The most valuable asset that any company will ever have is its employees. From workplace services to recruitment to new employee orientation to compensation, human resources control a growing piece of the budget. But how do you break-in?

The human resource department has one customer, and that’s the employee.

Some of the most critical questions about the buying process for the human resource are the following;

  1. If employees are the customers of human resource, what does that mean for the selling process?
  2. What technologies are forward-thinking human resource leaders excited about?
  3. How does human resource calculate the value and prove ROI?
  4. What keeps the CHRO up at night?
  5. How can a salesperson get the attention of decision-makers in the human resource department?

Let’s take a look at how you can strategically position your company to successfully sell into human resource and how you can grow your sales today. Keep on reading to learn what keeps human resource leaders up at night, and what they want sales to know?

What’s the Scope of Responsibility for an HR Decision Maker?

The world of Chief human resources officer (CHRO) usually comes in two different types: the nonphysical culture that you experienced in the company, and the physical qualities of a place.

CHROs get involved with the relationships that they have with service providers, vendors, and product provisioning that speaks directly to the overall employee experience. They are focused on building and reinforcing the culture and driving trust in the company.

HR decision-makers are responsible for purchases that affect other areas as well, in addition to the obvious responsibilities of hiring, recruiting, onboarding, and training.

Physical Workplace:

Physical culture is what you see, and what you walk into every day: The type of floor, the paint color, the tables and chairs, the carpet, the desk, the video conferencing material, the type of monitors…

Maintenance and workplace services are the responsibility of an HR leader: Ensuring that the maintenance is on schedule, the facilities are kept up, stained carpet and light bulbs replaced. And at some organization, the real estate team also reports to HR.

Non-Physical Work Environment:

The culture of a company includes things like how goals are set, how feedback is given, and how employees can monitor their own success. What are the protocols and systems for communication inside the company? How is gratitude expressed inside the company?

The CHRO is responsible for these, too, including:

  • Hiring and recruitment
  • Orientation, training, and communication
  • Employee technology and operations
  • Compensation strategy and delivery
  • Employee retention

TIP: Always remember, leaders from the HR department view purchase decisions through the lens of their customers – the employee. Marketing and sales messaging should address the employee experience, and lowing the cost to serve.

Compensation Strategy:

Another responsibility of the HR leader is compensation strategy: How employees are paid, how can they ensure equal and fair compensation, pay schedule, pay structure, medical benefits, and other benefits like 401 (k) contribution- HR leader has a hand in all of it, from choosing the right platform and vendor to ensuring all the employees have easy access.

What that means is that ease of access and data securities are top priorities and possible pain points.

Employees need service when they have an issue or a question. They’re asking a question about their benefits or their 401(k). How do we serve them there?

Data Security: One Major HR pain Point

Among vendor trust, data security, and system reliability, data security is on top of their mind as the human resource department deals in data.

They need to ensure that their technology has uptime that delivers true value. They want to ensure that there’s strong reliability, uptime and that their data is secure. It’s in the cloud and includes things like Individuals’ names, social security numbers, their spouses, their children- where they live…and so they look to vendors they can rely on building a strong partnership with.

Technology Must Support Employee Experience:

The technology experience reinforces the employee experience, and that goes both ways.

If the employees can’t access their data when they log on to their machine in the morning, or they can’t connect with a network or can’t get into their computer, or a service provider is down; it instantly introduces friction into their employee experience. When there’s a difference between what we get and what we expect, that’s where disengagement begins.

And that means disengagement from the company when an employee is disengaging from that product. What is the customer expectation over the employee experience from a technology perspective is really the key, and so being very mindful of what are the true employee expectations.

Simply put, the HR technology that doesn’t support the employee experience detracts from it.

Focus on Usability:

Whether it’s clunky databases or cringe-worthy internal social platforms, we’ve all had employee experiences with awkward enterprise technology that tries and fails miserably to mimic the sleek tech of the consumer world.

The employees want a technology experience that’s quite consistent with their customer experience in their personal life, outside of the company building. If the HR leader put technology in front of the employees when they come into the company, that only slows or befuddles them down, they’re obviously not going to want to use that.

Do you remember the last time you flipped through your mobile phone user guide? That’s a joke obviously- it’s so intuitive, chances are, you didn’t even know there was one. Basically, they don’t want to look through long, boring manuals. The employees want this to be as intuitive as the other technology that they use in their personal life, outside the company building. And that’s one of the top reasons that is going to drive the buying decisions of HR leaders. And that’s also going to drive the value that technology delivers into the company and it’s going to drive the change curve.

So Does the CHRO Look for in a B2B Technology Buy?

The simple, short answer:  HR leaders take a cue from their employees when buying technology.

