The biggest mistake I see with any solutions proposal is…we make our clients think too hard.
And now you’re saying…”What the hell?”
Well…yeah…we make them think too hard. If we want a client, especially one we’ve had a long term partnership with…to really respect us and take our consultation seriously, we are the ones that have to do the work.
The work has to be wrapped around empirical data, and tons of research. If we are sitting in a clients office with an anecdotal list of “let’s just give it a try” suggestions, we are in big trouble. Clients are constantly hearing from one representative or another. Each one has “the answer” to all their problems. Not many have done their homework…their just spewing a bunch of noise at someone.
What our clients need is a real answer, a real partner, a real strategy.
The difference between the trusted adviser, the business partner and a vendor manager contact is the research and data. Their should be a real ROI plan wrapped around the consultation, something that can be clearly measurable. Producing any kind of strategy that shows where we as consultants will lay a piece of ourselves on the line is rare.
This is why the strategy with the clear ROI path laid out is so refreshing. If you are being presented with another “media strategy” stop and ask yourself a couple questions:
- Did I call the Account Manager from my Recruitment Marketing Firm and ask for a Media Strategy? If you did, you’ve not challenged your firm to produce the right solution. You’ve told them to build a media buying plan…not a strategy.
- If you asked for a recruitment marketing strategy and all you were presented with was a media buying plan…you really need to be looking for a new partner. This usually means that your current contact is the “vendor manager” not a consultant…and you need to be at the right level.
- If you’re not the decision maker…but you’ve been tasked with pulling all the “right” data together to build the strategy for an internal deliverable…be honest with your current account partner. They will be more than happy to help sell the strategy up the line. They will understand that you are under pressure to deliver, but don’t make it sound like you can pull the trigger.
- Has your consultant/partner asked to pull all the key stakeholders into the conversation? If you’ve more then one specific recruitment need, ie., sales, operations, college, diversity, alumni, employee referral, etc., and you’ve only presented just one side of the story come on! How could anyone really present a true recruitment communications strategy only taking into account one voice. This is recruitment by fire stomping…not strategy development.
- Has the consultant/partner put some “skin” in the game. Has this partner shown you where they will reduce spend, increase applicant flow, etc. If they can’t provide you with something in writing showing where the ROI will be measured, that their willing to measure, beware…you might be getting the cookie cutter, one site fits all “sell.”
It’s even better when your consultant/partner is “pro-active” and comes to you with the suggestion for a strategy session. It should be at no charge, allow you to make decisions regardless of the partner you choose.
I have found that most of my clients will partner with me after the exercise. Primarily becauase I brought some skin and I’m willing to measure my proposed efforts. This is how we’re all able to get above the noise and truly collaborate.