Selling to HR: Do’s and Don’ts for Vendors & #HRTech

Selling to HR

Vendors. Just the word sends shivers up internal HR professionals’ spines. We think of the sleazy car-salesman stereotype that are trying to pull a fast one just to make money off of you while delivering a not-so-great product. This is how we view vendors selling to HR. I’ve worked as a vendor and had to battle that immediate response every time I talked with a potential client and it, quite frankly sucks. I’m trying to HELP, LET ME. Now that I’m on the other side of things as a recruitment manager, I very much understand the stereotype. More often than not, I am completely annoyed and sometimes offended by vendors. It is REALLY easy to sell things in the right way too. You will develop a better partnership that can lead to many future sales if you simply take a different approach.

HR Sales DON’Ts

  1. DO NOT cold call/email someone and know nothing of their organization. MOST vendors cannot tell me what my organization does nor how many employees there are. Google people!
  2. DO NOT keep me on the phone if I say that I need to get off. Talking to you is a very small part of my job. I have people to manage – I’m ignoring them if I’m listening to you talk about something I don’t need.
  3. DO NOT send me untailored brochures. I do know about some products, but your brochures were created internally. Sometimes, I don’t see the connection between a possible need of mine and your products.
  4. DO NOT set calls to read to me a PowerPoint, PDF or some other collateral that you’ve sent me. I have read it. I want to know how to leverage it. You’re wasting my time otherwise.
  5. DO NOT blow up my email because I can’t get back to you in a week. I know you’re anxious for the sale, but I can’t possibly make an informed decision in a week. It’s also being disrespectful of my time and role.
  6. DO NOT get hostile with me and DO NOT judge me based on my name, appearance or anything else. I get REALLY annoyed when vendors talk down to me, as does anyone. I have an expertise that is not your product, but that does not make me stupid. I also might not appear to be the decision maker, but I definitely am and if you treat me or my team badly at any point or during any communication, we probably aren’t going to go with your organization. You could have the best product in the world, but being less than friendly indicates bad customer service or a bad organizational culture.
  7. DO NOT blow smoke. This goes along with #6, but I can spot BS pretty far away. If you’re not answering my questions or giving me half answers, I know that you don’t know. I don’t know is a fine answer. Take the time to find out and then get back with me. That makes me have more trust in you AND gets you an additional conversation. Also – not everything is configurable, stop telling me that.

HR Sales DOs

  1. DO your homework. Google my organization. Look me up on LinkedIn. Figure out how to position your product to me in a way that I can understand and that will help my organization.
  2. DO ask questions about the past, current and future state of my organization. Help me to understand how your product is a great solution and how we can continue to partner as my organization evolves.
  3. DO help me to identify possible pain points or areas to improve in my process. You can’t do that without asking about my organization. This is about building trust and credibility, which goes a long way.
  4. DO set time with me to discuss my thoughts. I appreciate, instead of blowing me up randomly, setting meetings to talk about the process. I’m more likely to listen and take you seriously.
  5. DO help me to sell your product to my team. If you are selling it to me, help me to understand how it can impact specific things that I have expressed are pain points. Even if I’m the sole decision maker, help me to help my team see how this helps THEM.
  6. DO stay in contact via social media, etc. even if we do not go with your product this time around. You never know what can happen in the future. I’m more likely to reach out to someone who has stayed in contact. Please be respectful though – I’m not looking for dates.
  7. DO KNOW YOUR PRODUCT. Be sure that if you don’t know, to schedule a call with me and those that do DURING the sales process. This helps your organization execute more effectively AND keeps me informed of what your product can and cannot do. It also builds trust and credibility; two key things for a happy client.

The main theme of the DOs and DON’Ts is to care about your potential client and selling to HR. Please try to get to know me and care if you are helping my organization. Don’t LET me spend my budget on something that won’t help my organization. It’s easy to forget, but in the HR space, you are affecting MANY people. You are affecting if they get hired, trained, developed, etc. Those decisions affect lives and well-beings. That should never be taken lightly for the sake of the sale or the act of selling. The vendors that do the above, do this WELL and many client flock to them, my organization included.

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Belinda Smith

Belinda Smith is is the a digital manager at CrossMark in Dallas, TX who is also a professional dancer. She holds a Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology. Connect with her on Twitter @belindak04. Check out her blog, Not Your Typical BS or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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