My previous two posts in this series, Why We Don’t Need to Reinvent the ATS and Talent Acquisition Technology: Reinvention and Innovation, discussed the state of the talent acquisition marketplace and the current machinations of the ATS product category. Justifiably, this asked: “Should we try and reinvent the ATS?” or “Should we look for another way forward?”
To me, the answer is clear: the ATS by itself is not enough. That doesn’t mean, however, that the ATS isn’t part of the solution. Rather, other systems are emerging that can help make the ATS better―ones purposely built for the coming realities our industry will be facing.
The consumerization of the candidate experience
Five to ten years ago, getting access to the right talent was much easier. Job boards reigned supreme, and the competitive noise was at acceptable levels. With these channels, you reached the audience you needed to reach. Fast-forward to today where nearly every organization uses job boards in some form or fashion, but the results vary (and in most cases have reduced in effectiveness).
It’s not that job boards can’t be a useful part of a successful strategy.―the real problem is that we have not evolved how we use these channels to communicate our organization’s value and differentiate our opportunities. We are still stuck in the Stone Age of job ads, still stuck with selling job positions vs. selling our employer brands, employee stories and true value as an organization. Talent acquisition is not faced with an HR problem; we are faced with a marketing problem.
Candidates, especially the top ones, are used to being consumers. They are used to being catered to by companies; consistently receiving personalized and useful content and messaging from brands; researching and comparing companies and products; and are increasingly more informed about making purchasing decisions.
Candidates fully expect a similar experience in their career search, and, more importantly, don’t differentiate between organizations’ marketing brand and employment brand. Candidates are wholeheartedly embracing their alter ego―the consumer―when they look for their next career opportunity. Talent acquisition organizations need to adjust by not just being recruiters, but by also being recruitment marketers.
Learning from the marketing and sales technology blueprint
With the influx of readily available information online, data aggregation to help consumers easily compare options and user-generated content providing context to inform purchasing decisions, the consumer has gained control of the sales process.
This consumer revolution has made companies rethink how they interact with prospects and customers, and in many cases, necessitated the development of new skills, processes and tools to effectively reach the right consumers. One such example is the use of specialized technology to enable marketing and sales organizations to better reach modern consumers.
As marketing and sales organizations have matured, they have focused on modernizing their respective areas of the sales funnel:
- Marketing is focused on generating qualified leads for the organization in the top half of the funnel. To do this, they execute and evaluate a diverse strategy of content, campaigns and channels to get consumers to convert into qualified leads for the sales team. In the end, the main goal is generating the most Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).
- Sales is focused on converting these qualified leads into customers in the bottom half of the funnel. It’s their job to convince prospects of the value proposition of the product or service and influence the selection process. In the end, the main goal is generating revenue through sales.
It’s taken years for marketing and sales to find the right balance with each other and, in turn, each has figured out the key responsibilities and technologies it needs to be successful in its own pursuits.
Sales CRM tools rose up to provide order to the chaos of tracking sales contacts. It provided structure around the sales process, helped the sales team better stay in touch with prospects, and most importantly, allowed for reporting on the sales funnel and process to ensure the sales model and practices actually worked. These systems provided huge value at the time, and still do so today.
As marketing evolved, they began using the same system as sales, but realized the limitations in terms of functionality for their needs. They needed a system that was less about process and more about engagement―one that enabled better emailing capabilities, targeted landing pages for content and stronger metrics to track the multiple touch points that potential leads interacted with before converting through CTAs or the website. These needs led to the birth of Marketing Automation Systems.
As you look at the technology space today, Marketing Automation Systems and Sales CRMs work in concert with one another to provide an integrated experience and view into the full marketing and sales funnel. They’ve addressed the unique needs of the professionals for the two distinct disciplines they were built for―and both disciplines are better off for it.
Look for my next post on how these technologies align with the way forward in talent acquisition software.
Want more top hiring strategies? See 4 Ways to Take Advantage of the Talent Ecosystem.