In his most recent book, “To Sell is Human,” author Dan Pink articulates that in our current world, the balance of power in information is no longer in favor of the seller. The buyer now has equal access to information, which means when it comes to transactions between buyer and seller, salespeople can no longer take advantage of ‘information asymmetry’ to make a sale. As Pink argues, salespeople now need to influence, move, educate and add value.
Does this argument hold true in the world of HR technology? I’m not so sure.
Ask yourself this question: “If you are an HR executive and you are interested in implementing a new HR software product, could you go to Google, your network or trusted advisors and comfortably obtain information that would allow you to clearly identify the best product for your organization?” Maybe you could, but my gut tells me you will not.
Buyer, Beware: Avoid These Top 3 HR Technology Sales Tactics
1. Semantics, Shamantics: The first theory is what I would call “semantics shamantics”. It seems that people today love coming up with new terminology for things. We have swung to the far end of the pendulum regarding coining new terms, which I believe has created more confusion within the minds of technology buyers. Case in point. Is it employer brand, employment brand, talent brand, company brand, corporate brand, employee brand or whatever else you can come up with? I would argue they’re all the same thing.
2. Functionality Overload: One might argue that we are starting to, or already have saturation within the space in certain areas (e.g. social recruiting platforms). Each software claims to be different than the other, and each claim to offer functions that are unique. Fine, I get it, but are these differentiated functions really game changers to what matters most; solving core HR and Recruitment challenges? You decide.
3. Creating An Imaginary Need: I am not going to name names, but the idea is that software and systems attempt to create a market demand when one does not really exist. These platforms claim to solve core problem, but perhaps how their solutions go about doing it does not actually do what they promise. Case in point: Is the ability of your employee population to quickly and easily share jobs via their respective social networks really a game changer in the battle to attracting top talent? I am not convinced that it is. Could these platforms simply be playing on the still-present cool factor of social recruiting to create market demand Perhaps.
From my change management background, I know full well that finding the right technology solution is a very difficult thing to do. I get it. However, if you focus on finding a solution that passes the 3 theory tests articulated above—leave the semantics out of the equation, dials down the truly useless add-on functionalities and does not attempt to create an imaginary business need, I think you’ll be okay.
About the Author: Jeff Waldman is the founder of Stratify, a leading social HR consulting firm focused on working with organizations to leverage the power and influence of social media within human resources. In January 2012, Jeff founded SocialHRCamp, the first-ever global HR unconference.