The following is a guest contributed post by William Wickey, Marketing Manager for LeadGenius.
HR professionals get mobbed by salespeople like zombies swarm the living in B-movie horror flicks. Our HR Manager counted 87 marketing and sales emails last week.
Type “Human Resources” into LinkedIn and you’ll get somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,719,282 results. Hit refresh and the number might tick up one or two. It’s a large market.
Companies around the world are increasing their investment in HR infrastructure. HRmarketer.com estimates the value of the Human Resources marketplace to be over $1 trillion dollars annually. Inevitably, HR professionals get a heavy dose of sales and marketing messaging on a day-to-day basis. Most of it ends up in the proverbial (or literal) trash can. Money wasted.
Human Resource professionals influence more purchasing decisions than any other department. They are the gatekeepers to upper management. They weigh in on organization-wide initiatives, and affect a wide array of corporate decisions.
However, human resource professionals are rarely your primary decision maker. Their budgets are tight and frequently fixed annually.
Avoid These Common Mistakes
Most of the time, marketers and sales people have no clue what it is that HR does every single day. This is, in part, because Human Resources is a workforce of specialists.
Responsibilities range from,
- Employee benefits
- Health and wellness
- Background screening
- Team management
- Employment law
- Labor or union relations
- HR information systems
- Crisis communications
- Community relations
- Workplace safety
Most sales and marketing teams make the same two mistakes with HR lead generation:
- Neglecting to communicate with the larger sphere of influence within a company
- Targeting specialists with generic messaging
Effectively selling into HR requires clear organizational visibility for targeting decision making panels (not just individuals) and audience segmentation for more relevant messaging.
Focus On The Many
An account based marketing strategy is similar to what is traditionally called enterprise sales. The primary difference is that an account based strategy can be used to target a company of any size. Instead of messaging only to decision makers within a company, sales and marketing work together to simultaneously target multiple decision makers, with different roles and responsibilities. The concept involves leveraging dynamics of group psychology to close an account.
Account based tactics can be effective for lead generation in any industry, but for HR, it’s an imperative.
B2B purchases always close faster with organizational buy-in. Even with SMBs, there will be, at a minimum, an HR professional who will use the product or service, a decision maker who will sign on the dotted line, and others who will be impacted by this decision.
Whether HR professionals are inbounding through your website, or you’re building an outbound campaign to target via email, sales reps need to identify two things when building or enriching lists of prospective HR customers.
- Where this individual falls within their organization’s hierarchy
- Contact information and job titles for additional decision makers at the company
When generating lists of companies that fit your ideal customer profile, these additional data points should always be baked into the lead generation process.
Using the free Synoptic View Salesforce app, sales reps can visually identify the dark spots in an account’s organizational structure at any time. The same visualization can be achieved with most other CRMs.
A complimentary outreach approach that targets additional decision makers at the company might go something like this. First, a quick round of light social touches such as Linkedin profile views or Twitter likes. These can be executed manually by your reps or automated. Next, a 4-8 touch outreach email sequence using a service like Yesware or Outreach.io. Your goal is to get a positive response to a simple question, not make a hard sell.
Do you experience this industry-specific pain point?
Do you use X technology?
Are you tasked with with such-and-such goal?
These emails should be short — less than 50 words each.
Once you have templates written for each of your buyer personas, you don’t have to write one-off variations for each new campaign. Simply personalize with name, company, industry, and other merge fields. The messaging is up to you.
In addition to your one HR-specific lead, you now have other contacts that are actively being developed on the same account. Some will respond to your email. Some will visit your website and be served retargeting ads. Others might inbound separately now that your product or service is top-of-mind.
This type of organizational awareness allows you to speed up your lead to close, empower HR professional to discuss your company with others, and address internal objections before they ever come into contact with one of your sales reps. By the time someone at the company requests a demo, there will be a panel of people at the company, who are at the very least, aware (and hopefully somewhat knowledgeable and interested) about what you offer. When they go into their next meeting, your company’s name is on the tip of everyone’s tongue.