If you choose to click through and read this, you have experienced a large uptick in the volume and aggressiveness level of pitches from HR vendors. I could say more to introduce this post, but the best path is just to allow a CHRO friend of mine tell you how he feels.
"Dan" is a CHRO for a large employer in the US with thousands and thousands of employees. He's a good and talented guy is not moved to overreaction. He sent me and a few other friends this note last Friday to say WTF related to what he's experiencing related to outreach from HR vendors... I changed the names to protect the source and the vendor, see his note and enjoy:
Fellow “Really Cool” HR Friends,
Well, you may object to my sneaky inclusion of myself amongst the hipsters, but I digress . . .
So, my Friday RANT which has been building for years . . . the NUMBER OF ACTUAL SALES (or even sales visits) TO ME THAT HAVE RESULTED FROM INITIAL “MARKETING” like you see below? Free craft beer if you guess correctly . . .
Who are these people? I guess they’re at least getting a sniff or two from maybe a .001% population who just cannot say no to a “live” sales call when they read the Oh-So-Compelling email. But it still bewilders (read: angers) me that the most likely millennial group of sales types have deluded themselves into thinking that with a carpet bomber email blast – from an email list that the “receiver” DID NOT approve – will endear them to the prospect.
Besides, I know who’s behind the “keyboard” on sales emails like John from Schwing below, which now forces me to hit the delete button nigh on 25 times a day, or if I’m feeling Catholic guilt, spend 30 seconds (it adds up) replying “no thanks” politely. It’s a lovable millennial, who hit send on the mass marketing email from his smartphone while he’s on break at the violent Berkeley protests against free speech (if said speech happens to be lean right).
I have a new personal rule . . . if you prospect me with inane “first approaches” like the below email (and his Co, Schwing, I’m sure is just swell), I will permanently black list you from ever being granted a live audience with me or my team.
Harsh? No. Short-sighted? Probably, but the B.S. marketing has gone too far. You want bi’ness? Hold a happy hour in our fair city, and pony up to our SHRM chapter for access. Let us confirm that you’re not a Watson computer “marketing” to us. That you actually drink beer or wine.
And the folks who sell the contact lists should be publicaly hanged in the the park here on our campus so that there’s a good view until the bodies decompose.
Oh, by the way, HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND! And get off of my lawn.
That's an epic rant. And correct. His frustration is felt by most of you, who note an uptick in the number of emails, but also in the number and brazenness of the follow ups. My favorite follow ups to the cited initial emails and calls include:
- Did you get my note?
- Did I make you mad?
- Please choose one of the following related to why you haven't responded (always includes a playful or fun answer. Schwing!)
- PHONE Only - "This is John, I'm calling you back on the message you left me. Call me back at XXX.XXX.XXXX".
What I love about America is this - anyone can start their own company. That includes the HR Space.
What I hate about America is this - anyone can start their own company. That includes the HR Space.
Honk if you feel Dan's pain. HR vendors, take note. If you're part of the problem, it's probably time to pivot on your approach.
BONUS - including one of my 100 Best All Time Movie Clips for HR - pitch scene from Boiler Room included below (email subscribers click through for the video):