Selling HR Technology: How to Structure Your Team for Success

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When selling HR technology, it’s important to keep in mind that you are bringing in technology that will impact every employee at the company. These decisions matter to everyone in the executive suite, including not just the VP of HR. But also the CFO, CIO, and CEO. If you’re targeting the HR market, it’s important to design a sales team that meets the market’s unique needs.

Here’s how we do it at Namely:

Lead generation through content marketing

When it comes to generating leads at the top of the sales funnel, content marketing is one of the most valuable tools in our arsenal. We focus on content that provides real value to people and establishes us as thought leaders in the HR space. Not everyone who consumes our content has interest in making a purchase immediately – but that’s ok. Our goal is to be at the top of their minds when they are in the market for a solution.

How to do content marketing effectively

Start by determining the characteristics of the audience you want to reach, then produce content that speaks to their needs. At Namely, we’ve made a conscious decision to create content relevant to high-level decision-makers such as the VP of HR, VP of Finance, CFO, and CEO. These executives are focused on important strategic issues like how to keep employees happy and engaged while limiting turnover and minimizing  costs.

Focusing on both tactical and strategic topics is a great way to create relevant content that will keep your audience coming back for more. Whatever approach you take, it’s important to continually put out new content while keeping up with industry trends. A few years ago, an important topic was compliance with the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA). Though now it’s evolved to include other items like self-insurance and overtime regulations.

Whitepapers, webinars, and Q&A

White papers and webinars are some of our most successful content. This type of content really allows us to deliver in-depth analysis on the issues and it’s a great for attract a geographically diverse pool of prospective customers.

We also produce short-form Q&A’s for our website, which are great for providing helpful information on highly specific topics. Although we have a great team of content writers, we also rely on crowdsourced content. Our customers utilize Influitive to talk about issues related to HR and finance. It’s not focused specifically on Namely, but on important issues of industry-wide concern. This really helps build customer engagement as our customers continue to be our strongest advocates.

How Namely structures its sales team

We structure our sales team to meet the needs of HR buyers. Since HR regulations differ from state to state, regional expertise is important to us. We have three geographic divisions: an East Coast division (based in New York City), Central U.S. division (Austin, Texas), and West Coast division (San Francisco). All SDRs and account executives are assigned to a region. And we further divide each team according to size of target company.

Typically, we have around 20 people in sales development. They do both inbound and outbound outreach, which is about a 60/40 split. We have 35 account executives, about a third of which developed their career from within Namely. We love to offer opportunities to outstanding SDRs who really understand what we do. Our client success team and implementation team works with customer accounts after purchases are made.

Additionally, we have seven pre-sales consultants. Our first pre-sales consultant joined Namely two years ago and we’ve continued to expand the team because of the value that they bring.

Pre-sales consultants: the key to making consultative sales

Our pre-sales consultants serve as a resource to prospective customers who have specific questions about the platform and its capabilities. While our account executives identify challenges and help craft solutions, they don’t have as much in-depth HR expertise. By leveraging pre-sales consultants, we’re able to provide prospects with a truly consultative and value-added sales experience.

The consultants understand HR— most have at least five years of HR experience or experience with an HR vendor, with many holding industry certifications such as SPHR and CPP. Not only do they identify prospects’ needs, but they also understand regulatory requirements and how the Namely platform can be customized to meet them. Pre-sales consultants are aligned geographically and work in partnership with many of the same Account Executives. Although they aren’t involved in every call with a prospect, the account executive will bring in the consultant to offer expertise. And help the prospect solve challenges and reach a decision that meets their needs.

Establishing a sales culture

The nature of HR technology sales requires teams to work closely together. For this reason, we put a lot of thought and care into establishing a great workplace culture. Which helps us grow and develop our talent and their careers. At Namely, we make an effort to celebrate every win, including ones that may seem minor. We want our employees to feel valued – because they are!

The benefits of a great office culture

While a lot of sales teams are okay being virtual, we still regularly reap the benefits from sharing an office space. Our team members can make personal connections that are further nurtured through a variety of cultural side events within departments as well as company-wide.

Every January, we have a beginning of year celebration to get everyone pumped for the year ahead. Our regional sales teams organize their own events: In San Francisco we held a wine tasting and attended a Giants game. In Austin, the team had a boating trip. Since many of our team members are big sports fans, we usually make it out to a Yankee or a Mets game every year in New York. These events really help foster a sense of community.

 

Selling HR technology is a team effort that requires talking to numerous stakeholders. By structuring your team the right way, you can improve your odds of success.

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Michael Manne is the VP of Sales at Namely, a cloud-based platform that helps companies manage HR, payroll, benefits, talent management and more.