What can an HR person find out during a (good) sales event?

PipelineSummitphoto credit: picmaster

This post will be a little different. In May 2016 I spent a day at the Pipeline Summit, a sales conference. Not by chance but by choice. What can make someone working in HR consider a conference aimed at sales valuable? There are at least a few reasons.

1. Great speakers

Representatives of truly innovative companies, often successful due to their unique approach to employees (Netguru), providers of HR services (LinkedIn and Stack Overflow – I’m sure you know why Stack qualifies for HR services ;)) and companies offering innovative tools to support the development of businesses (Livechat and UXPin).

2. Participants who crave knowledge

Numerous people working in startups and technology companies at later stages of their professional development but still very open to new ideas and to testing different approaches and implementation of new tools.

3. Unique approach

Very specific, analytical approach of the speakers to the discussed problems, strong attachment to numbers that best verify the quality of the undertaken actions and … readiness to challenge the “status quo”. An approach that’s very close to my heart. Moreover, no so-called inspirational lectures that don’t provide any specifics. And could there be something more “inspiring” than sharing specific experiences and tips that can be implemented “straight away” and which were discussed in most of the presentations?

Below you’ll find some of the most interesting observations from the presentations that took place during the Pipeline Summit.

Bram Kanstein, Off the record/Startup Stash – you can sell your product directly or… provide people with something of value first.

Sure, we can be creating campaigns telling candidates “Apply to our company, it’s worth it, we’re the best”. Alternatively, we can create an interesting place that they’ll want to come to on their own. You can achieve this by having the programmers from your company run a blog; or through series of meetings with students at universities about, e.g. best practices in the field of product development.

How to do this?

1) determine your company’s strong points,
2) define your target audience,
3) select the channels of communication with the group,
4) determine what can be engaging for this group,
5) define your strategy and the goals you wish to achieve

Chris Sallen, UXPin – development (of sales) based on organizational culture and values

An example of a presentation stating that it’s impossible to achieve extraordinary goals in companies if we ignore the fact that we work with people who believe in certain values and that, by rewarding certain behaviours while eliminating others in the everyday functioning of the company, we are building the organizational culture of the company. A few tips and rules worth implementing.

1) Responsibility for results above all
2) Authentic communication with employees
3) Resolving conflict constructively
4) Turning agreement into action

Piotr Mroziński, LinkedIn – master the art of social selling

A very nice presentation for those who believe that services like LinkedIn or Goldenline.pl can be a powerful tool useful in business. A presentation about the fact that the trick is not to have a large network of friends but instead it’s worth to build and cultivate a network of valuable relationships. Where to start?

1) Revamp your profile – it shouldn’t be a CV but a description of what you’re good at and what you can help your potential partners (and candidates!) with. The building of your personal brand starts here
2) Clean your network – delete all the contacts of no value – people whom you’ve never met, won’t meet, don’t remember how they came to be a part of your network and you don’t have any bonds with them
3) Publish and share valuable content – it can be in the form of your own posts or links to materials that your network of friends will deem valuable

Syed Asad, Livechat – work on your (sales) funnel and increase conversion

Perhaps the most sales-focused presentation of them all, full of specifics and yet so easily applicable to HR activities. The concept of the funnel has been present in sales for years. It is assumed that the sales process consists of several steps (from the initial contact to the final sale) where the successive stages include fewer and fewer customers. Working on conversion (the percentage of customers who pass to the next stage) on each of the stages can maximize the number of successes at the end of the process. We can view the recruitment process exactly the same way. Tips to be implemented?

1) Do not measure success only at the end (e.g. by the number of the received CVs or the number of new employees) – by doing so you lose sight of the process and you may not catch the bottlenecks which you should improve. Measure your success at every stage of the process.
2) Do not give up too quickly on those who say “I’m not interested” – instead try to address the candidate’s objections. In other words, find out what made them not want to apply to your company, resign from the process before it’s ended or not accept the job.
3) Use follow-up consistently and quickly – be in touch with the candidates, inform them about the process and check how they’re doing. Maintain contact.

I admit, I went to the Pipeline Summit to hone my sales skills 😉 In addition, I obtained a huge dose of knowledge useful in HR. Will the next edition Pipeline Summit, in the autumn in Warsaw, bring similar effects?


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