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HR Decision Makers

(October 01, 2007)

In the past month, I have had a half-dozen conversations with people who are bringing new products to our marketplace. Inevitably, the conversation swings around to the question of reaching the buyer. Each of the six conversations dwelled on the inaccessibility of senior level HR management. Each pooh-poohed the idea of reaching out to trench level recruiters. Each entrepreneur was certain that success lay in the office of the mythical HR Decision Maker.

These were all adults, most of whom had more, rather than less experience in the industry. Yet, their products were individually and collectively doomed to fail because of the way they approach the sales process.

It's the same story each time. A bank of cold callers tries to wedge its way into the decision maker's headspace. Each in turn is surprised that the sales process grinds to a halt right after the "decision maker" delegates it downstream. When pushed to explain why a grass roots sale is inadequate, they each pointed to the horribly dense, six to nine month loop associated with a bottoms up approach.

In other words, these entrepreneurs blame the market for their lack of sales traction. It's a bad place to be when you are introducing a new product. The market is what it is, success is a question of adequate investment, proper logistics and realistic objectives.

Today, 40,000 vendors, all certain that their offerings are strategic, are calling into HR Departments around the world. Job Boards, Background companies, Talent Management services, compensation data, HR Consulting, Search Engine Optimization and a thousand other offerings flood the mail baskets and voice mail baskets of supervisors in Recruiting, Staffing and HR.

We're starting to see Recruiting Technology managers whose job is simply to say no to everyone who calls. Often, one person full time isn't enough.

Our market has changed from the days in which it was a little village that could stand cowboy marketing. Today, it takes persistence and perseverance to make a dent in the challenge of creating a brand.

Why do so many new entrants pick on Monster? Because Monster has a brand and they don't. Targeting Manster in initial branding plays is lazy and ineffective. Everyone who gets the new anti-monster taglines has already noticed that MNST is starting to fade.

So, the next time you see another monster killer or hear a sales exec moaning about the difficulty of reaching decision makers, tell them that if they had something interesting, it wouldn't be so hard.

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