The first thing HR leaders do when purchasing technology is they understand their customers, the employees of the company- their internal customers; what do they want? How do they want to experience technology in their work-life? They take cues from that, and it varies by company.

If they want to access work at their fingertips, they want everything on their mobile phone- That’s one key buying indicator: I need to really focus on mobile.

Cutting-edge technology? …Not necessarily.

While technology vendors may think that every B2B buyer is gunning for the greatest, latest, and most advanced technology, that’s not the case when selling to the HR department.

Maybe, at the end of the day, when employees leave the office building they don’t want to bothered with work at all. In such a case, HR leaders put their budget toward driving a great laptop or desktop experience, and HR leaders wouldn’t care much about mobile phones.

Some time HR leaders like to think that the key to success is being mobile, modern. However, there are numerous employees and industries that don’t live on their mobile.

The CHRO listens to their customers as with all B2B buyers, in this case, that’s company employees. The HR leaders want to work with those vendors who meet the employees at the exact point of need. And their end goal? An employee experience, that effectively meets with expectations.

Tip: Only after doing some research to see what employees at the prospect company actually experience- and what they want, you can talk about the employee experience in your outreach.

HR Information System (HRS) and Cultural Health Tools:

One technology that many HR leaders are consistently looking at is feedback tools to help employees get and provide feedback in the company. How does peer feedback work, and how does upward feedback work? HR leaders are always looking at technologies that are available to do that.

The HRS is always a critical one. HR leaders are always looking at these platforms and asking: Do we like this technology? How many months or years are left on our contract? Is it still serving the purpose, or are we ready to move onto another technology for that?

Good HR Leaders and Vendors Speak to Corporate Values:

Between 60 to 70 per cent of Millennials, who now account for more than half of the entire workforce around the world, are willing to take a 15% cut in their pay to work for an organization whose values better align with theirs. As employees ask questions to their HR leaders, they are interested in learning more about the organization’s values.

Organizations that are listening to their employees, making manifestos, driving positive change, and value in their communities; are the ones who are going to be the true talent takers in the market. And the ones who ignore that, they’re going to be talent losers in the market.

Marketing and sales professionals should take this on their heart: Research the values of your HR prospect and their organization- and also ensure your messaging clearly speaks to that.

The four Commandments to successfully sell in HR department;

Quality is better than Quantity: When we listen to many marketers discuss buying lead lists, email conversion rates like they are going out of style when it comes to successfully selling into HR, we are an advocate of quality over quantity. HR is a complex and broad industry covering topics like recruitment strategies, employee benefits, and 360 review programs. So stop selling anything and everything to every contact in the HR department as their jobs are not created the same.

HR is more Than Just a Sales Lead: They are actually civilized people. While they do enjoy an occasional drink or maybe two at an HR conference, they love their work. Working in the HR industry is not an easy job, and they are quite tired of being seen as a walking sign for dollar. We occasionally talk to several senior HR leaders at Fortune 10 companies who don’t carry business cards or include their email address or phone number on their card for that reason. Hence, they don’t open your marketing emails, answer the phone or visit your conference booth for more than that ridiculous swag you give away. They’re much more than just a sales lead.

Kiss a Lot of Frogs: Practitioners are a social bunch in this industry and that means not making the conversation about you under any specific terms. While HR leaders are quite slow to trust, they are open to meeting and engaging new people who do the required work. And by required work we mean scheduling calls, going to conference sessions, asking meaningful questions and actually stepping outside of that tiny 10 by 10 conference booth. Get to know them and kiss a lot of frogs to truly understand about HR. Obviously, the conversation will result in a mutually beneficial HR relationship and not a mere sale in the HR.

Offer a Solution Instead of Offering a Sale: Because it’s very easy to build a direct mail piece with the entire purpose of selling instead of actually proving some value to HR. Because talking to HR requires time and effort, knowledge, organizations should work towards solving their problems and their pain points and then lead with a resource or solution to help them in HR. This can be in many forms of online content through blogs, social media, webinars, and white papers or in-person meetings absorbing, learning and adding value to the proud practitioners who work in HR.

Conclusion:

You should understand that for every single phone call you make or email you send to them, there are hundreds or thousands of vendors perpetuating the HR marketing and sales cliché that stops you from guaranteeing your success in selling into HR. To really sell into HR, the key is by taking the required time to truly understand their lives, their work, and their loved ones by immersing yourself into their quirky and sometimes even cynical subculture that they appear to be.
You should understand that for every single phone call you make or email you send to them, there are hundreds or thousands of vendors perpetuating the HR marketing and sales cliché that stops you from guaranteeing your success in selling into HR. To really sell into HR, the key is by taking the required time to truly understand their lives, their work, and their loved ones by immersing yourself into their quirky and sometimes even cynical subculture that they appear to be.


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