Two things have been consistent in my work career, particularly over the last 10 years. First, vendors love….they LOVE… low hanging fruit….especially if it’s fresh fruit (like new to the company fresh). I think they think “easy sell”. Just because someone’s new to the company, doesn’t mean they’re new to an industry.
Second, Q4 is the time for renewals. Whatever you want to renew….systems….software…memberships. And the vendors are coming with the full court press.
I did my professional membership renewal early (because I got a sweet swag bag….yes I’m joking….got the bag, but really??) Now I’m the new kid on the block crafting our strategic recruiting spend for next year at my employer, and looking at all the vendor/system options we have to really rev up our recruiting.
Fun times, yes? Well actually, it is. I like digging into the reports, the stats, and seeing the performance of our various vendors. I’m a big believer in making our paid resources pay for themselves, justification for the spend if you will. And I normally have a cost per hire target in my mind….what I’m willing to spend on resources to get the fill. While I’m the new kind on the block, this fruit is not that fresh, I’ve done this contract renewal thing a time or two. I’m older, more jaded, and dare I say…..looking for vendors to show me results.
Keeping all of that in mind, I have a few tips for vendors as we head into the next 6 weeks, because I know you want these deals closed in December, or as early as possible. And I’m not the only recruiting manager thinking these things.
First – I know my numbers. I know you’re going to bring me numbers from your perspective, and I’ll respect them….consider them. But ultimately the only numbers that matter are mine, pulled from the Company system of record. That’s it. I’ll defer to those for decision making. You can argue with me or, you can ask about my numbers and pull together a strategy to make your resource invaluable. We can chat about discrepancies, but let’s not get lost in the minutiae.
Second – Performance is everything. I’m going to compare my free resources to my fee based. I have an outstanding free resource that has generated twice as many hires as my most expensive paid resource. And I can guarantee you, that paid resource is coming back looking for more spend. Why am I going to do that? Show me how investing with that paid resource is going to be a good thing, because right now I’m thinking I’m flushing money away.
Third – Know your audience. Yesterday I had a vendor ask me to tell them about myself. Like we’re on a job interview. I get the sales cycle and it’s all about building rapport but let’s not waste time. But I’ve got a pretty distinct name and have a few profiles out there that can easily be retrieved on Google. It might help your sell if you know more about me.
Fourth – Figure out what I need. Where’s my weakness? And show me the quantifiable, not the imaginable. I want to see promises from you that my candidate response will pick up by xx% if I do xx strategy.
The best offense is a good defense. Vendors….know your customers…present, past and future. Know the business they’re in and their customer experience. And then, tell them how it will be better this year, with data. Cherry on top? Discounts. Discounts always prevail.
To everyone else out there in the renewal cycle, wishing you well and looking forward to your advice on managing the process.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.