right teammate, you determine which is your better play: being first tier support on your partner’s products or introducing your clients to your partner’s close-knit team of U.S.-based support specialists that are used to working with small- and medium-sized (SMB) clients.
Game Time Decision
Your customers don’t want to experience employee turnover as a result of missing out on the latest, most engaging HR technology. And you don’t want turnover in your client base, either. Find a trusted partner that helps you provide best-in-class HR service add-on software to delight your customers. Check out ExactHire’s guide to choosing a partner below.