Sales and marketing techniques are applicable to HR functions like recruiting and retention. Applying existing knowledge in your team HR unlocks additional value with no additional cost.
HR trains your sales and marketing teams, and likely the rest of the company. The training is pretty routine, covering topics like onboarding, harassment, corporate policies, etc. Seemingly mundane topics, albeit important ones. But for all the times HR has trained sales and marketing, have sales and marketing ever trained HR?
What?!?! Why would they do that?
Your company doesn’t just sell its product and services to your customers. It also sells jobs to workers. You need to find new customers (new hires) and keep your existing customers happy (employee retention). Sales and marketing have been developing tools for finding and retaining customers for decades, and yet this wisdom is rarely shared with their colleagues in HR down the hall. (Side note: some would say that you are also selling stock, and/or debt, to your investors, who are a different type of customer.)
The sales team trains its people on how to sell the product to a prospective candidate, but do you train your hiring team on how to sell the job to a prospective employee?
Start with the job description. Most are boring at best, and many unhelpful beyond the job title and company name. Use your marketing team to market the job. Make a pitch to sell the position just as you would pitch your product in marketing collateral.
The interview process is supposed to be a two-way street, but many companies forget that. As part of the hiring team, you should not only be evaluating candidates but selling them on the company as well. The sales team trains its people on how to sell the product to a prospective candidate, but do you train your hiring team on how to sell the job to a prospective employee?
Next up is customer success. Once you have a new client signed, customer success is responsible for setting them up for success. HR typically does the technical part of this. They make sure forms are filled out, go over the company handbook, and tell IT to set up access. Snooze. Ask your customer success team if they simply make sure the customer can log in, and then rotely review the documentation with them and finish with signed forms. Customer success is about helping your customers to not only start to use your product, but to succeed with it. There are checkpoints, wins, and emotional connections to make sure the customer starts happy and stays happy, getting the most out of the product. HR typically does little more than making sure the paperwork is right.
Finally, we have customer retention. This is mixed; some large HR departments are sometimes more sophisticated than corporate sales teams on how to retain customers. HR often has feedback channels, both individually and anonymously across the organization, to see how employees are feeling, and actively tries to retain them. Some companies very proactively retain customers, others do not. No matter where your company is on the spectrum though, chances are at least one of your customer retention team and your employee retention team, if not both, can benefit from knowledge used by the other team.
Within your organization you have a myriad of capabilities; employing them across departments can unlock additional success. You already likely have IT involved if some department is being a major software purchase; IT may not use or support the system, but they will know how best to kick the tires and help you think through it. Likewise, sales and marketing have capabilities that can be deployed to HR and beyond to help the company sell more than just its product to customers. Unlock this capability with your teams today by having sales and marketing start training HR.
It’s critical to learn about corporate culture before you accept a job offer but it can be awkward to raise such questions. Learn what to ask and how to ask it to avoid landing yourself in a bad situation.