Understanding Lead Velocity is Crucial

What is Lead Velocity Again?

Lead velocity is just a fancy way of saying how long it takes your fleet to take a prospective driver from form submission to orientation.

On average our clients see a 33 day lead velocity. Digging into the data we find that almost without exception the hires for any given month come from leads generated the previous month. With the average lead velocity being right around a month this isn’t particularly surprising, but it does help highlight one fact that many fleets seem to overlook. You need to start recruiting the driver you will need next month…today.

This principle will only become more relevant and crucial as the economy hopefully begins to rebound. In short, you can’t wait for the recovery, you must plan for it and factor your lead velocity into your recruiting efforts.

Quick Tip

It’s not about the drivers you need right now, but the drivers you’ll need this time next month and beyond.

Why is Lead Velocity Important?

First things first, why should you even care about lead velocity? Overall knowing how long it takes you to complete your recruiting process is beneficial and can help you become more efficient, especially when drilling down and looking at individual driver types.

Generally speaking, owner-operator lead velocities are longer than company drivers, which are longer than student drivers. This means if you establish benchmarks and know your fleets’ lead velocity for each driver type you target and recruit, you can get a clearer picture of how effective your recruiting is at a given time.

For instance, if your lead velocity historically averages 35 days for company drivers, but over the last quarter that velocity has increased to 42 days, that is a sure sign that something is off. It’s time to re-examine your recruiting funnel and/or make adjustments to your campaigns where necessary.

Beyond the surface level though there is another aspect that can be extremely important. Fleets need to be aware of exactly what their lead velocity is so that they can more accurately budget and manage their expectations.

As fleets begin to increase their spend to try and fill empty trucks as freight levels rise, it will be vital to take velocity into account. Doubling your spend for July is great and will in all likelihood result in hires…but it is just as likely you won’t see those hires come to fruition until August or even September (depending on when a prospect submitted a form in the month of July).

To help you get a better handle on exactly how this process plays out, Randall-Reilly created LeadMatch. The tool uses easy to read and understand visuals to help you see new trends, campaign performance, and more specific to lead velocity – which months your hires are coming from.

Randall-Reilly LeadMatch data table for February 2020

The Results of Inefficient Driver Recruiting

Knowing and understanding your current lead velocity is vital for your recruiting budgeting and planning; but should you really care about how long this whole process takes? I mean does a slower velocity actually have a negative impact on your recruiting efforts, and if so, how? Let’s take a look.

Lost Profits

The faster you get drivers into your empty trucks, the faster they bring in revenue to your fleet. This also means that the longer it takes a driver to move completely through your recruiting funnel, the more money you lose as trucks sit idle.

Increased Recruiting Costs

The longer your recruiting process lasts, the more time, effort, and money you spend (aka a higher CPH).

Competing Fleets Hire the Drivers You Need

In simplest terms, the longer you take to pull the trigger and get drivers onboarded, the more time you afford competing fleets to steal drivers from underneath you.

How to Improve Recruiting Efficiency and Lead Velocity

The good news is, once you know the areas you are falling short in, you can fix and improve upon them. So, once you’ve decided to really focus in on your lead velocity and have committed to shortening the time it takes to go from form submission to orientation, how can you go about that? Glad you asked! Here are some ways to increase your recruiting efficiency and shorten your lead velocity.

Optimize Lead Value

Avoid undersupplying or overwhelming your recruiters. We’ve found that the optimal number of leads per recruiter per month is 450-600. Any less than that and you’re not taking full advantage of their capability.

Going in the other direction and providing too many leads can overwhelm them. In fact, our study found that providing too many leads actually leads to the lead-to-hire ratio growing (meaning it takes more leads to generate one hire). In either case: under or oversupply of leads can kill your recruiting efficiency.

Focus on Lead Quality

Around 55% of the leads in your ATS are unqualified. This means your recruiters are wasting precious time disqualifying drivers rather than convincing quality drivers to drive for your fleet. Do all you can to eliminate unqualified candidates by utilizing knockout questions in your application process, or taking it a step further with Randall-Reilly Verify.

With Randall-Reilly Verify, your app is pre-populated when a prospective driver scans their CDL from their phone. From there, Verify connects qualified drivers to your recruiting staff with an automated text and phone call system.

Use a Recruiting ATS

Speaking of an ATS, if you’re not using one you should be. A recruiting ATS can help you prioritize, track, and reach the most valuable drivers for your fleet. It can also provide a way for you to monitor any background checks, drug screenings, and verify prior employment. This not only makes things easier but helps to simplify and speed up one of the more frustrating aspects of the whole recruiting process.

Quick Tip

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If you’re looking to get started with an ATS for the first time, or if you’re unsatisfied with your current system you can check out the first-ever phone integrated ATS, Stratas.

Recruiting Moving Forward

Perspective map of years starting at 2020 and ending on 2024
As freight picks up it’s imperative that recruiting efforts precede them. Waiting until the trucks are ready to move could put you behind by a month or more. With the average lead velocity of 33 days, you need at least a month of lead time to meet freight demand and fill your trucks with capable drivers. If you don’t know what your fleet’s lead velocity is, find out! To simplify the process take advantage of something like LeadMatch that does all the hard work for you.

No matter what tools or systems you use it is imperative to understand your velocity so that you can not only improve your recruiting, but more effectively budget, plan, and manage your own internal expectations.