A guide to intelligence driven prospecting
December 18, 2013
FORT KNOX, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2013) -- Intelligence is indispensible for recruiters of the 3rd Recruiting Brigade, Army Recruiting Command (USAREC). We have all heard that intelligence drives maneuvers and operations. It is no different in recruiting when intelligence pertains to directed prospecting.
In the 3rd brigade we, the Marauders, use an operational mindset and treat every recruiting center like a forward operations base (FOB). In the operational Army, a Soldier would never engage the enemy or a target without having the proper intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) and target information prior to departing the FOB; so why should our recruiters be any different?
Yes, we are a little unique and geographic dispersion presents its own challenges, but we should attempt to allow intelligence to drive our prospecting efforts to promote an operational mindset.
There are different roles for recruiters under Small Unit Recruiting (SUR) titled Engagement Team (ET), Recruiting Support Team (RST), Future Soldier Leader (FSL), Center Commander (CC), and Assistant Center Commander (ACC). This article focuses on the ACC and RST.
In USAREC, if a recruiter doesn't know where to find an applicant, where a prospect lives or hangs out, or what organizations they associate themselves with, he or she ends up wasting large amounts of time producing limited results. This is where the ACC, RST and ET play a role. They are the intelligence arm of the recruiting centers and companies.
The ACC is the center of gravity in a recruiting center which controls the RST and ensures proper intelligence and target guidance is sent to the CC, FSL and ET members to identify and locate the target. The ACC sets conditions for intelligence driven prospecting. This is no different than the operational force where the S2 uses all five functions of the intelligence process to plan, prepare, collect, process and produce intelligence to help commanders maintain, initiative and exploit success. The way we organize for combat and pass relevant information should be the same in Recruiting Command. (see USAREC manuals 3-01 and 3-06)
The ACC, by design, becomes the center OPS NCOIC controlling all operations inside the center focusing the RST on intelligence production and processing. The ACC has to visualize mission accomplishment through clear understanding and analysis of the operational environment, the market, and available resources. The ACC should execute the vision of the CC through mission type orders, presenting clear tasks and purpose. The ACC should think though the 5Ws when assigning prospect-engagement tasks to the recruiters:
• Who is the prospect? What intelligence do we know about the prospect (IPB)?
• When is the prospect available to be engaged by the recruiter (date, time, location)?
• Where is the prospect; in a high school, college, or at work?
• Why is the recruiter engaging this prospect? Has he or she has been talked to previously about the options and opportunities the Army offers.
The ACC must ensure prospects are on the e-planners listed by name with a clear task and purpose. The ACC will validate the definitive results through documentation on the AAR section of the E-plan upon the return of the ET, FSL, and CC at the end of each day.
Each NCO should be required to report to the ACC to document who they spoke to at a high school, college, veterans, TPU, etc., based on the assigned prospects for the day, and then held accountable for the results placed in the AAR comments on the system.
Each hour of prospecting should result in a specific number of contacts and appointments documented in the system and verified by the ACC or RST at the end of each duty day.
The RST's role is to process applicants after handoff has occurred from the CC, ET, or FSL. Similar to the roles of an S2 in any maneuver unit using IPB, the RST considers market intelligence, prospecting analysis, and creates a high payoff target list (HPTL) for the CC, ET, and FSL. This HPTL is created from the automated processing list (APL), Student Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (SASVAB) test list, tested not enlisted (TNE) list, or the National Advertising (ADHQ) leads when formulating prospecting plans for the ET, CC, and FSL.
Prospecting is the key to recruiting success and must be thoughtfully planned through intelligence preparation of the environment. Remember RST members are prospectors first.
RST members set conditions and prospect through the telephone, follow up using the automated processing list, or through review of the SASVAB daily. The RST with the approval of the ACC plans and implements telephone prospecting efforts identifying specific targets and market segments listing targets by name and adding those names to the recruiter's E-plans.
The key is focusing on individuals who are already propensed versus using cold calls off of a high school automated lead refinement list (ALRL) primarily because recruiters experience difficulty with proper applicant follow-up, and becaue the youth of today communicate differently. We have to be cognizant of the fact that young people between the ages of 17-25 do not answer their phones -- texting is the preferred method.
Additionally, most of the telephone numbers we see on an ALRL have the home phone or a parent's cell phone number and not the prospect's. Under SUR, the CC, ET, and the FSL are deployed forward face to face prospecting, while the RST sets conditions calling individuals who have already expressed an interest in the Army. The RST sends the intelligence to the CC, ET, and the FSL as intelligence is gathered to facilitate intelligence driven prospecting.
It is a known fact that RST telephone prospecting is flexible and does allow team members to switch from one market to another setting conditions for the CC, ET, or FSL while they are out prospecting. This is good strategy for simultaneous market penetration and sustains focus on prospecting of propensed individuals and markets.
Proper, deliberate execution of the automated processing list, and promotion of SASVAB face to face follow-up are extremely important when it pertains to a RST member's role in assisting the CC, ET, or FSL. The RST uses these two tools to set conditions/intelligence for the group to target key prospects by name. Once again, intelligence drives prospecting.
Just as Soldiers in a combat environment have to change, adapt and become more innovative, we must do the same in Recruiting Command.
A key challenge of the counterinsurgency fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan are reflected in Sun Tzu's adage that the enemy "Swims in the sea of the people." I would offer that our prospects swim in the sea of high schools, colleges, and the communities at large.
Intel professionals, like our RSTs and ACCs, must constantly sift through the population's behavior patterns, to include the social network, to identify the high payoff targets, predict what they're going to do, help the CC, FSL, and ET members locate and identify the target, resulting in the best qualified young men and women joining our Army Profession.