Organizations are planning their 2023 HR technology budgets. As we discussed in the Lume last month, big, one-time technology investments are no longer top priority, but that doesn’t mean they’re spending less. They’re spending differently – and optimization trumps big buys.
In fast-changing markets and labor economies, organizations struggle to know where to invest, what they need their systems to do, or how to optimize their current tech stack. Help them build impactful, smart budgets by adjusting your approach. Oh, AND fill your pipeline for 2023 while doing so.
1. (REALLY) KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
It starts with truly understanding what your customers are going through. This may sound basic, but we have to get back to the basics to make headway right now. You need to really understand the business issues they’re facing.
Each customer will have their own unique challenges and needs, but some struggles are universal. There’s a lot being thrown at us, and so much of it is unpredictable. From creating hybrid ways of working to optimizing their spend on people, organizations are taking a deeper look at their “must haves” versus “nice to haves” to determine what’s truly necessary in this new economy. Navigating digital transformation in this way requires a skillset most organizations don’t have.
- Core HR shifts
A lot of customers are resetting, and what used to be core HR is not core anymore. Vendors must take the time to understand why clients aren’t doing things the way they did before and communicate how your tool can help solve problems with “X, Y, Z.” It’s easy to get tied to product, feature and function, but that’s a different, outdated model. It doesn’t serve you and it doesn’t serve your clients, at least not anymore.
- Layoff to layover
In a time when layoffs would typically be a quick solution, employers are starting to adopt the mantra “making your people count” vs. counting your people. They need to understand the skills and rarities of their people, and they need help getting there. Instead of getting rid of someone, move them to another role or department where their skills would be a better fit. Your software should help them focus on the supply and demand of talent instead of just doing a slash. It’s 2022. We shouldn’t do layoffs the same way we did in 2008 and 1994.
2. CHANGE YOUR POSITIONING
Ok, now that we know organizations today have different needs than they did in January, it’s time to change up your pitch, or ditch the pitch altogether. Vendor positioning HAS to be different than it was in the beginning of 2022. If you don’t change it, you’ll come across as tone deaf. We’re in a “recessionary mood,” and organizations are truly looking to solve their business problems instead of just adding software. The “time to upgrade/update software” message doesn’t fly in a recessionary mood. What flies is “how does our software solve business issues in the business world?” The way you present your technology has to help solve those problems. A piece of tech isn’t going to make or break whether they buy from you or not. The way the tech helps them is going to make the sale.
So what do you say? The messaging sweet spot is a combination of recessionary mood, post-pandemic, and empathy, combined with a sharper look at talent, skills, and people rarities. Position your solution so it’s not just a piece of software but a timely and rather burning solution. Show the impact your solution has, the outcome it produces, its true ROI. It’s about telling a story that resonates by recognizing an organization’s pain points and providing a meaningful solution. What’s going on in the business world is emotional, and our message should reflect that. It’s as simple as that.
And software vendors, please don’t forget to take care of your customers. It’s easy to push software when problems are big and investment is high, but it’s always the right recommendation to build something if that’s the better solution. For example, if an organization already has a platform, why would they buy a software solution to do something they could build as a workflow? One reason this option is so attractive now is that “build” efforts and spend is easier to capitalize and depreciate than “buy/OpEx.” This might give you an edge in portfolio competition internally and get the CFO more on your side.
3. DEPLOY BASED ON BUSINESS NEEDS
It’s likely you have the software or tools to meet these current business issues, and it’s also likely you’re not going to market with these capabilities. And why would you? Until now, customer needs were different. Changing your approach doesn’t end with positioning. You also have to change how you build the solution, and it will likely be different for each client.
When implementing your products today, it needs to go further than having it do “A, B, C.” Just like your message, the way it’s implemented should also tie back to the business. For example, don’t run a report about how many heads your customer has, but instead run a report that pulls different skill sets and illustrates how they can be leveraged. It’s the same concept as optimization. The product you have can do a lot more than you’re asking it to. Deploying features that serve no business purpose is not the right approach.
Overall, your customers’ problems have changed and you need to meet them where they are. It may not come naturally, but you have to stop long enough to understand current needs and business challenges that are now prioritized but weren’t prioritized before. Your product might need some innovation, but it really and most likely comes down to positioning and deploying it differently. Be a thought partner and strategic advisor who comes to the table with an appetite to solve these problems.
Need help crafting your message? We can help. Schedule a briefing with us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Averbook is a leading analyst, thought leader and consultant in the area of human resources, the future of work and the impact technology have on that future. He is the Co-founder and CEO of Leapgen, a digital transformation company helping organizations shape their future workplace by broadening executive mindset to rethink how to better design and deliver employee services that meet the expectations of the workforce and the needs of the business.
Prior to founding Leapgen, Jason Averbook served as the CEO of The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC). In 2005, he co-founded Knowledge Infusion LLC and served as its CEO until 2012, when the company was sold to Appirio. Earlier in his career, he served as the Chief Business Innovation Officer at Appirio Inc., where he led the HCM business. He has also held senior leadership roles at PeopleSoft and Ceridian Corporation. Jason has more than 20 years of experience in the HR and technology industries and has collaborated with industry-leading companies in transforming their HR organizations into strategic partners.
Leapgen is a digital HR company shaping the NOW of Work. Highly respected as consultants and advisors to the enterprise and the industry, we help our customers make HR digital. Leapgen helps leaders rethink how to better design and deliver workforce services and architect HR technology solutions that meet the expectations of workers and the needs of the business.