How HR Technology Buying Decisions Are Changing
Historically human resource professionals have been tactical workers responsible for activities like processing employee paperwork, collecting time sheets, processing payroll and enrolling employees in benefits.
But times have changed. Due to business and economic pressures, competition and technological advances, the HR role has evolved dramatically. While they’re still responsible for many administrative functions, HR professionals now have a seat at the executive table. They’re involved in employee development and engagement and other strategic business objectives.
In a world of “do less with more,” HR professionals must ensure the investments they make have a positive impact on the organization. As such, the HR technology buying process is no longer up to one person. Today’s buying process requires input from many people across the organization, and HR professionals are key players.
So who are your HR technology buyers?
Key HR Technology Players
Understanding HR’s evolving role within an organization is important to developing a marketing strategy that resonates with this audience. You need to know who the players are, what they want and what role they play in the buying process. While you should always develop buyer personas specific to your company’s audience, we’ve put together sketches of typical HR buyers:
An HR specialist or assistant, they’re a power user who understands the HR/payroll process as well as challenges that come with their job. The Gatekeeper is often a trusted advisor of the Champion.
Gatekeeper Characteristics: the Gatekeeper has peers at other companies who use similar HR tools and systems; they’ve often worked with other systems at previous jobs, and so they may know HR solution vendors well.
An HR administrator or supervisor, they’re tasked with evaluating new products and services. They’re often overextended and rely on colleagues (like the Gatekeeper) to help them come up with a short list of vendors.
Champion Challenges: the Champion may have a hard time demonstrating the value they bring to the organization. Often, they can’t find relevant content to help them influence change. They may lack time and interest to effect change because of their heavy workload.
Realistically, there will be several Influencers across different departments. They want to know how HR solutions can make work easier and more efficient for them and their team. They are interested in service, support and usability. One or more of these Influencers may have the ear of the decision maker.
Influencer Pain Points: influencers may have a hard time communicating with their peers, and the user experience is an area of concern for them. They also fear compliance issues.
The Decision Maker
A C-Level project sponsor, they’re interested in the ROI associated with an HR technology investment; they also want to see the data that will back up the ROI. They want a long-term investment that pays off.
Decision Maker Concerns: the decision maker cares their investment isn’t a bust. Illustrate where and how an HR solution can have a positive ROI and align with strategic business initiatives.
Depending on the size of the organization, there may be more or fewer players who fall into different roles. The key is to make sure you can identify who has a role in the decision-making process. Remember, who you talk to initially is likely NOT the only person you talk to and rarely the person who has the final say in the decision-making process.
Aligning Your HR Technology Marketing Strategy
As you work through developing your marketing strategy, it’s imperative that you’re reaching the right people within the organization and at the right point in their buying journey. They may not all be in HR and what motivates them may be different from their colleagues. Tailoring your strategy to address the needs and concerns of your audience will put you way ahead of your competition.